Project Description

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Technology drives state government audit modernization

Standardizing on an audit management and risk analytics solution

Audit has a real problem with getting into the technology fields. I am a Certified Information Systems Auditor. I’ve done IT audits in the past. It’s not in the future; it’s where we are at right now. Sometimes you have to push people along to get them there but it doesn’t mean they don’t want to end up where you want them to end up.

For you, what was the catalyst for modernizing with software?

I did the organizational assessment and found what my goal was and where the weaknesses were. I talked to management and said, “We have a big consistency issue. It’s hurting our ability to follow the standards, which hurts our ability to state we are following the standards, which means we are not in compliance. We need to implement something that would ensure the quality of our work is undoubtable.” If management buys the idea, we can track our risks and compliance at the same time as our audit. All this is compartmentalized into ACL GRC.

What led you to ACL GRC?

ACL Analytics has such a wonderful reputation. Our state auditor uses it, swears by it, and thinks it’s wonderful. Who wouldn’t want to know what they are using when they come to audit you? I want to know their tool set. I want to be prepared. Data analytics led me that way because it was really interesting.

So I said, "Okay, we’re going to get automated workpapers." I had one of my auditors go out and find out what’s out there. She comes back with two options: TeamMate or ACL. I said, “I know I want data analytics, but I’m talking about automated workpapers.” She said, “No no no, they have automated workpapers. This is where we are going: governance, risk, and compliance." Those are all the components of an audit shop plus the data analytics. That’s what led us to ACL GRC and procuring ACL.

How has implementing ACL GRC helped you standardize your processes?

Life is wonderful. It really simplified everything from reviewing workpapers to laying out expectations of the auditors. We build in references to the standards and references if there’s a specific program or contract we are auditing. All the auditors have to do is click on the reference and correctly find what it’s supposed to be.

To you, what has been the most valuable outcome of implementing technology to modernize?

The best thing it did for us was the consistency component. Everything is consistent now. Not one unit does one way and another unit another way. It’s consistent throughout the office. Everyone understands the expectation. It was a big win for our staff. It gave them a sense of pride.

A Certified Information Systems Auditor, Barbara Owens is an audit and risk management leader who distinguished herself early on as a visionary when it comes to modernizing public sector audit teams on a foundation of technology. Based in the Sacramento, California area and an MBA graduate from California State University, she has most recently served in a succession of leadership roles with the State of California. A taxpayer herself, Owens is a strong proponent of government accountability and best-practices in state government GRC activities.

"It’s really simplified everything when it comes to reviewing workpapers and what’s expected of the auditors… The best thing it’s done for us is the consistency component."

Barbara Owens,
State Government Audit Leader
Products in use:


ACL Analytics Exchange