The difference between manual and automated IT Controls is very clear and crucial when thinking about an organization’s benefits. IT employees often reported that at a maximum range, only 25% of monetary controls are automated. This leaves behind a total of 75% unattended IT General controls (ITGC) and IT Application controls (ITAC). This causes no improved efficiency in terms of audit efficiency in terms of auditing and security.
Putting more effort into the automation of ITGC and ITAC is an easy assumption to increase the percentage. Yet, a considerably more relevant analysis reveals that there are many limitations to the ITGC and ITAC which makes it relevant to involve 100% automation.
Why is iRM’s automated ITGC and ITAC solution good for organizations that are SOX-audited?
ITGCs guarantee that technology employed by various sections of the company is used properly and that it is not exposed to needless risks or weaknesses. A major firm, for example, may include applications to support finance, purchasing, inventories, development, marketing and sales, and human resource management.
Each of these groups utilizes its own IT applications and depends on them to function properly. Numerous of these programs are components of a centralized Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform in major organizations. ITGCs are known to look after the entire functioning of the ERP systems. Some major functions are:
Software lifecycle control— This function helps in determining how firms run various tests, and features to make evident changes to organizations for their benefit.
Patch management—This helps in ensuring quick security checks and all the software updates are up to date and upgraded.
Password management and other 2FA measures— Every application have different passwords and 2 Factor-Authentication for better security purpose.
Creating a “super user” which means the admin account— Administrator accounts can create different user accounts for each IT application.
Audit reporting and monitoring—This is the function where all transactions and changes that are made to the system are recorded. This can be utilized for future inspections and auditing.
For web protection and compliance, ITGCs are crucial. We have two examples here to explain what weak controls can do to organizations:
- If the creation of new user accounts is permitted for every employee of an organization, it can become easy for them to create a fake account for monitoring sensitive data or transfer company funds to their personal bank account without consent for personal benefits.
- Weak and patchy management could result in exposing systems to general vulnerabilities making it easy for attackers to exploit the issues. This can be done to break into the ERP systems of organizations, delete or steal data, and destroying valuable intellectual property.
Dependence on automated management like access controls, segregation of duties, output controls, and accounting are the reasons that automated solutions are becoming extremely demanding. Also, these automated controls depend on ITGCs for confirming that all the functions are operating appropriately.
An organization’s ability to prepare apt economic information can be easily hampered if there are imperfect ITGCs. If the issues of these controls are not identified then they can impact the entire functionality of internal controls. Hence, this causes a delayed process of financial closing and put an impact on internal decisions.
Organizations have begun to fund millions in IT in recent years due to a variety of motives like better handling of their operations, expanding marketing channels, and dodging fraudulent activities. Financial reporting systems have seen significant modifications in tandem with these IT expenditures. In addition to the compilation of all accounting records based on financial statement items using various IT applications, issues such as the expansion and diversity of organizations’ operations have made auditing financial records with traditional techniques challenging.
Previously, accounting records were made manually by individuals; but, owing to IT programs, thousands of records may now be created automatically and extremely fast. As a result, the dependability of audit data acquired through disregarding IT application safeguards has been called into doubt.
IT application control provides an excellent opportunity for auditors to expand their firm expertise while reducing the amount of manual substantive testing required. Rather than a sample base control, the auditor can use ITGC and ITAC techniques to test all transactions. In comparison to a standard audit technique, the auditor can collect more high-quality data.
With the increasing complexity of firms, completing manual substantive procedures can be time-consuming for auditors and may not provide enough valid audit evidence.