in Southern California
|Organization:||City of Torrance|
|Solutions:||Workiva Audit Management Software|
While working on a project with Workiva, the finance department for the City of Torrance, Calif. expressed a desire to update their approach to Governance Risk and Compliance (GRC) and audit management. The Workiva team recommended connecting with a valued partner, FHB, for help.
Our dedicated team assessed the city's existing audit management process—which was mostly manual, using Word and Excel—identified opportunities for improvement and automation, and made a recommendation to implement Workiva Audit Management software.
One of the many features that set Workiva's audit management software apart as the best solution for Torrance is its flexibility. It adapts to users’ processes, rather than requiring the reverse. And it allows users to plan, test, report, and monitor their audit work in a single platform, eliminating the need for countless emails and files containing various versions and revisions. Its real-time dashboards put the data they need within reach, right when they need it. And it will automate repetitive tasks, evidence gathering, final engagement reports, and risk assessments.
Fulton Bell, senior auditor for the City of Torrance, describes working with the FHB team to implement Workiva as “very positive.”
Fulton was impressed with the depth of FHB’s subject matter expertise and experience. It was clear that both Ed [FHB Principal Consultant Ed McCaulley, CPA, MBA] and Megan [FHB Principal Consultant Megan Soles, CPA, CA] had spent time in the field, sitting at a desk much like his, doing similar work.
Having been involved in two prior, somewhat bumpy, software executions (SAP and Oracle), Fulton had braced himself for a difficult Workiva implementation. However, he was pleasantly surprised. “From my standpoint … working with Megan and Ed, they made it really easy.”
“...comparing it to a couple of implementations I've done before...
this was by far the best ... [FHB’s] knowledge was great.”
For initial setup, Workiva’s audit management software required a one-time import of data—including control descriptions, risk descriptions, departments, people, audit issues, action plans, etc.—into its database (Wdata). Following initial setup, the Torrance team can modify data using forms customized by FHB. Internal auditors also use forms to capture work papers, findings, action plans, etc.
FHB configured Workiva to meet the city's distinct needs. This included creating an input form for controls and changing the data model itself with instructions for field selection and type (text or date field, e.g.) In total, the FHB team set up eight different forms for the City of Torrance.
Another feature of Workiva’s audit management software that will help Torrance is its planning module, used to develop an annual audit plan. It includes information such as which audits will be performed during the year, how many hours will be budgeted for each, which auditors will be included, etc.
The Workiva audit management solution also features a real-time dashboard, so the city’s finance team can see a quick snapshot of audit project status, document requests, action plans, and the like.
“The team at FHB was great. Ed had some very good ideas that we used to customize
the dashboard. And based on her experience, Megan offered advice about how to
best use particular fields. She gave us direction that was very helpful in building
the audit information sheets.”
Three of the main outputs requested by Torrance were the audit announcement letter, audit report, and internal audit status report. FHB developed various queries and customized spreadsheets to meet those deliverables and provided detailed documented instructions for using them. The team also put together a chart at the end of the internal audit status report that serves as an aging schedule, so that the city can better track its outstanding action items and audit recommendations.
“The project went well … the implementation, the communication, meeting
each week, going over the various steps, and working with us on any
issues that we had, and trying to build the project … all of that went very well.”
For the City of Torrance, time savings is by far the greatest outcome of the Workiva implementation. Fulton estimates that their new process and software will cut his team’s work time by 40 percent.
"It's going to save us a ton of time. It was a little bit of work on the front end ... doing it for the first time … trying to get the numbers to balance … I can see how much time is going to be saved going forward.”
Fulton and his team are not only pleased with the amount of time they’ll save, they’re also grateful for the follow-up care provided by FHB. “Even after the close of the project, we appreciate the time that was given to help us through... we were able to come back and ask some questions and get some assistance.”
The City of Torrance has now identified additional ways to leverage Workiva. “Our whistleblower program is probably going to grow. [Our original project] was built around doing audits and not so much doing investigation. [So, we’re looking to] automate that side of it and see where we can use Workiva for that.”
Fulton has received requests to do monitoring controls and work with external auditors. “Some of the more immediate next steps [are] to ... build a template for the fraud investigation side … and ... monitoring the various internal controls that we have implemented through some of the audits that we have done.”
Another project on the horizon for the Torrance team is an accounts payable audit. They’ve already done all the internal controls but would like to establish a process for duplicate payments and other issues. FHB has suggested that Workiva’s audit analytics functionality (included with the audit management software that Torrance has already purchased) can help. The FHB team can script the solution so that it loads and tests data without any additional effort from Fulton’s team.
With the time they’ve saved, the city has also begun to make audit reports accessible to the public on their website.
“Saving that 40 percent [gives] us more time to ... handle some of the workload.”