Buyers Guide to Audit, Anti-Fraud and Assurance Software
Dean Brooks, Mort Goldman, and Richard Lanza
by AuditSoftware.Net; ISBN: 0-9731812-9-X; $180
by Stephen F. Ryan III
DECEMBER 2006 - Accounting
software has become commonplace, yet many buyers lack the
proper resources, time, or skill sets to properly work their
way through the process of selecting and purchasing the
right software. This guide provides fairly solid advice
in navigating through this process, while recognizing that
there is no cookie-cutter approach.
guide was assembled from a variety of sources. It is, for
the most part, on point, although at times its advice is
somewhat generic. Unfortunately, this is an inherent limitation
when writing such a guide. The authors do not attempt to
answer all questions from all sources; instead they offer
fundamental advice on researching and implementing the appropriate
tools for each buyer’s needs.
guide itself is a tough read, with numerous typos, inconsistencies
in writing styles, and some editing issues that distract
the reader from the content. It took me several chapters
to focus strictly on the information presented.
book has four sections: Buying Audit Software; Product Functionality;
Vendor Selection; and Vendors.
Audit Software contains several very useful
chapters; the other chapters provide background regarding
“Top Trends in Audit and Assurance Software”
chapter offers basic advice on the current trends within
the industry. “Top 10 Implementation Practices,”
followed by a supplemental article titled “What Holds
Back Implementing Audit, Anti-Fraud and Assurance Software
and How to Fix It,” has very solid and logical advice.
The list truly gets to the core of the implementation process,
and effectively makes the point that cost is not the only,
or the main, issue.
“Audit, Anti-Fraud and Assurance Processes”
chapter breaks down the flow of information through these
processes. It contains an excellent chart explaining what
types of tools, testing, and monitoring are needed.
Analysis: An Effective Data Analysis Methodology”
provides an eight-step methodology. As the author states,
“although any methodology is never perfect or complete,
this methodology will provide a basis for beginning your
own data journey.”
“Product Features and Pricing” chapter was disappointing.
Determining the true cost of a software implementation is
far from an exact science. However, the costing attempt
in this chapter was too general to be truly useful.
Functionality is excellent. Each chapter is
well written and offers solid, although at times generic,
information. These chapters follow the same pattern. First,
they discuss the central issues and processes. They then
explain types of software that could be associated with
that topic. Finally, they offer advice as to which features
and functions to look for in that kind of software.
chapters in this section are “Risks, Control Testing
and Control Remediation Management”; “Continuous
Controls Monitoring, Transaction Analysis, Financial Statement
Analysis and Data Mining Products”; “Audit Work
Collaboration and Management/Fraud Case Management”;
“Employee Reporting/Control Self Assessment”;
and “Research and Benchmarking Tools.”
the book does not include a chapter-by-chapter summary of
products. Instead, the author attempts to do this in the
chapter “Ways to Get Started with Audit Software Functionality
Quickly and Inexpensively.” By placing this information
at the end of the section, this topic loses its impact.
Selection has three chapters: “Vendor
Selection: A Brief Guide” “Sourcing the Solution,”
and “Step-by-Step Plan for Vendor Negotiation.”
The first two could be summarized by some very broad statements.
They are: Do your homework, don’t rush your decisions,
and pick your vendor wisely. Regardless, these chapters
are worth reading.
Plan for Vendor Negotiation,” is a must-read that
will help buyers maintain perspective in the negotiation
process. It summarizes the steps and workflows for easy
reference and includes a sample project plan.
gives brief profiles of vendors that offer credible products
covering topics in the guide. Although the list is very
good, the authors acknowledge that it is not necessarily
comprehensive. It will, however, serve as an excellent starting
point for vendor selection.
list contains more than 140 vendors. Each vendor is listed
on its own page, containing a brief profile as well as a
listing of products offered by the vendor. I found these
to be very useful.
not light reading, the 2006 Buyers Guide to Audit, Anti-Fraud
and Assurance Software offers valuable insight for
software buyers and those companies implementing audit,
fraud, and assurance products. For those who need help in
getting started with this process, this guide is certainly
F. Ryan III, MBA, CPA, CITP, is an independent consultant
based in the New York City area.