Data analysis for greater insight into your organisation

Data analysis for greater insight into your organisation

14 March, 2022

Businesses today have access to a lot more data. Through data analysis, our experts can extract valuable information from that data to help prepare your organisation for the challenges of tomorrow. Data analysis enables you to gain more, improved, deeper and quicker insight into your organisation and business processes.

What is data analysis?

Data analysis concerns itself with examining large quantities of data in order to understand the trends and answer issues or questions. These questions are very broad in scope, from process optimisation and internal control to strategic decisions about product-market combinations. The idea behind data analysis is to help paint an objective picture of the processes and other matters on the basis of data. Processes are described on paper and work in a certain way in the minds of the staff, but how do they work in practice?

Examples of questions

Data analysis is a helpful tool to answer a wide scope of questions. Here are some examples:

  • Is my operational procurement process running as it has been written down? Can any links or starting points be found for the internal control?
  • How feasible are the different KPIs for my company?
  • Using the data, can you verify that the three-way match* is in place according to the process description?
  • Which products are selling well, in what combinations are the products sold and what are the margins on those products?

 

*Three-way matching: the coordination between the three most important moments in the procurement process: the order, the delivery and the invoice.

Data analysis: starting point

You start with the question you want answered. But what do you want to know? The clearer this is, the more effectively you can set up the data analysis.

Prerequisites: what do you need in order to carry out a data analysis?

First and foremost, the quality of the data is essential. The primary input of data has to be correct, up to date and complete. Is the data recorded in the right place and in the right way? Secondly, the data must be easy to retrieve from the system. This doesn’t have to be an ERP system. Another possibility is to interlink datasets with each other, provided that each data rule has a unique piece of data (key) in every dataset.

Data analysis gives more insight into your organisation and processes

With data analysis you can gain more, improved and deeper insight into your organisation and processes. This means that by analysing your data, you can make better tactical and strategic decisions. For instance in your product range (removing an item that earns a very poor margin or looking at combing it with another product with a much higher margin) and choices in relation to the effectiveness of processes (considerations to outsource processes). You can analyse the information you need down to the nearest cent. What’s more, data analysis adds value as an internal control tool. It helps you keep a grip on your organisation.

Example: we make data from the procurement process transparent in a dashboard and analyse the results of the three-way match. Are there suppliers that always show differences? Or certain products where differences occur? When you know facts such as this, you can link them to concrete actions. It gives you more insight into individual processes, from sales to payments, from personnel to stock management. The ability to visualise internal control measures in real time based on data is also very useful; we call this continuous monitoring.

Data analysis in the audit of annual accounts

Thanks to data analysis, we can apply smarter auditing processes. If we look at the audit of annual accounts, for example, it’s important that we use as much available data in an organisation as possible. This doesn’t only make the audit more efficient and effective, it also increases the audit’s added value by adding depth to our natural advisory function.

How does it work? We use data analysis as back-up and/or replacement for line audits and spot checks. Examples:

  • We address specific risks in the procurement process. This allows us to analyse the three-way match of the whole population of purchases, instead of performing a separate line audit on each purchase flow.
  • To check the completeness of the turnover, we can use data analysis to draw up a comprehensive goods movement chart, including the connections with external sources for verification.
  • This makes it possible to detect potential conflicts in the roles and rights that employees have in the system during the interim audit. We then use data analysis to check whether any such conflicts have occurred in practice by analysing users’ actions on the basis of the data.

 

More information

If you would like to explore the possibilities for your organisation, please contact Jasper van de Rijdt, Manager of Data Analytics. It would be our pleasure to sit down with you and define the questions you want answered. Based on your needs and specifications, we will then set up the analysis. You can also visit our (dutch) IT Assurance page for more information about how you can gain more control and understanding of your IT environment.



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