United States

Auditor Assistant helps global underwriter to enhance internal audit

CASE STUDY

Overview

Argo Group is an international underwriter of specialty insurance, with more than 1,300 employees and in excess of $9 billion in assets. The company’s products are distributed through a broad network of appointed and non-appointed agencies and brokers. Argo Group’s audit team consists of nearly 20 professionals, aligned by functional and regional responsibilities.

Background

Argo previously implemented an internal audit software solution with the intent to do the following:

  • Provide better transparency to the internal audit cycle
  • Effectively integrate risk management, issue tracking, timekeeping and flexible management reporting
  • Provide better managerial oversight of the internal audit function

Unfortunately, the software was misaligned with Argo’s needs, with limited project management capabilities, manual issue tracking functionality and various management reporting challenges. With a restricted budget going into a new year, as well as a flat headcount and a need to improve efficiency and increase audit coverage, Argo sought a more effective internal audit software solution.

The company initiated a selection process for a solution that had to meet several specific organizational demands, including:

  • Capacity to address company mission statement and pain points
  • Quick speed to market—up and running within two months
  • Ability to transfer historical data to a new system
  • Ability to develop department-level key performance indicators (KPIs) and reports
  • A cost neutral platform
  • Comprehensive training to reduce the learning curve
  • Access to the right customer service contacts

Argo’s selection process focused on adding value to the organization in addition to addressing pain points. The company sought a platform that allowed for a more efficient organization of workpapers, reduced time spent on management reviews and enhanced audit plan delivery and accessibility to a risk-based audit universe.

Project

After reviewing several competing products, Argo selected RSM’s Auditor Assistant internal audit automation platform. Argo chose Auditor Assistant based on its proven productivity, efficiency and standardization capabilities, and the solution’s alignment with the company’s specific needs.

“We started out with several different vendors, and all of them were very good,” said John Harris, Argo Group global director of internal audit. “However, it became pretty clear to us that we were going to choose Auditor Assistant. It gave us all of the things that we wanted, and it had the additional flexibility that we needed.”

With Auditor Assistant’s software-as-a-service deployment, the tool is flexible and easy to work with. For example, RSM took Argo’s existing methodology tools and templates and developed project management capabilities into the software. Auditor Assistant enabled Argo to take advantage of project management functionality from two different levels—within annual planning efforts as well as audits themselves, with custom milestones and activities that help the audit team efficiently manage the process.

After implementing Auditor Assistant, Argo experienced immediate benefits within the first year, including:

  • A 20 percent increase in audit coverage without change to headcount through improved operations and effective project management
  • A 20 percent increase in identified issues to reduce risk and improved remediation with business processes
  • Enhanced KPI reporting allowing earlier issue identification and improving overall value to the organization
  • Real-time audit project tracking and proactive staff oversight

“In the first year, we could not be more pleased,” commented Harris. “We are getting exactly what we thought we would with this tool. We were able to stretch our audit coverage and perform more audits with exactly the same staffing level.”

The RSM team worked to understand Argo’s specific requirements for an internal audit solution and developed an implementation plan that aligned with the company’s existing processes and resources. In addition, RSM helped Argo develop additional functionality through the tool that the organization did not previously have.

Argo’s clearly defined requirements and RSM’s streamlined implementation process allowed for a successful delivery within the two-month window. The comprehensive implementation process included:

  • Configuration of Argo’s methodology tools, templates and project management milestones structure
  • Migration of prior system data to ensure continuity of internal audit activities
  • Customized training of global team with user training and administration training in a short amount of time
  • Hosting by RSM’s cloud and managed services (a full service, SOC Type II audited private cloud provider)

Outcomes

RSM’s Auditor Assistant implementation provided Argo Group with a fully integrated internal audit solution, with increased functionality and visibility within two months. RSM understood Argo’s requirements and processes, and helped to correct the issues and concerns experienced with the company’s previous solution. Ultimately, Auditor Assistant created a platform with more extensive project management capabilities, efficient issue identification and tracking, and enhanced reporting capabilities.

Key benefits of RSM’s Auditor Assistant implementation for Argo Group include the following:

  • A higher level of insight, with deeper reporting and KPIs
  • A significant increase in audit coverage without additional hiring
  • A significant increase in identified issues to reduce risk and enhance business processes
  • More extensive and efficient follow-up processes
  • Increased collaboration and communication of audit activity and progress
  • Enhanced audit plan linkage to key risks of organization  

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