Success story

Gamifying DataSnipper to create efficiency gains via intelligent automation

Company
Cherry Bekaert
Employees
1.250+
Industry
Audit, Assurance, Consulting, and Advisory

Founded in 1947, Cherry Bekaert offers solutions that propel growth for its clients by redefining the future for middle-market businesses through the activation of innovation with digitally enabled transformation solutions from start to finish.

In a landscape marked by fast-paced digital transformation and swiftly changing economic and market conditions, Cherry Bekaert consistently evolves to stay ahead of professional service trends and remain a trusted advisor.

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Challenge

Before adopting DataSnipper, Cherry Bekaert (the Firm) navigated opportunities for enhancement in their audit processes across a range of industries, particularly for fundamental areas such as cash accounts, fixed assets, and debt. The objectives extended beyond merely seeking time-efficient methods for audit testing but also encompassed enhancing communication between preparers and reviewers and accelerating the learning and development of associates. This was particularly applicable to its Global Support Services (GSS) associates based in India. Given the time zone differences, the windows for communication are narrow. Consequently, when questions arose regarding the source of documentation, U.S. reviewers were frequently faced with a choice between awaiting clarifications, which introduced delays or undertaking the meticulous task of verifying the supporting documents themselves.

Having conducted my fair share of searches for unrecorded liabilities by painstakingly keying in invoice after invoice, witnessing Document Matching in action was like observing magic. It's astounding to see about 90% of the work auto-filled in an instant. It's a significant time-saver, especially for our preparers and associates. We want them spending less time on manual tasks and more on engaging with complex audit issues. This shift enhances their learning experience and accelerates their professional development to grow their expertise at a quicker pace.

Peter Zender, Assurance Process Engineer at Cherry Bekaert

Solution

Bridging ways of work effectively

Cherry Bekaert chose to implement DataSnipper, recognizing its significant value in streamlining audit processes, particularly for accounts payable, accounts receivable, and revenue testing, where the Document Matching feature is useful. This strategic decision was driven by the platform’s ability to drastically reduce the time needed for vouching in Accounts Payable and Receivables, demonstrating considerable efficiency gains. Furthermore, it also underscored DataSnipper's capacity to enhance accuracy and productivity from a preparer’s perspective.

The Firm also saw immense value in DataSnipper's cross-referencing functionality for its review processes, appreciating the clarity it brings to identifying information sources. Instances like the discovery of incorrect terms in debt agreements during audits highlighted DataSnipper's utility; it serves as a crucial developmental platform. By facilitating instant verification of data sources and enabling direct feedback, DataSnipper not only promotes timely error correction but also fosters a learning environment that supports the development of both GSS associates and U.S.-based preparers, thus improving the overall audit process and team growth.

Gamifying implementation

At Cherry Bekaert, innovative training methods have been a cornerstone for enhancing the learning experience, especially in financial statement preparation and audit processes. In the past, the Firm has creatively integrated themes from popular culture, such as a Jurassic Park inventory count and auditing the employee benefit plan of the Avengers, to inject fun into complex subjects. This approach of gamification has proven effective in heightening interest, excitement, and engagement among auditors, making the learning process more engaging and stimulating curiosity.

Recognizing this, the implementation team at Cherry Bekaert designed a unique onsite training program that primarily focused on hands-on simulation with a fictional client created for this purpose. The simulation allowed participants to apply DataSnipper in practical scenarios, reinforcing their understanding of basic audit areas more effectively than traditional lecture-based methods.

Cherry Bekaert has seamlessly integrated DataSnipper into its preexisting custom templates for audit tests, introducing minor modifications to promote its use without overburdening the team. For example, in Cash Testing and areas involving Document Matching like Accounts Payable, new columns were added to the workpapers to indicate DataSnipper's application, enhancing process efficiency. These adjustments, designed to maintain template familiarity, include reorganized columns to simplify reconciliation, streamlining the workflow with minimal changes.

Consistency is key

To ensure the training's long-term impact and application, Cherry Bekaert utilizes DataSnipper's reporting functionality for post-training analysis. The Firm places a strong emphasis on leadership among senior staff to encourage consistent use of DataSnipper, aiming to cultivate a culture of proactive utilization.

Incorporating DataSnipper into their audit processes for areas like cash, accounts payable, fixed assets, and debt has laid a robust groundwork for their auditors to familiarize themselves with and exploit the full capabilities of DataSnipper. Building on this foundation, Cherry Bekaert’s implementation team actively solicits feedback from their staff to uncover additional opportunities to refine and advance their usage for specific clients and across industries.

Companies like Cherry Bakaert had reported the following time savings:
Procedures
Without Datasnipper
With Datasnipper
Time savings
Test of details
7 hours
2 hours, 20 mins
67% efficiency gains
Financial Statement Reviews
8 hours
2 hours
67% efficiency gains
Test of details
7 hours
Financial Statement Reviews
8 hours
Test of details
2 hours, 20 mins
Financial Statement Reviews
2 hours
Test of details
67% efficiency gains
Financial Statement Reviews
67% efficiency gains
Cherry Bekaert

Time saved

Automation features and cross-referencing facilitate preparation and verification of data sources – saving both preparers and reviewers time in the process.

Improved quality​

The platform’s automated traceability advantages result in solid documentation, while saving time to focus on audit risk areas, which leads to overall higher audit quality.

Innovative culture

Gamifying DataSnipper’s implementation helps auditors learn better by making technology use a habit. This improves overall work culture and productivity.

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