Anglo American Case Study to Improve Audit Efficiency and Manage Risk

As organisations develop and grow, the amount of data it processes grows. With this comes increased risk, which needs to be monitored and managed by the internal auditing teams to reduce fraud, human error and protect the organisation from reputational damage.

A year and a half ago, Anglo American lacked an integrated, interactive, and insightful data analytics capability to continuously monitor risk and controls. The legacy system was unable to automatically monitor business performance and compliance and support timely risk mitigation, which exposed the organisation to risk.

To protect the organisation’s assets and reputation, the audit team and the broader organisation needed to be equipped with accessible, easy-to-use data analytics capability that blended data and automated time-consuming processes to free up the team to work on exceptions and potential risks. “In one case where a person spent 12 hours a week to produce a report, with data automation we helped save that person 4 months of work in a year to put the report together. That is the ROI of automation in just one process that was automated. Think of what value you can add to the business with an employee essentially having 4 months of additional time added to his year?” says Pierre Naude, MD of Dimago.

Alteryx Preferred Partner, Dimago, assisted Anglo American Business Assurance (ABAS) in transforming the organisation using the Alteryx Platform to better mitigate risk through data analytics and process automation across all business units.

Alteryx enabled ABAS to create a Central Information Repository where data is stored and can be used across the business for any valuable use cases in a short space of time. Stijn Litjes, Anglo American’s Data Analytics Lead, talks about their approach to moving towards a data-led organisation. “When looking at data analytics, one of the key things is getting access to the right data. It seems obvious, but sometimes it is not very easy to get that.”

ABAS ensured they worked across different functions – finance, health and safety environment, HR, procurement, etc. to create a Central Information Repository with common data sets that we can use for various use cases and not just for auditing. This resulted in increased effectiveness, efficiency, and control of assurance practices through data analytics that supported ongoing integrated risk and financial controls management and allowed access to real-time data to drive insights and improved business decision-making.

The ABAS team found that the core benefit of the Alteryx platform was that data analytics could be used throughout the internal audit lifecycle and not just for performing audit fieldwork. Data analytics developed as part of the audit can be used for continuous auditing or monitoring and inform future planning and risk assessments. With the added benefit of process automation and user-friendly visual dashboards to monitor control effectiveness, the audit team shifted their focus from risk reporting to real-time risk management, addressing issues right away when they occur.
And because the Alteryx system is so easy to use, any tech-savvy internal auditors or Anglo American employees can access assigned data. With minimal Alteryx training, people within the business are turned into what Gartner calls citizen data scientists, allowing them to independently run their own data analytics.
Auditors are now able to self-serve rather than rely on the technically skilled IT department for help. They can do data wrangling, full reporting, and insight creation that benefits the organisation and allows them to focus more on the business and strategic issues and manage and mitigate risk.