A flowchart can be really helpful in auditing essential enterprise programs and programs such as enterprise useful resource arranging programs (ERP) and service oriented architecture (SOA) programs. As IT auditors we are anxious with obtaining a clear knowing of the pitfalls and controls in the technologies below assessment. Flowcharts facilitate an precise evaluation of an IT environment.
According to Wikipedia, the basic definition of a flowchart is a kind of diagram that represents an algorithm or method that shows data and its movement normally with arrows. The use of flowcharts is frequent in a lot of fields for analysis, style, documentation and process management.
Flowcharts are most beneficial to visually exhibit organization procedures and the supporting technological innovation. Auditors can target on diverse factors of knowledge flows and infrastructure in these diagrams based on the assessment of pitfalls and controls.
Functions that can be captured in a flowchart incorporate info inputs from a file or databases, decision points, rational processing and output to a file or report. Risks and controls in a business approach can be documented visually and analyzed.
4 fundamental shapes are generally utilised to produce flowcharts. Zen Flowchart is utilised for a approach (e.g. incorporate, change, preserve). A square with a wavy foundation is used for a document. A diamond is employed for a selection point (e.g. indeed/no, accurate/fake). A sideways cylinder is utilized for data storage (e.g. database). These traditional shapes have been initially recognized by IBM and other pioneers of data technologies.
Added styles consist of circles, ovals and rounded rectangles for the begin and finish of a business approach. Arrows display ‘flow control’ between a source symbol and a goal image. A parallelogram signifies enter and output e.g. information entry from a form, show to consumer.
In creating flowcharts, there are some standard policies to stick to. Start off and stop details must be clearly described. The level of detail documented in the flowchart ought to be suitable to the matter matter coated. The creator of the flowchart need to have a obvious comprehending of the process and the supposed viewers must be ready to follow the flowchart very easily.
Our group of IT auditors, utilizes Microsoft Visio extensively to create flowcharts and to analyze organization procedures. A flowchart is normally made with vertical columns symbolizing distinct departments or phases that are element of an all round business approach. Interfaces in between departments can be shown whether or not automatic or manual connections that facilitate the organization process.
Flowcharts can explain the controls on data inputs, processing and outputs. Input controls could consist of edit and validation checks. Processing controls can be in the form of manage totals or milestones. Output controls may consist of mistake examining and reconciliations. These kinds of a illustration on a flowchart allows an auditor to discover areas within a enterprise approach with weak or non-existent controls.
An case in point of technologies that can be comprehended by way of flowchart evaluation is business source planning computer software this sort of as Oracle e-Organization Suite and SAP. Input controls are established by way of particular ‘rules’ to make certain the validity of knowledge. Process controls are utilized to higher-risk capabilities, transactions or forms. Output controls consist of reviews and reconciliations.
One more instance of sophisticated technologies that can be recognized by means of flowcharts is support oriented architecture (SOA). This architecture is composed of many net and software program factors that are built-in to link service suppliers with support consumers. ‘Web services’ assistance particular enterprise procedures. Each and every of these world wide web services will generally have controls on info inputs, processing and output. The flowchart is vital to comprehend this kind of internet companies and their integration in a broader setting usually via an Enterprise Provider Bus (ESB).
In conclusion, a flowchart can be utilized by IT auditors to assess a business method. Various factors of the approach can be emphasized this kind of as risks, controls, interfaces, decision points, technologies infrastructure and components. The well-known expression of a photograph is equal to a thousand phrases is exact. A flowchart can seize crucial details that verbiage and text are not able to easily match. We encourage the IT audit, chance and management communities to use this powerful tool in carrying out their respective capabilities.