It is important that you are periodically auditing and logging critical IT assets for the purpose of minimizing security, conduct and financial risks. Below I have noted the most important assets that should be properly logged and have auditable documentation.
IT ASSET MANAGEMENT CHECKLIST:
Hardware and Software
computer user, UPC, location, model number, et cetera
Network and communications infrastructure, servers and apps
Vendors and Service Providers
Purchase and disposal info
Computer and Laptop software upgrades
List of all apps in laptops or computers for each employee including authorization and security information.
Cloud Data backup hardware (e.g.; external USB drive)
By using this checklist the next time you conduct an IT Asset audit you’ll be able to identify vulnerabilities and exploits that were not previously known to you. For example, let’s say your policy states that there should be 10 laptops kept in the supply room at all times but when you conduct an audit you find only 8 and employees have been careless with the laptop request form. The laptops also have not been entered into the tracking system making matters worse as now you have to dig through invoices to identify the two missing laptop model numbers and SKUs.
An IT Asset Policy is not effective if it is not enforced regularly. Employees must be reminded of them everyday and trained periodically.
The shipping and delivery cycle time race amongst valuable brands like Amazon and Walmart is a fierce one. Many parcel companies like UPS and FedEx may offer discounted rates for delivering on time but the real question is, “Are they actually delivering on time?”
By implementing effective visual internal controls, your company’s accounts payable team may be able to identify delivery discrepancies per regular parcel audits and if they are found you are not required to pay them.
Other things to look for while auditing would be:
Duplicate Invoices: Parcel vendor may generate duplicate invoices with different purchase order numbers, tracking numbers, invoice numbers, et cetera.
Discount Rate Verification: Thorough analysis of the invoice is critical for the purpose of ensuring that the proper discount rate was included.
Improper Billings: Sometimes there are multiple parties involved and you could be billed for the shipment when your contract specifically stated that “Vendor XX” was responsible for payment. You should integrate freight audit software into your accounts payable process to mitigate this risk.
Rate Verification: Essentially, your accounts payable team should be ensuring that the rate base, math, mileage, product classification and weight all match your purchase order and contract agreement, otherwise you are overpaying.
Fuel surcharges: It is important that this charge matches what is in your contract and not the current market rate.
Auditing offers the opportunity to gather critical data, such as, shipping spend by origin, destinations, general ledger codes, customers, fuel charges, vendors and carriers. This data can be used to improve your financial planning and analysis, and offer opportunities to streamline processes and realize cost innovations.
Happy Friday! I hope you’ve had a great week. With that said, I want to leave you with a short message about Fraud Risk Management. Until next week, have a wonderful weekend and remember, “Success is continuous improvement”!
“To minimize fraud risk, top management must be committed to a Fraud Risk Management program, implement visual controls and employee guides, have clear reporting procedures and whistle-blower protection, have an efficient investigation process, and most importantly, translate policy into daily activities.”