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Grant Thornton Launches cta.x — App for Rapid, Automated Controls Testing

April 14, 2021, 07:00 AM
Filed Under: Industry News
Related: Grant Thornton

Grant Thornton launched cta.x — an app that allows companies and auditors to rapidly develop and deploy automated internal-controls tests, helping them comply with laws and regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley. It will also help companies garner new insights from their internal-compliance efforts and increase the return-on-investment in their controls testing.  

“Controls testing is traditionally conducted by a human being assessing evidence and manually analyzing data in a spreadsheet or system for governance, risk and compliance,” said Ethan Rojhani, a partner in the Risk Advisory practice at Grant Thornton. “The cta.x app automates and integrates controls testing by taking existing assurance processes and applying them to the full population of procedures and policies governing controls. It then pipes the data through Grant Thornton’s proprietary logic engine and produces testing results in sophisticated, customizable dashboards.”

Grant Thornton’s Risk Advisory professionals will administer and use the cta.x app as part of their client-service delivery, while the firm’s clients will also be able to directly access and use cta.x.

Grant Thornton has built cta.x using proprietary cloud-based software, which the firm, or client-staff auditors, configure to perform test procedures on controls data. The app can also help a company identify discrepancies before they threaten data quality or business reputation. It accepts controls data that Grant Thornton has mapped to a standard model and then provides the flexibility to tailor-test procedures to specific controls attributes.
The firm can deploy cta.x in a client-specific environment within Grant Thornton’s software-as-a-service model, or in the client’s own environment.
A new way to test effectiveness
Historically, controls testing lacks real-time capabilities, which means companies cannot identify exceptions until after the testing is complete. This makes it harder for them to effectively manage risks and compliance activities, and it limits the upside benefits of controls testing.
Greg Haberer, a senior manager in the Risk Advisory practice at Grant Thornton, explains that cta.x remedies these shortcomings: “Our app adds intelligent automation at the front end of the controls-testing process. This increases efficiency and shifts the compliance focus from manual tasks, such as data gathering and manipulation, to higher-value activities like anomaly detection and root-cause analysis.”
The cta.x app is integral to Grant Thornton’s overall approach to controls testing, which the firm has built on a three-step framework: Gather and prepare data; perform test procedures; and report the results.

“There are many benefits to controls-test automation, but to fully realize them, companies need to have the experience and knowledge to automate things correctly,” notes Rojhani. “With cta.x, we’re combining our first-of-its-kind tools with Grant Thornton’s proven formula for controls testing. This changes the controls-testing equation and helps our clients take risk mitigation and efficiency to higher levels.”

Companies have shown a growing interest in automating their controls testing: A recent Grant Thornton survey of chief financial officers reveals that almost one-third (32 percent) claim their organizations have already deployed technology to automate their controls testing, while almost one-third more (29 percent) plan to do so within the next 12 months.

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