Advisory Services encompasses a broad array of activities beyond regular audits. These additional activities are proactive or preventive in nature, and can be requested by filling out an engagement/project request form.
AAS leverages knowledge of risks and controls as well as subject matter specialists to provide guidance on risks impacting the organization and mitigation strategies. This may be accomplished by conducting interviews, walkthroughs, data analysis, or a combination of the above. Deliverables may be reports, presentations, process maps, or memos outlining results of the consultation that will typically include related risks and controls and recommendations for improvement. Past projects include:
- Surplus Donations Process review
- Fire and Life Safety Equipment Maintenance
- Data Security Compliance Program validation
AAS works with departments to review and document the current state of a system or operation to identify control gaps or in preparation for future changes. Deliverables may be process flow diagrams and/or narratives, including risk and control points and relevant regulatory or policy requirements. Past projects include Subaward Monitoring, where AAS developed a set of process flowcharts along with a table of key controls, including key risks and expected controls. Additionally, AAS identified new Uniform Guidance requirements and preliminary assessment/recommendations for improvement areas related to the process.
By documenting and analyzing business processes, AAS identifies opportunities for increased efficiency and/or control gaps. A thorough understanding of the process is obtained by interviewing process owners and conducting walkthroughs. That understanding is documented using process maps and/or narratives that are then analyzed for control gaps or redundancies/opportunities for enhanced efficiency. Deliverables include process maps and narratives, including requirements, risks, controls, and responsibilities and recommendations for improvements to the process as well as control enhancements. Past projects include FM Internal Controls Assessment.
AAS has expertise in examining data to uncover patterns, correlations, and other information that can be used to increase productivity, identify risks or errors, and make better decisions. While ad-hoc queries and analysis of data from various University systems may be done as part of performing audits, advisory services, and investigations systems to increase efficiency and provide greater coverage in sample selection and audit testing, AAS also uses analytic tools to create management reports that can be used to define the impact of identified or potential risks.
Utilizing analytics and visualization tools such as ACL Analytics Exchange and Tableau, AAS can create automated tools and custom dashboards & reports to enable management to continually review business processes for adherence to and deviations from their intended level of performance and effectiveness. We partner with departments to assess their needs and develop ad-hoc analyses, customizable scripts, and reports that can be implemented into the department’s business processes. Past projects include:
- Administrative and Non-Payroll Expenses for Federal funds – Automated scripts to identify administrative expenses that may be charged against federal awards that should normally be considered part of the indirect costs.
- Overtime – Automated scripts to identify departments and employees with the highest percentage of overtime and on-call salary relative to total salary.
- Stipends – Automated scripts to identify departments and employees with the highest percentage of stipend or by-agreement salary relative to total salary.
- Federal awards accelerated spending – Automated scripts to identify federal awards with a significant increase (proportionately) in average monthly spending during the last 90 days.
When repeated or significant errors are observed, AAS can help identify the control gaps in the system or process that is allowing problems to occur. AAS researches identified concerns by conducting interviews and/or walkthroughs, performing data analysis, creating causal diagrams or process maps, or a combination of the above to best pinpoint the core source of the observed issue and provides recommendations to address the root cause. Past projects include UCSF Health and BCHO Accounts Payable.
AAS can review new systems or processes to verify that development occurred appropriately, controls are built in, and inefficiencies have been minimized. Past projects include SFGH Refund Automation, where AAS reviewed process flows and system design specifications and participated in discussions with operational and technical stakeholders, identifying and mitigating risks in refund processing, posting, and monitoring.
When new systems are being implemented, AAS can provide input on control needs and regulatory and policy requirements in order to proactively address risks that may necessitate system modifications or adjustments. AAS may also monitor the process of implementation to validate that all steps in the Project Life Cycle are being completed appropriately.
AAS can provide support and guidance to departments in creating policies or documenting procedures to achieve business goals. AAS may review policies and provide suggestions for improved clarity or coordination with existing UC Policies and state and federal regulations. Past projects include Pharmacy Billing, where AAS helped provide direction on policy structure and content for a newly created medication billing integrity policy.
Drawing from our peer group of UC campuses as well as our connections at other universities across the country, AAS is able to obtain data about a broad range of processes. This benchmarking data can then be used to determine how well they are performing, provide support for decisions to make changes to structure or processes, and improve operational efficiency by applying best practices identified through the benchmarking process. Past projects include Background Check Advisory.
AAS participates on a variety of committees to provide input on risks, controls, and requirements. By applying broad institutional and regulatory knowledge as well as subject matter expertise, AAS can help management proactively identify and address risks.