Transforming Risk Into Opportunity With the Boomi Platform

10 minute read | 20 Feb 2024

By Waseem Samaan

The nature of internal auditors is to always be thinking about risk and what can possibly go wrong.

We try to understand all the key processes within our businesses. We’re looking for ways to make them more efficient and scalable. We’re trying to be insightful and proactive in assessing and managing all types of potential risks.

Businesses today increasingly rely on innovative technologies to run their operations. But the reality is emerging tech also brings with it emerging risks. There’s also a heightened awareness about privacy, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence. It’s a challenging environment for every business, and the demands on internal auditors have never been higher.

At Boomi, integration and automation are the cornerstones of our risk mitigation efforts. We strategically use the Boomi platform to address diverse risks and proactively remediate audit findings.

My role at Boomi focuses on risk, compliance, and auditing. Our team is lean but hyper-productive because Boomi technology makes our lives easier.

  • Risk and Compliance: The Boomi platform minimizes human error, improves data accuracy and consistency, enhances control, enables timely response, simplifies reporting, and tightens security measures. Boomi reduces the likelihood of mistakes and non-compliance while managing risks more effectively.
  • Auditing: Boomi streamlines our procedures, ensures complete and accurate data, and frees up time to concentrate our efforts on areas of greater risk. The platform also reduces the need for extensive testing and sampling – lowering audit costs.

Several of my colleagues have written about how we use our platform internally in a wide variety of ways to improve speed, agility, and efficiency within the business. We call this “Boomi on Boomi.” 

A unique aspect of the platform is that it enables countless use cases that stretch across the entire business. It can help everyone. And that includes an internal auditor.

We use Boomi’s magic for risk reduction, internal controls, SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act) compliance, and more. This falls into seven general categories:

  1. Minimizing human error
  2. Improving consistency and standardization
  3. Enhancing data accuracy and integrity
  4. Increasing control and compliance
  5. Timely risk identification and response
  6. Streamlining auditing and reporting
  7. Strengthening security

Let’s explore more closely why the platform’s capabilities – including Boomi Integration, Boomi Flow, and Boomi Master Data Hub – are like music to the ears of anyone tasked with auditing or managing risk.

Minimizing Human Error

Boomi automation eliminates or reduces manual processes often prone to honest mistakes (such as “fat fingering”) or fraud. By removing the human component from repetitive tasks, there’s a lower error risk, leading to more accurate results.

Statistically, manual processes increase the chance of error by anywhere from 1 to 5 percent, depending on the complexity of the task, the expertise of the individuals involved, and the presence or absence of quality control measures, such as an independent reviewer. Automation eliminates the human component. It also includes saving money on headcount and making processes more scalable.

One other point: Automation reduces our audit fees. Manual processes require much more testing. But with an automated process, you only test it once. That’s a huge time and cost savings.

Improving Consistency and Standardization

Our platform’s automation ensures that processes and controls are consistently applied across the organization. That standardization minimizes variations and deviations that can introduce risk.

Manual processes are only as accurate as the people following the protocols. When they’re not, problems occur. But with Boomi, automated systems use predefined rules that reduce the likelihood of errors or non-compliance. You can’t override the automation (unless you have Admin access). We’re systematically enforcing our best-practice procedures throughout the company.

Enhancing Data Accuracy and Integrity

Integrated systems enable seamless data flow and real-time synchronization between applications and databases. That reduces the risk of discrepancies and inconsistencies from manual data entry or system transfers. Accurate data promotes better financial reporting and timely decision-making.

For instance, Workday is our system of record for Human Resources, Concur handles our expense reimbursement for employees, and NetSuite is our enterprise resource planning (ERP) system (general ledger). Boomi integration connects the systems so that data flows between them seamlessly. So when a new employee joins the company, their profile is automatically created in Concur based on the Workday data. That includes what department will be billed for future expense reports and the correct manager needed to approve them. If the employee subsequently transfers departments, the new manager is automatically updated in Concur based on the Workday profile. There’s no manual effort involved. Hence, there’s no reduction of risk.

From an audit perspective, integration minimizes the risk of fraud because no one can create a phantom employee or a fake manager to file expense reports since the source system is Workday.

Increasing Control and Compliance

Boomi’s built-in security features, encryption, and adherence to industry standards contribute to compliance with data protection and privacy regulations. Boomi’s automation enables our team to implement robust control mechanisms. We can create workflows and approval processes that ensure transactions and activities follow predefined rules.

One example is compliance for contingent workers. There are a lot of rules from a regulatory and benefits perspective, and it can expose you to all types of risks. But we’ve automated the onboarding and termination process using our own Boomi platform. Everything is beautifully connected and automated, including approvals, contract and PO creation, systems access, and training – right to when everything needs to be turned off.

From an audit perspective, auditors like myself oversee key processes and controls within the company. Boomi provides a 360-degree view of our automated processes. That visibility and transparency are invaluable because our team can assess the effectiveness of controls and identify areas for improvement.

Timely Risk Identification and Response

Real-time monitoring can provide the control owners and management with immediate notifications of potential issues or anomalies in the data integration process. This proactive approach helps identify if something has broken down, and we can address the issue and risk promptly – before they escalate. We’re automatically detecting and flagging unusual patterns or transactions.

For example, Salesforce is our customer relationship management (CRM) tool, and we’ve integrated it with NetSuite for billing and revenue recognition. In our process, sales orders are approved in Salesforce and then pushed to NetSuite for billing. If the integration fails for any reason, an error report is generated automatically. That way, the process owner can identify and fix the problem quickly. So, we never jeopardize timely billing or miss recognizing revenue. We never have to wait for a monthly or quarterly reconciliation report to correct errors. There’s greater confidence that we understand what’s happening in the business and that everything is always working as it should.

Streamlining Auditing and Reporting

One of the coolest aspects of the platform is the ability to automatically generate accurate and comprehensive audit trails, logs, and reports. Automated reporting enables real-time access to critical information, empowers management to make timely decisions, and enables my team to respond promptly to risks.

Remember, manual processes generally carry higher risks. And the higher the risk, the more evidence and sampling an auditor needs to ensure data reliability. With manually uploaded reports, evidence must be provided with each execution to validate the accuracy and completeness of the data. So, reconciliation and independent review become necessary for each instance. That requires additional resources. Automating and integrating processes eliminates the need for extensive validation efforts to establish data accuracy and integrity – saving the business time and money.

We also can easily access records required for SOX compliance. That reduces the effort required for manual data collection and analysis. Preparing for audits requires less time because the information is always readily available. (One Boomi customer also told us they no longer need extensive prep time with their auditors because the processing reporting documentation is always at their fingertips.)

Strengthening Security

As I mentioned earlier, Boomi has best-in-class security features. Automating security protocols enables our team to better protect sensitive data, systems, and resources from unauthorized access or breaches. Boomi was essential when our business was carved out of Dell Technologies, and we needed to securely stand up and integrate all of our independent systems in just 180 days after the divestiture.

But there are many other examples of how Boomi helps mitigate risk daily. We’ve built a process that manages third-party risk with new vendors. They include integration and workflow approvals for due diligence, security, related-party, government-related, and privacy assessment.

We also use Boomi to ensure employees immediately lose access to all systems and corporate credit cards when leaving the company. (We have automated ITGC provisioning and de-provisioning controls). That safeguards our information/assets and saves money by not wasting expensive licenses for people no longer with the company. (Also, if you pay attention to the news, third parties and employees are a massive source of data breaches.)

Boomi makes our team happy. But it also makes our executives happy because we’re more productive, containing costs, and keeping the business on track.

Our own technology is our secret weapon in addressing issues because we leverage it in so many ways. The platform is easy to use. It’s flexible. No matter the problem or observation, our IT team says, “Don’t worry. We got you. We’ll use Boomi on Boomi to solve it.” I’ll give them a day or two, and it’s resolved.

That’s why I love Boomi.

Learn more about how the Boomi platform can be an essential tool for auditors in our on-demand webinar, “Transforming Risk Into Opportunity: Strategies for Enhancing Operating Efficiency and Compliance.