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Adding our voice and expertise on data analytics to the IAASB

Tim Gallagher
The Office of the Auditor General of Alberta is filled with exceptionally talented individuals. One of those individuals is the IT audit principal Tim Gallagher, who was asked this year to join the Data Analytics Project Advisory Panel working group of the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB). This incredible opportunity places both Tim and the OAG on the international stage, and speaks to the industry leading work Tim brings to the office and province.

Tim began his career as an IT practitioner, and has worked extensively in the IT field with roles in systems analysis, software development, project management, leadership, and quality assurance. He finds that his experience and expertise in these fields provide him with an excellent foundation for audit work, where critiquing and drawing on past experiences helps improve the systems being audited.

Now in his ninth year with the OAG, Tim has led numerous IT advancements within the office. One of these successes was a project checkpoint created to serve as an IT governance and project management health check. This new type of audit approach allows an organization to be fully aware of all the acknowledged risks that can cause a project to be derailed or even fail. Instead of taking the traditional audit approach where problems are addressed after the fact, Tim’s health check focuses on getting involved at an earlier stage. This new method has been implemented in projects with Alberta Pensions, Athabasca University, and Olds College, and has proven to be a very valuable tool within the organization.

For Tim, it’s all about innovation and determining how to get things done quicker and more efficiently. This desire is what inspired his work on advancing the OAG’s use of data analytics. Over the last two years he led a small but talented team to implement the new Data Analytics Dashboard using ACL/AX technology. This new tool and approach has helped to further operationalize the use of data analytics at the OAG. Audit teams now have access to a library pre-built data-analytic applications that they can execute themselves to analyze data using intuitive features such as data filtering and visualizations. This was a key influence in Tim’s appointment in his role with the IAASB.

Although the office is recognized as a legislative audit office leader in data analytics, there is much more to do. Tim is currently working with the OAG business Leaders and Professional Practice to develop a new strategy for growing the use of data analytics more for both lines of our business, financial statement and performance audits.

Tim’s new Data Analytics Project Advisory position with the IAASB is another opportunity for him to help improve government programs. Ultimately, the hope is to add more value to these programs and not just focus on identifying their defects. In the future, Tim believes analytical tools will become easier for auditors to use, and he is looking forward to more conversations and the continued sharing of information within the audit profession.

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