By Alex Vuchnich, CPA, CFE -
Within MS Offices productivity tools Excel tends to get the most use amongst us accounting and finance professionals. But some of us, have made the leap to complimenting Excel with MS Access. Access does have a steeper learning curve which steers many practitioners away from it but once you have mastered the basics it is one of the most powerful audit tools around. I recently had to audit an Excel spreadsheet which needed to be reconciled against three corresponding tables: one in a CRM system, one in the g/l and one in an administrative database. Each table consisted of approximately 5,500 records. Rather than try and use sampling and sorting techniques to reconcile the tables I threw them all into Access. In just a few hours I had compared all four tables and identified the differences between each. It was then a simple matter to audit the differences. In previous years this process took around 30-40 hours. Using Access, the time was cut down to 10 hours. I would encourage practitioners who are unfamiliar with the capabilities of MS Access to look for CPE offerings in this area to explore its use as an audit tool.