Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) is based in Marlborough, Massachusetts, and their member base is spread across every state in the union. At over $10b in assets, DCU’s audit department had their hands full. Coordinating their audit activities and business units required quite a bit of management.

But credit unions that reach the $10b asset mark receive increased regulatory scrutiny. There’s very little room for error, and many of the regulations have teeth. DCU knew that their continued growth and success warranted a better, more consistent approach to audit activities.

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Why DCU Looked for a New Approach

Email is still a fantastic form of digital communication, and some people are wizards with Excel. In the right hands, for the right tasks, both email and spreadsheets can keep any business running. However, they’re not well suited to audit management activities.

DCU felt the shortcomings of email and spreadsheets firsthand. Like most credit unions, they used Excel to track due dates, documents, tasks, and more in their outsourced audits. But spreadsheets aren’t collaborative documents. One person must own and manage the entire process, which is a tedious manual daily process. Furthermore, changes in Excel documents don’t show historical data; there was no consistent record of whether and how findings were remediated. Unfortunately, their branch audits suffered similar issues.

DCU’s audit team had trouble regularly tracking audit activity. Spreadsheets were inefficient and slow. There was so much to keep track of that one of their auditors, Susan Allo, explained that her entire job was just managing and tracking audit tasks—all manual, inefficient busywork. And that inconsistent tracking took a lot of time, which caused two major issues. First, items weren’t tracked properly, which led to further complications. Second, findings weren’t remediated appropriately.

It’s hard to manage what you can’t track. The audit team started getting repeat findings. These repeat findings were showing up in both internal and outsourced audits. The audit team knew that as they approached $10b in assets, their audits and exams would get even more rigorous. If they wanted to continue on their path of growth, they would have to make a major change to their audit process.

Digital Credit Union Redboard case study

How DCU Decided on a Solution

The DCU team had tried other software solutions before, but they were very complex, to the point where the solutions were difficult to use. They also lacked some critical features for managing audits in the credit union space, such as tracking document requests, remediating findings, and integrating business units.

The manual method wasn’t working either. Spreadsheets, emails, and even a massive 3-ring binder were inadequate audit management tools. All the audit department’s time went to checking and re-checking to make sure everything was up to date, that comments were current, that every participant knew what needed to be done (and when it was due).

What really hooked DCU’s team on Redboard were a couple of intangibles. For starters, they found Redboard exceptionally easy to use. Adoption by and buy-in from their business units was a key factor. They found that business users intuitively picked up the software with no training at all. Consequently, the business units quickly showed improved response and results.

More importantly, DCU appreciated the customer service that Redboard provided. Where other vendors were ‘take it or leave it,’ Redboard proved more than amenable. Redboard was committed to making sure  DCU could conduct their audits more efficiently and consistently.

How DCU Performed with Redboard

Previously, with so much time invested in tracking and managing audits, DCU’s audit department had little time left to complete their tasks. They could keep up, but they couldn’t get ahead.

Redboard gave them that opportunity. By centralizing all documents and tasks, everything became much easier to find and track. Plus, Redboard automatically recorded timestamps and activity, which generated better audit trail records. They automatically built reports from those records, which simplified the reporting process in meetings with their supervisory committee.

But those automated features were just the cherries on top. What DCU’s audit department noticed was a completely streamlined experience. Jill Holak, DCU’s Internal Audit Manager, remarked on the difference that Redboard made in their audit process: “Redboard is a comprehensive software package that helps us from start to finish of an audit, from the planning process to document requests. We have electronic workpapers to do all our work, and we store it centrally. Once we’re done, we’re able to furnish the findings out to applicable management, have them respond, and then track them until closure.”

Allo noticed the time savings, too. Previously, she dedicated all her time to checking and updating the spreadsheets to manage people, documents, and requests. After using Redboard, she was able to begin managing audits again. “I was able to double the amount of work I’m completing, with less stress than before,” she said. “It’s just way faster,” she noted.

Saving time on minutiae allowed more time on the audit process itself. Using Redboard, DCU’s audit department injected much-needed consistency into tracking and findings remediation. In turn, that consistency translated to better visibility—and higher accountability. Not only were turnarounds on findings faster, but they eliminated repeats and saw much better results overall.

DCU’s move to Redboard proved timely, too. Shortly after they received the new features they requested, the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world, forcing most employees to work from home.  While using Redboard, Holak felt that her team hadn’t lost a step. “We transitioned seamlessly to remote work during COVID-19,” she said. “Redboard was essential to making that happen.”

Ultimately, their audit team appreciated their newfound organization. They are reinvesting the time they are saving back into their audit program, as they need less time to manage the process—and more time to take on additional duties. Looking back on the impact Redboard had, Holak said, “it’s been a game changer for us.”

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