Hawaii Financial Federal Credit Union Redboard case study

Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union (HCFCU) is an $800 million credit union headquartered in Kailua Kona, Hawaii.

Shortcomings in Visibility and Findings Management

To assist with anticipated growth, HCFCU brought in a seasoned internal auditor, Christina Salisbury. She quickly discovered that the existing findings management process was completely manual, done almost entirely in Word documents and email.

“It was difficult for me to get my arms around how many open issues we had, who’s responsible for them, if we have any duplicate issues, to try to figure out where was the starting point so that we could make progress” she said.

After detangling the threads, she discovered that HCFCU had 40 outstanding audit findings. Salisbury noted that the process was very cumbersome and very time consuming, especially when it came to sending out reminders to business units and reporting to the Supervisory Committee.

The tedium of checking progress, sending reminders, and reporting left little time to perform substantive audit work. Salisbury reported that the time spent on such a manual process took away from “executing more of the audit plan and better protecting the credit union from risk.” In short, the process itself was getting in the way of progress.

Unfortunately, Salisbury wasn’t the only person affected. She explained, “business units would lose track of and forget about findings. They wanted to complete the items on time, but the items would simply fall off their radar. Findings would fall through the cracks in the business units unless someone from audit bugged them about it.”

Management also felt the shortcomings of the process. Salisbury explained that managers were “impacted because they really had no idea what types of issues were outstanding in their areas of responsibility.”

Similarly, the Supervisory Committee felt too frequently uninformed because “it was difficult to track items… and so it was hard for them to evaluate what was going on in the audit program,” said Salisbury.  It wasn’t that they weren’t getting the information. Rather, they were getting “a dump of all the detail, but it was overwhelming detail that they weren’t able to digest.”

Immediate Improvements to the Audit Process

Salisbury felt like she had an uphill battle. The audit management process impacted almost all areas of the credit union, from the business units, to the executive team, to the Supervisory Committee, and the audit function itself.

To reduce the amount of manual reminders and spreadsheet updates required to track everything, she implemented Redboard’s audit management platform.

“It took me less than a day to get fully up and running on Redboard,” Salisbury said. “Not just getting myself set up, but getting everyone else in the credit union involved also. It was just so easy.” All told, it took Salisbury less time to set up Redboard and automate reminders than it took her to do one cycle of check-ins on open findings using the old way.

In addition to time savings, Salisbury appreciated HCFCU’s dramatic improvement in findings accountability. Salisbury provided visibility to the CEO, which allowed her to track the progress of open audits and issues. “The CEO loved it,” Salisbury said. “The CEO and other executive team members took responsibility and accountability for making sure that findings were completed on time.”

Giving the CEO and managers visibility into findings dramatically changed the speed and efficacy of audits. “The business units can no longer forget about findings,” Salisbury said. “They get reminders on a regular basis. They have taken responsibility to make sure items are completed on time.”

With centralized documents and automated reminders, things stopped falling through cracks. Additionally, managers knew which items were outstanding in their area, and Salisbury noticed a significant difference in the audit process and culture at HCFCU. “As the auditor, I no longer have to nag, pester, and hassle the business units… I can instead focus on substantive audit work.”

Fortunately, the results were immediate. “We started with Redboard in June,” Salisbury said. “By the July Supervisory Committee meeting, we had already seen multiple issues closed that had been open for a long time.” HCFCU quickly chewed through its backlog of longstanding open findings.

“From the very moment I started using Redboard, I was already time savings ahead,” said Salisbury. From responding to the Supervisory Committee for status updates or sending reminders to business units, Salisbury said, “it’s hard to quantify how much time Redboard has saved me, to tell you the truth. It’s a lot of time.”

For the speed of improvements, Salisbury credits Redboard’s ease of use. From simple onboarding with how-to videos, to automated reminders and reporting, to minute details like timestamp tracking and automated audit trails, Salisbury emphasized just how easy it was to save time. “My experience with Redboard has just been wonderful,” she said. “I’m super impressed.”

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