American Water

Data Analysis Made Easy Thanks to IDEA®

“Being able to accomplish a task while everyone else says it is impossible to do is priceless. I am able to do this using IDEA® and present results within minutes.”

Sabri Keskin, CIA CFE, CCSA, Manager, Internal Audit, American Water

Company Profile

The largest publicly traded water and wastewater utility company in the United States, American Water serves approximately 14 million people across more than 40 states and parts of Canada.

We spoke with American Water Internal Audit Manager, Sabri Keskin, to discuss how he uses IDEA® Data Analysis software to analyze large data sets and improve efficiency in the company.

CaseWare Analytics: How does your company put IDEA to work?

Sabri: At American Water, we currently have ten auditors using IDEA primarily for our audit function to perform data analysis, but more and more we are also using it to support the business when it needs data analysis completed to provide advice on improving efficiency in the business.

Last month, the business asked us to deal with a report that was practically unusable. They were only able to see the last page to find totals; they attempted to use Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Access to gain meaningful information from the report—without any success. Using IDEA, within minutes I was able to convert the data using the print report/PDF function to transform the report into a readable format. It was a very basic aging report.

CaseWare Analytics: What are the benefits of using IDEA?

Sabri: Being able to accomplish a task that everyone says is impossible is priceless. Using IDEA, I’m able to do the impossible and present results within minutes. We can analyze very large data sets quickly.

Sometimes you can do large data analysis with other tools; however, it takes a very long and sometimes makes your system crash. We have increased efficiency and many more capabilities using IDEA.

While Microsoft Excel can be useful, with IDEA we can analyze much larger data sets more reliably because there are checks and balances within IDEA that prevent you from manipulating the integrity of the data.

More importantly, the audit trail (history) function within IDEA is able to show all steps completed, from beginning to end; what was done and the processes followed to arrive at the results; and demonstrate that these results are reliable.

CaseWare Analytics: Would you recommend IDEA to other auditors?

Sabri: I would absolutely recommend IDEA to my colleagues or anyone dealing with data who would like to analyze it quickly and reliably.

American Water Success Story