It would be an understatement to say there is plenty of buzz surrounding the Audit Analytics practice: adopting Databricks has introduced compute resources that were previously unattainable; the recent class of new hires display a highly technical skill set and equally passionate “innovation-set”; our Data Science neighbors’ work using large language models opens up a whole new realm of revolutionizing audit procedures.

With this buzz comes a lot of great ideas, ideas that - if given adequate resources - could truly reshape the way our group operates.

The keen reader would have noticed the rather vague phrase “if given adequate resources.” Unfortunately, the field of audit has many self-imposed, yet arguably reasonable, limitations that restrict innovative ideas.

Rather than accept these limitations and self-impose the end of our own ideas, I’d instead like to advocate for the opposite.

What is the The Innovation Handbook?

The Innovation Handbook is an informal collection of resources dedicated to summarizing, discussing, and advancing innovation in Audit Analytics. Over the course of the book, I hope to present a generic template for any innovation project to follow. Some common themes this book will address include:

  • How do I structure my innovation project?

  • How do innovation projects connect to one another?

  • How should we define a “successful” innovation project?

This book could be read cover-to-cover or (more likely) this book could be read as a reference guide, something to refer to for specific sections from time to time. Given this book discusses innovation, the content may become outdated quicker than other resources; hence, frequent revisions may be required.

What is The Scope of This Book?

Let’s start with what this book is not.

  • This book is not a rubric for you to follow. Part of innovating is discussing and discovering those boundaries that define success on your own. Although innovation projects could (and arguably should) relate to one another in some ways, they should actively establish their own boundaries.

  • This book is not a source of truth. Although I’d like to think that the ideas I present here have merit, they are the result of my unique experiences. I hope that while reading this book, you agree and disagree with what I have to say, as this will lead to productive discussions about how we fundamentally view innovation in Audit Analytics.

  • This book is not a manifesto. No political ideologies will be discussed.

Onto the good stuff: what this book is.

  • This book is a philosophical debate. One underlying tone I’ve observed is that innovation is put in a faded light, something that some feel comfortable discussing and few feel comfortable doing. I will endlessly advocate for both those options to become more common and readily-available actions items for our group.

  • This book is a long-winded way of saying “anyone can innovate.” Just like Ratatouille’s Anyone Can Cook, everyone should have the confidence and support to pursue their innovative ideas.

  • This book is a work-in-progress. It always will be a work-in-progress. It would be a shame if a book about innovation was itself not innovative.

Soapbox: My Personal Perspective

At the end of some sections and chapters, I have added “Soapbox” sections that give my thoughts in more detail. Typically these “thoughts” are synonyms for my “opinions” - regardless of the underlying tone of these blocks of text, these snippets are completely optional (as if the rest of this book isn’t).