Home BlogHow to Simplify Your Audit with a Virtual Data Room: Benefits and 5 Tips
26 Jun 2023

How to Simplify Your Audit with a Virtual Data Room: Benefits and 5 Tips

Gilbert Waters 15 min read
data rooms for audit

Audits are time-consuming, challenging, and expensive. One of the reasons for this is that businesses undergoing audits often use outdated methods like hosting auditors in an office, paying for their travel, and sharing physical documents with them.

With data rooms for audits, companies can significantly reduce the costs and time associated with audits. In addition, companies can now access the same experts and information without bearing the financial burden of the procedure.

What Is A Virtual Data Room For Audits?

Virtual data rooms for audit are a web-based solution offering a highly secure environment for storing, managing, and sharing documents with clients, partners, investors, and other parties. 

Unsurpassed data protection is only one of many functions the software provides. Specifically, customers get easy-to-use tools for setting up user permissions, tracking data room activity, indexing folders, and files automatically, and simplifying information search. As a result, auditing becomes not only absolutely safe but also greatly simplified.

As for now, hundreds of companies worldwide have adopted virtual data rooms for completing tasks such as audits, mergers and acquisitions, fundraising, real estate transactions, and many more.

data rooms for audits, data room audit

Top 6 Benefits Of Data Rooms For Audits

As is known, a secure, consistent, and transparent approach is an absolute must for a successful audit. But how can virtual data rooms for audit help with it? 

Well, they can ensure you won’t get lost in the stacks of paperwork – because there won’t be any! But of course, the benefits of virtual data rooms are not really limited to that – let’s review more below.

1. Transparency

Adherence to auditing standards is only halfway to success. For instance, auditors must also attest they get access to all necessary documentation and that employees comply with information requirements in a financial audit.

Data rooms offer convincing proof of process transparency, giving you specific information on when requests were made, who examined them, and the ultimate response or outcome.

2. Activity Tracking

Activity tracking is critical during the audit process to ensure that all necessary tasks are executed and all problem areas requiring improvement are detected.

With exclusive features designed for audit activity tracking, auditors can track changes such as who has viewed a file, the duration of their viewing, edits made, and files shared or added. All this enables quick and accurate identification of tendencies and potential risks. 

3. Top-Grade Security

Organizations should secure their data and have a response plan for threats and breaches. The good news is that data rooms store all your confidential information in a secure and single location protected by physical and digital security measures. 

Also, regular scans detect malware or viruses on your system. Finally, the providers follow international data protection standards such as ISO/IEC 27701, GDPR, and HIPAA.

4. Secure Document Sharing

Virtual data rooms employ bank-grade encryption, granular user permissions, and multi-factor authentication to ensure that only authorized users can share and access data. Plus, the remote shredding feature lets users delete data even after recipients download it.

5. Streamlined Communication

Auditors often have queries about documents during audits, leading to numerous emails and calls. With data room Q&A capabilities, users can ask and receive answers online. In addition, the questions and responses are attached for future reviews, saving the auditor from sifting through emails and preventing repeated questions in subsequent audits.

6. Cost-Efficiency

A data room for audits is a cost-effective solution. It stores all audit-related documents in one place, saving time and eliminating the need for travel to find necessary information. Thus, for example, a company that previously sent out auditors to manually search through filing cabinets for paperwork can now quickly access all required documents in an organized data room online.

How To Select A Perfect Data Room For Audit: Features To Look For

Do you want to find a perfect audit data room? We have compiled a list of critical features to help you make the best choice.

Audit trail Audit trails capturing every activity on the data room platform help you maintain internal compliance. In addition, you can use reports for presentations and meetings by choosing Excel, PDF, or printable versions.
User activity tracking Users can investigate suspicious activity by knowing about all the file views, prints, and downloads throughout audits. They can also use this information to understand user behavior and data usage better. 
Support 24/7The audit process can be complex due to the intricacy of the records, the need to deal with multiple sources, and data analysis. But whatever your difficulty, a good data room offers 24/7/365 technical support to walk you through the process and provide assistance when needed.
GDPR GDPR compliance includes but is not limited to security best practices, including establishing clear and transparent policies regarding the storage, protection, and processing of personal data, creating a secure data backup infrastructure, and ensuring bank-grade data encryption.
Variety of document access rights With a data room for audits, you can specify detailed access policies for each document and folder. For instance, you can set an access policy so that external auditors can only view documents while internal auditors can edit them.
Fence viewA secure fence view limits access to only the central part of the document. It prevents users from viewing any of the content outside the secure fence, increasing the security of the file. VDR providers may also offer dedicated spreadsheet viewers for securely working with Excel files.
Advanced Q&AAdvanced Q&A centralizes communication in the virtual data room, allows you to export and import questions from Excel to and from the data room, automatically assigns questions to the appropriate experts, and secures the content at the same security level as the rest of the data.

Best Virtual Data Room Providers For Audits

It goes without saying that you want to select a reliable and secure provider. Our team has conducted extensive research and compiled a list of the best virtual data room providers for audits. This information will help you make an informed decision and ensure the safety and accuracy of your audit.

1. iDeals

iDeals offers data rooms for audit that places security as its top priority. The platform features two-factor authentication, 8 levels of granular user permissions, and built-in redaction. Moreover, iDeals data rooms include complete audit trails, advanced Q&A, and 24/7 expert technical assistance with lightning-fast 30-second response times.

2. Intralinks

Intralinks is a reliable SaaS platform that offers unparalleled reporting on electronic communications. Its features include auditing, activity monitoring, security, and compliance event reporting. In addition, with its seamless integration with enterprise GRC systems, Intralinks can adjust quickly to changing regulatory compliance requirements, giving you the edge to stay ahead of the competition.

3. Datasite

Datasite has a comprehensive set of features to ensure a smooth audit procedure, including 256-bit SSL encryption, virus scanning, automatic audit reports, and audit logs. Moreover, Datasite Q&A helps you identify the most pressing issues and address each questioner’s concerns promptly and accurately.

4. Onehub

Onehub is another leading provider of cloud-based data room solutions for audits offering role-based permissions, two-factor authentication, session timeouts, and audit trails. Additionally, Onehub enables simultaneous collaboration via Google Drive and Microsoft Office Online integration for a streamlined user experience.

5. Venue

Venue offers secure information rights management, role-based access control, and Symantec virus scanning to protect documents from unauthorized access and malware. It also provides features to track the audit progress through accurate and insightful analytics and a dashboard showing user engagement.

Five Tips To Enhance Your VDR Experience During Audits

Now, we want to share a few helpful tips to ensure that your data room experience during audits is as efficient and secure as possible. 

  • 1. Make Use Of The Customizable Q&A Section
  • 2. Track Audit Progress
  • 3. Set Email Notifications
  • 4. Use Dynamic Watermarking
  • 5. Use The Session Timeouts And Other Restricting Functionality

1. Make Use Of The Customizable Q&A Section

For a successful audit, communicate openly with auditors and respond promptly to their inquiries. Use data room email notifications for team members when questions are answered. Use roles to direct queries to the right person. Highlight time-sensitive questions and send reminders for unanswered ones. Easily refer to supporting documentation in the data room when needed.

2. Track Audit Progress

Transparency is an absolute necessity for a successful audit. That entails providing details regarding the frequency of an item’s viewing and whether it requires attention and has been flagged.

Although auditing teams and regulatory standards may have similarities, each group operates independently. To streamline your audit procedure with virtual data rooms, you can use tags, comments, and statuses individually or in tandem.

3. Set Email Notifications

Auditors are automatically notified when new papers are added. The instant the auditors upload the final audit report, you and your team members will be informed via the same channel. For instance, when the audit report is uploaded, you will receive a notification email with a link to this document so that you can access it and review it in a timely manner.

4. Use Dynamic Watermarking

Dynamic watermarking helps prevent fraudulent activities allowing you to identify unauthorized data distribution. Additionally, dynamic watermarking enables audit teams to determine who has accessed a document and the date and time of access, which helps to ensure that their data is secure at each stage of the deal and that unauthorized access is prevented.

5. Use The Session Timeouts And Other Restricting Functionality

Choosing data rooms for audit with session timeouts and other restricting functionality is vital to ensure the data rooms remain secure. For example,  session timeouts require a user to log back in after a certain period of inactivity. In addition, it prevents a user from leaving a data room open and available to anyone who might gain access while the user is away.

Other restricting functionality can further limit a user’s access to certain areas of the data room. For example, a user may only be able to view certain documents but not download or edit them.

Final Thoughts

To better grasp the data room importance for audits, let us recap the information we have covered thus far.

  • Virtual data rooms for audit deliver transparency, user activity tracking, robust data security, improved business communication, and cost-efficiency.
  • Choosing data rooms, you should consider features such as audit trails, activity tracking, technical support, GDPR compliance, document access rights, restricting functionality, and Q&A.
  • A few simple tips on using the platform can add even more value to the audit process by increasing its transparency and improving communication between parties.
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