How Elevations Credit Union Centralized Audit, Risk, and Compliance

How Elevations Credit Union Centralized Audit, Risk, and Compliance

In the latest installment in our Spotlight on Success series, Brittany McKinley, Internal Audit Manager at Elevations Credit Union, shares how she leverages AuditBoard’s simple platform to take an agile approach to maintaining compliance with complex financial services regulations. This 2023 update builds on our earlier 2021 Spotlight on Success interview with the Elevations team (see below for original video) to showcase how this $3B Colorado-based credit union has scaled their use of AuditBoard’s connected platform to centralize audit, risk, and compliance in a single source of truth. Hear how this team connects people, data, and insights with AuditBoard to deliver more value to the organization, including:

  • Leveraging AuditBoard’s platform to deliver data-driven insights and reporting for executives and board members.
  • Gaining real-time visibility into status to save time on status updates and deploy the right resources to the right projects at the right time.
  • Integrating AuditBoard seamlessly with their existing cloud ecosystem to create meaningful reports for the audit and risk committee in minutes.

Watch the video, read the highlights, and download the PDF success story for a deeper dive into Elevations Credit Union’s initial challenges, business outcomes, and measurable ROI!

Brittany McKinley of Elevations Credit Union shares how her team has scaled their use of AuditBoard’s connected platform to centralize audit, risk, and compliance in a single source of truth.

Tell us a little about Elevations Credit Union and your team.

“My name is Brittany McKinley and I am the Internal Audit Manager at Elevations Credit Union, where I oversee the internal audit department. We are a credit union — our size is three billion [assets]. We average, including our onsite visits for our branches, about 42 audits in a year.”

Elevations Credit Union Success Story
Click Above to Download the Full PDF Elevations Credit Union Success Story

How has having a single source of truth for audit, risk, and compliance in AuditBoard helped you be agile when navigating a dynamic financial services risk environment?

Our audit plan is always subject to changes in the environment. It may be a new emerging risk, or because our goal is to — as much as we can — align with the strategic objectives of the organization. Sometimes plans change or something that was anticipated to be done is not, or it’s postponed, so we try to operate in an agile environment.”

“AuditBoard has been one of the key factors in the success of our group. Primarily the fact that it’s all integrated. We have our risk assessment in AuditBoard, we have our operational audits in AuditBoard, and we have our resource planning in AuditBoard, so it really creates our one source of truth. Having that one place where we can go and really dive into what is unique to Elevations helps make sure that we’re looking at the right audits and that we are driving that value to stakeholders.”

How easy was it to get yourself and other team members up and running with AuditBoard after experiencing almost 100% turnover in your department?

The part that I love the most about AuditBoard is how intuitive it is. The training piece of AuditBoard was really only a day at most, and the entire team had it down pat within a week easily.”

Audit, risk, and compliance are so tightly interconnected — how have you leveraged multiple modules to keep on top of the many regulations you have to comply with as a credit union?

“We currently leverage CrossComply to help us keep track of all of the various regulations that we have as a credit union. It really allows us in OpsAudit with the connectivity to be able to document in our operational audits as well as our compliance audits what regulations we are testing. Then at the end of the year we can take a nice bird’s eye view of all of the various regulations that we’ve tested and it helps us plan for what needs to be on our compliance schedule for the following year.”

How has having real-time visibility into status in AuditBoard helped you save time and deploy the right resources at the right time?

“We used to have a weekly team meeting where at least a half hour we were talking about the status of various engagements, where we were at, if we thought it was going to go over the allotted time, and additional resources that we might need.

By leveraging that information in AuditBoard we’ve essentially been able to cut out that entire portion of the meeting, saving us about half the time on that meeting and reducing it to once per month and instead focusing on those that are at the highest risk of falling behind and being more proactive about getting in there and getting those additional resources sooner so that way we are able to still deliver the report on the expected timeline.”

How have you leveraged AuditBoard’s robust API and integration capabilities?

“Having all of the fields available to extract into a report has been amazing. In terms of reporting to the audit and risk committee, we use the API functionality to connect to a Power BI dashboard, which gives them information on action plans by executive owner and the status of those that have been extended, with management responses as to why they’re being extended.

Having that ability to integrate with an external application creates meaningful reports that I can pull within 10 or 15 minutes and provide to our audit and risk committee so they’re able to get the information that they want timely — with sometimes maybe even more information that they didn’t even know we had access to!”

If you had to sum it up, how has AuditBoard helped enable you to succeed in your role?

“From my perspective, AuditBoard allows me — as a manager overseeing the audit function — to make sure that I’m delivering the right resources to the right projects at the right time while increasing the value to the organization in a seamless and efficient way.”

2021 Elevations Credit Union Spotlight on Success

In a 2021 testimonial, hear Elizabeth McDowell, then AVP, Internal Audit at Elevations Credit Union and Adam Russell, then Senior Internal Auditor at Elevations Credit Union, share how their five-person team leverages AuditBoard to collaborate seamlessly and streamline how they perform their core responsibilities, including compliance testing, entities-based risk assessments, and maintaining the audit and risk universe.

In a 2021 interview, Elizabeth McDowell and Adam Russell share the efficiency gains Elevations Credit Union has experienced by unifying audit, risk, and compliance in AuditBoard.

Tell us about the challenges you experienced prior to implementing AuditBoard, and what helped you in your selection process?

“When I joined Elevations two and a half years ago, the internal audit department was primarily outsourced. The decision had been made to insource the audit department, and I was brought on to coordinate that initiative. I hired a team and took a fresh look at our workpaper management system and all of our processes and procedures — there were a lot of inefficiencies.”  – Elizabeth McDowell

“When we were evaluating workpaper management systems, we primarily evaluated three different systems. AuditBoard stood out from the beginning because of its ease of use. When somebody asks me why I like using AuditBoard — it’s just easy. That may sound basic, but you want your system to be simple, but also be configurable to what you need.” – Elizabeth McDowell

Tell us about your implementation experience. How quickly could you get up and running with AuditBoard?

When I joined Elevations, it took me less than a week to learn how to use AuditBoard, how to integrate the workflow system to easily request things from clients, to receive information back, remediate issues, and streamline the entire process, including preparing, reviewing, and clearing workpaper comments. I found the platform very, very easy to pick up. All of the workpaper interfaces were very intuitive. Anyone with audit experience could very clearly see the value that it was bringing to the process of preparing and reviewing work papers.” – Adam Russell

How has AuditBoard’s CrossComply enabled you to manage multiple regulations and frameworks?

“As a credit union and financial institution, we have a lot of regulations that we have to comply with both at the federal and the state level. We’ve been able to use CrossComply, the compliance module within AuditBoard, to set up the different frameworks and regulations that we monitor. Within CrossComply, we have the overviews of the different frameworks, we have all of the regulations put in separately, and then we also have areas within those for our annual or other frequency testing.” – Elizabeth McDowell

One of my favorite things that we have in CrossComply are the different frameworks that we have to comply with, including NCUA, CFPB, and different state regulations. It’s very easy to go in and learn about the regulations because we can drill down into a specific framework and it has all the different regulations laid out in front of you. We can automatically add all of our testing work so we can easily review any of the testing work that we’ve done either in previous audits or in previous compliance testing engagements — all in one place. It streamlines the ability to review all the work we’ve already done and the work that we have coming up in those different frameworks.” – Adam Russell

How has AuditBoard helped make reporting less cumbersome and time-consuming?

“We do monthly audit and risk committee reporting, and previously, that could take an entire day — which may not sound like a lot, but eight hours every month on reporting is quite a lot. We spend at most four hours now, so we’ve cut our reporting time in half for our monthly executive and audit committee reporting.” – Elizabeth McDowell

How have you streamlined issue and action plan management?

The issue and action plan management within AuditBoard is extremely easy to use. It’s really nice because our action plan owners can come into the system and update in the management comment section. They can attach files and then we can go in to see what they have done and validate if the action plan can be closed or not.” – Elizabeth McDowell

How has AuditBoard enabled you to collaborate effectively with your regulators?

“As a financial institution, we are highly regulated and we do have an examination every year. AuditBoard makes it really easy to share our workpapers, including our actual audit workpapers or our risk assessments with our regulators. It’s easy to get the information out or even provide them a different level of access so that they can go in and review themselves.” – Elizabeth McDowell

How has AuditBoard’s connected risk platform centralized your audit, risk, and compliance program?

I really like AuditBoard because it makes my day-to-day work a lot more efficient. I no longer have to worry about whether someone else has a specific workpaper checked out or whether something has been reviewed because all of that information is held all within the same place. I’ve shown the AuditBoard platform to individuals who work at larger organizations, and they’re very easily able to see how much more efficient and clean the entire interface looks in comparison to the applications they’re using.” – Adam Russell

I love AuditBoard because it makes my life so much easier. As a manager, I can review workpapers, prepare workpapers, review our risk assessment process and our compliance program — all in one place. The way the parts of the AuditBoard system integrate — it just makes my life easier.” – Elizabeth McDowell