ACL_Quick_Reference_Sheets - ACL Command Reference Test or...

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Unformatted text preview: ACL Command Reference Test or Operation Explanation Command(s) Key fields*/Records Output Basic Typically the commands a data analyst would use when first working with a data file. They provide general information about the file or about a subset of the data when applied in conjunction with a command filter. Verify CND Screen, File Count Record-based Screen Total N Screen Statistics ND Screen, File Completeness Allows the user to verify that all records in a sequence are present, e.g., check numbers. Gaps CND Screen, File Uniqueness Can determine whether or not records have been included more than once. It can also determine whether or not a particular field contains unique values. Duplicates CND Screen, File Frequency & Materiality Distribution Can determine how many records and how much value is concentrated by time period, value range, or other record identifiers such as location codes, vendor/customer numbers, or product identifiers. These commands are also useful for identifying outliers, either in financial or age terms. Stratify N Screen/Graph, File Classify C Screen/Graph, File Age D Screen/Graph, File Summarize CD Screen, File Cross Tabulate C Screen/Graph, File Associate or combine data from separate files. Extract/Append Record- and field- based File Join CND File Relations CND Multi-File Combinations, Comparisons, and Associations Sampling Conduct record-based and monetary unit samples. Sample Record- and numeric field-based. File Benford’s Law Tests leading digits for variance from standard distribution. May indicate fraud. Benford N Screen/Graph, File Order Refers to testing the records for logical order. This test is useful as it may show that it is unnecessary to sort or index. Sequence CND Screen, File Re-Ordering Allows the user to change the order of the data in the current file or in a new file containing the same data. Sort CND File Index CND Screen * C=Character N=Numeric D=Date © 2007 ACL Services Ltd. ACL, the ACL logo, the ACL logo with the text “Data you can trust. Results you can see.”, and Audit Command Language are trademarks or registered trademarks of ACL Services Ltd. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Page 1 acl.com training@acl.com ACL Command Terminology Term Explanation Parameters Any user-defined or user-selected criteria that govern how the command is executed. Examples of parameters: Key fields Subtotaled numeric fields Additional field information Command filters Output type/name Limits on how many records will be processed (More tab) Key field(s) The field(s) against which the command is run. Certain commands can only be run against specific field types, either character, numeric, or date. Command filter A filter local to the command that is active only while the command is running. Once the command has completed execution, the filter becomes inactive. More tab Governs the number of records (scope) that will be processed. First: Allows you to test the command against the first x records. This can save time if you have a very large file and you would like to test the command against a limited number of records. Next: If your record indicator is not set at the first record, this will allow you to process the next x records. While: Executes the command only when a certain condition is met, either a record-based condition or a variable-based condition. This parameter is useful primarily in scripts. The Main Tab Key field Subtotaled numeric field Command filter The Output Tab Output Output type Output name © 2007 ACL Services Ltd. ACL, the ACL logo, the ACL logo with the text “Data you can trust. Results you can see.”, and Audit Command Language are trademarks or registered trademarks of ACL Services Ltd. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Page 2 acl.com training@acl.com Basic Commands: VERIFY, COUNT, TOTAL, & STATISTICS These ACL commands on the Analyze and Data menus provide general information about the data file regarding field definitions that are appropriate to the data contained in the field, possible data corruption, missing or invalid dates, record counts, numeric totals, bounds, and statistical information on numeric and date fields. It is a best practice to run VERIFY and STATISTICS against numeric and date fields before beginning analytical procedures and comparing the results to control totals and other file information supplied by your data provider. Command Toolbar Button Key field(s) Comments VERIFY Numeric, date, character Compares field type to data contents. Identifies invalid or blank dates and numeric fields containing non-numeric characters. Useful for verifying that field definitions are appropriate. COUNT Record-based Confirms number of records in table and documents the result in the log. Generates COUNT1 variable. TOTAL Numeric Confirms control totals for numeric fields in the table and documents the results in the log. Generates TOTAL1 variable. STATISTICS Numeric, date Confirms record counts, control totals (numeric), date bounds, negative and positive numeric values, means, and bounds. Documents results in the log. Generates multiple variables (see list below). Explanation of Output for STATISTICS (Numeric field) Item # of records Materiality Average for item Item description: VARIABLE(S) Difference between maximum (MAX1) and minimum (MIN1) values: RANGE1 Records with positive values in this field Records with negative values in this field Records with values of zero in this field All records: COUNT1, TOTAL1, AVERAGE1 Absolute value of total materiality in field: ABS1 Measure of dispersion around the average (optional): STD1 MAX1 MIN1 HIGH1 LOW1 © 2007 ACL Services Ltd. ACL, the ACL logo, the ACL logo with the text “Data you can trust. Results you can see.”, and Audit Command Language are trademarks or registered trademarks of ACL Services Ltd. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Page 3 acl.com training@acl.com Basic Commands: VERIFY, COUNT, TOTAL, & STATISTICS Explanation of Output for STATISTICS (Date field) Most of the output of the STATISTICS command when it is run against a date field is irrelevant. The real value of such a procedure is to identify the time period within which the transactions occurred. This can be determined by examining the oldest (lowest) and most recent (highest) transaction dates. This is a quick way of confirming that the data provided meets your specifications with regard to cutoff. Most recent Oldest STATISTICS Shortcuts To isolate the top ten transactions by value, run STATISTICS on the numeric field with the number of high/low parameter set to 10. Then run the EXTRACT command with the command filter name of value field>=HIGH1 To isolate the ten oldest transactions, run STATISTICS on the transaction date field with the number of high/low parameter set to 10. Then run the EXTRACT command with the command filter name of transaction date field>=HIGH1 Identifying Outliers with STATISTICS Outliers are transactions that occur outside of reasonable expectations. These expectations are usually, but not always, based on the transaction’s materiality. Other types of outliers can be based on the age of the transaction, the volume (units), unit value (price), or classification codes such as vendors, product numbers/classes, or geographic regions. Outliers can also be based on combinations of multiple parameters, such as a very large transaction in a geographic region where the average transaction is relatively small. Numeric fields: Run STATISTICS to get an overall picture of the bounds of that field. Then run STRATIFY to see the number and materiality of the transactions based on size ranges. Drill down from the screen output to isolate the outliers with a view filter. The standard deviation (see below) can also provide helpful information regarding outliers when comparing two populations. Date fields: Run STATISTICS to get an overall picture of the period covered by the transaction data. Then run AGE to see the number and materiality of the transactions based on age ranges. Drill down from the screen output to isolate the outliers with a view filter. For outlier detection with other ACL commands, see Commands: Frequency and Materiality Distributions. What is Standard Deviation? The standard deviation of a population is a measure of dispersal of the values around the average (mean). It is useful when you are comparing statistics from two different populations and it can help identify which population is more likely to have outliers. For example, if you are comparing transaction data from two locations, and one location carries high-value products while the other carries a mix of high-, medium-, and low-value products, it is possible that both would have the same average transaction size but different standard deviations because of the product mix. In a normally distributed population, 68% of the values would be ±1 standard deviation from the mean, 95% within 2 standard deviations, and 99.7% within 3 standard deviations. In the example on the previous page, this would mean that 68% of the values would lie between –5307.88 (4476.84 - 9784.72) and 14261.56 (4476.84 + 9784.72). © 2007 ACL Services Ltd. ACL, the ACL logo, the ACL logo with the text “Data you can trust. Results you can see.”, and Audit Command Language are trademarks or registered trademarks of ACL Services Ltd. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Page 4 acl.com training@acl.com Commands: Frequency & Materiality Distributions These ACL commands on the Analyze menu are useful for identifying concentrations of transactions or materiality by specific field characteristics. When analyzing all your data, they can provide breakdowns of the entire population. After you have isolated exceptions or possible indicators of fraud, these commands can provide common characteristics of the suspect transactions that could indicate the reason for the control failure or the source(s) of the fraud. These commands are also useful for identifying outliers. All of these commands can subtotal multiple numeric fields. When the output is directed to the screen, you can see it either as text in the example below or as a graph by selecting the “Graph” button at the bottom left-hand corner of the view. Command Toolbar Button Key field(s) Comments CLASSIFY Character fields, one at a time. SUMMARIZE Multiple character/date fields. Comparing Two Populations: After isolating exceptions or suspicious transactions, you can compare the relative frequency or materiality by running Classify against the entire population and against the exceptions. Then use RELATIONS on the key field to bring the two results into one view for comparison. STRATIFY Numeric fields, one at a time. Financial Auditors: Subtotal numeric fields for materiality. Operational Auditors: The Count column (see example below) will tell you how many transactions meet each criteria. CROSS-TABULATE Multiple character fields; creates pivot-table output. AGE Cutoff date fields. Explanation of Output for CLASSIFY, STRATIFY, & AGE Key field # of records (frequency) % of frequency % of materiality Subtotaled numeric field (materiality) Possible outlier as location code does not match the pattern of other codes and contains only one transaction. © 2007 ACL Services Ltd. ACL, the ACL logo, the ACL logo with the text “Data you can trust. Results you can see.”, and Audit Command Language are trademarks or registered trademarks of ACL Services Ltd. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Page 5 acl.com training@acl.com Commands: Frequency & Materiality Distributions Comparing CLASSIFY and SUMMARIZE Functional Specification Classify Summarize Calculates and reports the number of times a key field appears in the table Yes Yes Computes and displays subtotals on selected numeric fields Yes Yes Computes and displays percentages Yes No Key field can be character Yes Yes Key field can be date No Yes Number of key fields allowed One One or more Allows the display of other fields No Yes Data needs to be sorted on key field prior to running command No Yes, presort option available Primary location utilized to handle sequence process, subtotaling of numeric fields, and compression of details RAM Hard disk Can send results to screen Yes Yes Can send results to table Yes Yes Can send results to graph Yes No Identifying Outliers Outliers are transactions that occur outside of reasonable expectations. These expectations are usually, but not always, based on the transaction’s materiality. Other types of outliers can be based on the age of the transaction, the volume (units), unit value (price), or classification codes such as vendors, product numbers/classes, or geographic regions. Outliers can also be based on combinations of multiple parameters, such as a very large transaction in a geographic region where the average transaction is relatively small. Numeric fields: Run STATISTICS to get an overall picture of the bounds of that field. Then run STRATIFY to see the number and materiality of the transactions based on size ranges. Drill down from the screen output to isolate the outliers with a view filter. Date fields: Run STATISTICS to get an overall picture of the period covered by the transaction data. Then run AGE to see the number and materiality of the transactions based on age ranges. Drill down from the screen output to isolate the outliers with a view filter. Character fields: Run CLASSIFY against the specific field to identify the number and materiality of the transactions based on that field. If there are any codes that are not recognizable, drill down from the screen output to isolate the transactions associated with those codes. Multiple fields: For character and date combinations, use SUMMARIZE. For character field combinations, use SUMMARIZE or CROSS-TABULATE. If you want to use a command that is designed for character fields against a date or numeric field, use conversion functions such as STRING() or DATE() to create computed character fields. You can also create filters with multiple conditions to identify outliers with specific characteristics. © 2007 ACL Services Ltd. ACL, the ACL logo, the ACL logo with the text “Data you can trust. Results you can see.”, and Audit Command Language are trademarks or registered trademarks of ACL Services Ltd. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Page 6 acl.com training@acl.com Commands: Multi-File Combinations, Comparisons, and Associations Command Toolbar button Key field(s) Output EXTRACT Record- or field-based. New ACL table containing the specific records/fields that have been extracted and appended from the original tables. JOIN CND New ACL table containing the matched or unmatched records based on the user’s parameter selection. RELATIONS CND None. Fields from related tables can be used in computed fields, filters, and commands in the parent table. EXTRACT The Extract command allows you to isolate specific records or to combine records from multiple tables into one master table. Isolating Specific Records Once you have determined that exceptions or suspicious transactions exist in your data, you can extract those records to a separate table for further analysis to determine what may have caused them. Analyzing the exceptions in a separate table is more efficient than analyzing them in their source file as the exceptions table will be much smaller. You can isolate them by running Extract with a command filter where the filter criteria match the criteria for non-compliant transactions. For example, if all purchase orders over $5000 require VP approval, you would run Extract with the following command filter: amount>5000 AND ISBLANK(Approval). Combining Records You may often receive data from multiple time periods or from multiple locations that you wish to combine into one master file. You can do this by selecting the Append option on the More tab when running the Extract command from each source table to the master table. In the example below, you would combine the January, February, and March transactions to create the YTD table. Jan YTD Best Practice: Always Extract/Append to a new table rather than to one of the source tables. Feb Mar Record-based Extract/Append: Ensure that table layouts are identical in the source file and the destination file. The fields must have the same length and the same physical order. Field-based Extract/Append: Ensure that the selected fields have the same length in both files and that they are selected in the same order as they exist physically in the destination file. © 2007 ACL Services Ltd. ACL, the ACL logo, the ACL logo with the text “Data you can trust. Results you can see.”, and Audit Command Language are trademarks or registered trademarks of ACL Services Ltd. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Page 7 acl.com training@acl.com Commands: Multi-File Combinations, Comparisons, and Associations JOIN The Join command allows you to compare two tables so that the result can yield either matching or unmatched records based on the user’s parameter selection. The two tables must have at least one field in common, and that common field must be of the same type (CND) and length in both tables. The output consists of a new table containing all the requested records from either the primary or secondary table, or both depending on which type of Join is selected. In the examples below, we will be comparing a payroll file to an active employee master file for different types of tests. Example 1: Matched Join Your objective is to verify that the gross pay of each employee payroll transaction matches the gross pay in the active employee master table for all valid employees. A valid employee is defined as one that exists in the master table. In this case, you would run a Matched Join with the employee number as the key field in the Primary (payroll) and Secondary (master) tables; select the employee number as the key field in each table and select the gross pay fields as output fields along with the employee number. The output file will contain the payroll transaction for each employee that exists in the master file, and you can use a filter to identify any employees for whom the gross pay does not match up. Example 2: Unmatched Join Your objective is to identify payroll transactions that were generated for employees who are not in the active master employee table; they have either been terminated or their employee number is not valid. In this case, you would run an Unmatched Primary Join with the payroll table again as the Primary, selecting all primary fields for output. The resulting table will contain all payroll transactions for invalid/inactive employee numbers. All Primary/All Secondary Parameter: This forces the output of all primary table records or all Secondary table records in a Matched Join. This is useful if you want to keep one of the tables whole for the purpose of examining the materiality or extent of the exceptions in relation to the entire universe of records. The first five Join options on the More tab are many-to-0ne in nature. This means that if there are any duplicate instances of the key field in the Secondary table (such as the employee number), the first match encountered in the Secondary table will be used and the second will be ignored. The sixth Join is many-to-many in nature and all possible matches will be written to the output file. RELATIONS Relations links multiple tables to a parent table (usually a transaction table) for multiple lookup capability. This allows enhanced, sophisticated cross-table testing and analysis. In the purchasing example at left, all the other tables have been directly related to the Invoices table with the exception of the Employees table, which is indirectly related via the employee number field in the Purchase Orders table. These relations will allow the following tests to be executed in the Invoices table: Identify invoiced prices variance from standard price and calculate amount of variance Identify invoices with unmatched products and quantities compared to purchase orders and calculate variance Identify vendor/employee/product profiles of noncompliant transactions and materiality Compare vendor-employee addresses, phone numbers, and other identifiers Calculate days between purchase order and invoice Compare all invoices to master vendor list to identify inactive/invalid vendors © 2007 ACL Services Ltd. ACL, the ACL logo, the ACL logo with the text “Data you can trust. Results you can see.”, and Audit Command Language are trademarks or registered trademarks of ACL Services Ltd. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Page 8 acl.com training@acl.com ACL Expressions Reference: The Expression Builder EXPRESSION BUILDER The expression builder is used for creating filters and computed fields using fields, operators, variables, functions, and named filters. Type of expression Validity check Operators Expression name Field list Functions Source table(s) Named (saved) filters Variables Element Explanation Best practice/tips Expression name Usually used for naming filters to make them permanent Use a meaningful name such as AmtGrtr100. Avoid using test, junk, or temp. Field list All fields, physical and computed, from the source table Click on the column headings to sort the field list. This will help you find fields faster. You can sort in reverse order as well. Sort by category to find specific field types. Functions Allow you to create more powerful and complex expressions Three sources of information on functions and their application: Online Help, Online Learning Functions module, and ACL 301 instructor-led training course. Named filters All named filters from the source table You can edit, copy, and delete named filters by going to Edit>>Filters. Operators Logical operators Use brackets to organize your expressions for more precision. Source tables(s) The currently opened table or any related tables Use Relations to access data in other tables for comparison with the current table or for computations based on fields from multiple tables. Type of expression Indicates if you are creating a view filter, command filter, or computed field Validity check Click Verify to test the expression’s validity If you are building a complex expression, such as a filter with multiple tests, click Verify after building each test. It will tell you if the expression is valid up to that point and allow you to identify any logical failures. Variables System and user-defined variables To make a variable permanent, provide it with a name that begins with an underscore (_). You can edit variables by going to Edit>>Variables. © 2007 ACL Services Ltd. ACL, the ACL logo, the ACL logo with the text “Data you can trust. Results you can see.”, and Audit Command Language are trademarks or registered trademarks of ACL Services Ltd. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Page 9 acl.com training@acl.com ACL Expressions Reference: Filters and Computed Fields Types of expressions Categories FILTERS Search/query for records that meet the filter criteria. Can be named to save permanently to the current table layout. Commands executed while a filter is active will only process the records that meet the filter’s criteria. Filters can be based on more than one criterion, and can refer to fields of all data types within the current table and in any related tables. Result data type: L (logical) Applications: Identify exceptions, possible indicators of fraud, and outliers. Drill-down into current table through graph output from Classify, Stratify, and Age. Document number of exceptions in the log by running Count while the filter is active. Isolate filtered records in a separate table by using Extract with command filter. Creation point View All commands will be executed against filtered records when a view filter is active. Edit view filter button. Opens the Expression Builder. Quick Filter Based on cell values in the view. Select and right-click cell(s) in view. Resulting view filter can be edited in the Expression Builder. Syntax: The minimum required syntax for any filter is field-operator-string/value. Character: LastName = “Smith” Numeric: Amount > 100000 Date: TransDate <= `20060101` Note the required formatting for each data type. You can combine, group or exclude multiple criteria by using AND, OR, NOT and (). Important: If you are working with a very large number of records (e.g., more than 100,000) you may get a time-out message when imposing a view filter on the data. This type of filter is known as a thin filter as it is looking for a very small number of records in a very large table. To avoid time-outs, you can: Command Executes command against filtered records, after which filter is inactivated. If…button in command dialog. Opens the Expression Builder. Extract the desired records to a separate table with a command filter attached after turning the view filter off. Re-set the Redraw Seconds option to a higher number in the View tab in Tools>>Options. This is not considered a best practice as it is less efficient. Unconditional COMPUTED FIELDS Virtual data based on a formula. Added permanently to table layout when named. Can be based on fields within the current table and in any related tables. Result data types: C, N, D Commands: Commands can be run against computed fields in the same way that they can be run against physical data fields. Edit table layout >> Add a New Expression Conditional © 2007 ACL Services Ltd. ACL, the ACL logo, the ACL logo with the text “Data you can trust. Results you can see.”, and Audit Command Language are trademarks or registered trademarks of ACL Services Ltd. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Page 10 acl.com training@acl.com ACL Expressions Reference: Computed Fields Unconditional Computed Fields Apply the same formula to all records. Click to open expression builder. Final formula appears at right. Field name: Recommend c_ at beginning to indicate that it is computed. Format: Governs how numeric field will be presented in the view. Green check mark: Click to save computed field. Alternate Column Title: Column heading that appears in the view and in reports. Conditional Computed Fields Apply different formulas to different records based on conditions (filters). Default Value: Result if none of the conditions are met. Best practice: Use “Unknown” for character fields to trap instances of possible unrecognized codes. Insert a new condition: Create new condition/value pair using the Expression Builder. Condition/Value pairs: Different result for each condition. ACL tests each record beginning with the first condition; if that condition is not met, it proceeds to the second. The order of the conditions is thus important. © 2007 ACL Services Ltd. ACL, the ACL logo, the ACL logo with the text “Data you can trust. Results you can see.”, and Audit Command Language are trademarks or registered trademarks of ACL Services Ltd. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Page 11 acl.com training@acl.com ACL Expressions Reference: Functions FUNCTIONS Functions are prewritten instructions that perform computations on specified data. Most functions require one or more input parameters. Use them to add power to your filters and computed fields and derive more value from your data. Category Examples Conversion Convert numeric to character and vice-versa. Date Identify day of week, convert to character and vice-versa, automatically use today’s date. Logical Wild-card search, search for multiple matches, isolate range of records, test data pattern for consistency, test for blank entries. Math Absolute value, rounding, modulus, selecting largest/smallest values of a pair. String Data harmonization, isolating components within one field. Other Tag records with record number for tracking, compare values between records (up or down). Computed Field Example Many legacy systems contain name information in one field rather than discrete fields for first, middle, and last names. The challenges are (1) the individual name segments do not always occupy the same bytes in each record; and (2) names may or may not have middle names or initials. Using the SPLIT() function in computed fields, you can parse the name field into its components based on the number of blanks that separate the first, middle and last names within each record as identified by the OCCURS() function: Name Last First Andrew Jacobs Jacobs Andrew Myrtle Eunice O’Donnell O’Donnell Myrtle Middle Eunice Last Name: First Name: Middle Name: SPLIT(Name,” “,OCCURS(ALLTRIM(Name),” “)+1) SPLIT(Name,” ”,1) Default value: SPLIT(Name,” “,OCCURS(ALLTRIM(Name),” “)) Condition: OCCURS(ALLTRIM(Name),” “)=1 Value: “” Filter Example Input validation is the process by which a system tests user inputs for appropriateness before being accepted by a system. Legacy systems tend to have weak input validation, and additional ad hoc testing is often necessary to validate user inputs. One example is an identification number that should follow a consistent pattern and format, such as a social insurance number or a social security number. The MAP() function can be used to test for content and format and will identify any records where that field is not consistent with the requirements. In this example, the required format is Alpha-Number-Slash-Number-Number, such as k3/72. The filter should search for the records where the field does not match the format: ID Number Filter Result a1/22 F b518 T 33/y6 T z4/93 F The filter expression is written as follows: NOT(MAP(ID_Number, “x9/99”)) where x is the universal indicator for an alphabetic character and 9 is the indicator for a numeric character. Run the Count command with this expression as a command filter to document the existence of any exceptions. Run the Extract command with the same command filter to isolate non-compliant records in a separate table. © 2007 ACL Services Ltd. ACL, the ACL logo, the ACL logo with the text “Data you can trust. Results you can see.”, and Audit Command Language are trademarks or registered trademarks of ACL Services Ltd. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Page 12 acl.com training@acl.com ...
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This note was uploaded on 04/11/2010 for the course ACCOUNTING ACC202 taught by Professor Idon'tremember during the Spring '10 term at École Normale Supérieure.

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