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Thread Title: Comparison of IDEA and ACL
Created On Tuesday March 21, 2006 5:01 PM
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL
  Comparison of IDEA and ACL


Jessie W


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Tuesday March 21, 2006 5:01 PM

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Our internal audit department is considering IDEA and ACL for analytical data testing.
I would like to hear from internal auditors who have used both products to help us decide which product is superior.
Thanks!

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Crash


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Tuesday March 21, 2006 6:03 PM

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I've used them both. ACL is more common because it was first and had the lion's share of technical capabilities. IDEA came later and had a distinct advantage as it was designed with a GUI interface that was much less 'techie'. IDEA also made better WPs than ACL and it was more Windows oriented. Today I think they are much closer as far as capability and they can be used by new auditors with relative ease. Look for the best price and make sure you understand the support you will get free or have to pay for. They will both nickel and dime you if you let them.

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Do the right things for the right reasons.

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bigkell


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Wednesday March 22, 2006 9:23 AM

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Crash Knows !

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Jessie W


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Wednesday March 22, 2006 5:24 PM

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Crash,
Thanks for your response!
Since you have used both products extensively, do you have a preference?
Jessie W

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bigkell


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Thursday March 23, 2006 9:24 AM

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I've used both -- I like IDEA -- for what it's worth.

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Crash


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Thursday March 23, 2006 7:32 PM

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My two bits are with IDEA as well. It seems to translate better when I have to explain it to the boss man.

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Do the right things for the right reasons.

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bigkell


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Friday March 24, 2006 9:52 AM

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Check out: www.informationactive.com --- I've been using it with EXCEL (they have a nice comparison lising showing their product versus ACL and IDEA. They have a version that can handle 2 BILLION rows. It's pretty slick, and relatively cheap.

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NyallM


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Monday March 27, 2006 6:22 AM

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That's interesting Bigkell.

I and my IT Auditor had a look at Activedata last year and felt it didn't add anything worthwhile that wasn't already dealt with by our use of IDEA and the in-built Excel Auditing Tools.

Where to you find it better than IDEA?



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Nyall

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bigkell


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Monday March 27, 2006 10:29 AM

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$$ for one if you go with the more robust version. If you already use IDEA or ACL -- then I don't think it adds a whole lot of additional value. I was intimating that those on the fence regarding the purchase of their "initial" CAAT tool should consider ActiveData. If Microsoft introduces their expanded version of EXCEL then that might be all you need --- when that is going to occur I have no clue.

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NyallM


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Tuesday March 28, 2006 2:55 AM

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Thanks Bigkell!

That's what I felt but it's nice to know I'm not missing something.


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Nyall

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jennieG


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Wednesday April 05, 2006 10:45 AM

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I didn't know MS was going to produce an expanded Excel. I love Excel pivot tables because it shows data in multiple dimensions (rows, columns, within attributes, etc.). But there are not that many rows at all. I haven't figure out how to normalize. For example, I want to analyze scrap. We have four scrap rates (certain scrap account divided by production costs). For each of these rates, I must analyze accross various time periods. I must also analyze rates for multiple entities.

Lets say that I want to analyze 200 entity's scrap rates accross a year time span. I have four rates times 12 months, times 200 entities, so that makes 9600 records! And that is if I only want to analyze only four rates for one year. Excel just can't do that analysis. But I wish it could so I could show colums of all the entities, and along the rows the time periods. ACL only has columns.

Any suggestions? I heard OLAP or Access may be the way to go. I am unfamiliar with both. (learned Access many years ago in college but haven't used it much since).

I have never used IDEA. I am familiar with ACL. I like how ACL can summarize easily. Sometimes I have issues with extracting records to Excel. I also sometimes have issues if I forget what type of data is a number (ASCII or Numerical) and have had issues with that. I find that I must use ALLTRIM when extracting any text record, so that can take time building queries. I also wonder why you can copy and past data from queries, but not headers! You cannot select headers!


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DFR


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Wednesday May 16, 2007 12:41 PM

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IDEA has a powerful Pivot Table, we have used both either and we found that IDEA has all the functionality of ACL plus some exclusive funtionalities that ACL does not have on the PC Environment. We know companies using the product with more than 50 million records on a notebook without problem. also IDEA has a powerful Web Server (IDEA Server) that can be integrated with the IDEA Client. But most of all the training is shorter as it is fully aligned with Microsoft Windows and Office environments, it is easy to use, easy to learn very intuitive and powerful. We had people that learned ACL and left the product because they forgot how to use it. I suggest you to go to www.caseware-idea.com and ask for a fully operative Demo so you can test and verify it.

Edited: Wednesday May 16, 2007 at 12:41 PM by DFR

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bigkell


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Thursday May 17, 2007 3:32 PM

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Jennie,

Not sure that ACTIVE DATA for EXCEL would work for you, but it has a grouping function that will collect and group anything in the spreadsheet. You define the column(s) you want to group and it collects them and presents a summary.

The vendor might provide you with a full blown demo to use. Ask them.

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planoisdaudit


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Friday May 18, 2007 10:12 AM

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Remember, one of the standards of field evidence is that it has to be credible and valid. Data subject to manipulation, such as an auditor analysis in Excel, has to be validated to source data by cross referencing to the original data source to be considered valid and credible. ACL and IDEA both put the data in a read only environment with the query used to extract the data clearly identified. This saves tons of time on ticking and tying auditor analyticals out to validate that the auditor didn't accidently or purposely manipulate the results.

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Dan
Integrity can be defined as your moral soundness. A test for integrity - Do your actions match your words?

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SDCMO


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Tuesday April 13, 2010 6:50 PM

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Could anyone give an approximate idea of what the costs are for IDEA, ACL, and the other programs discussed here, including software purchase or licenses? We are a small audit shop of less than 5 people.
Thanks!

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julianabk


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Wednesday April 14, 2010 1:17 PM

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Recently I acquired a license of ACL Desktop and cost approximately $ 6,000.00. Maybe you can get a better price for a purchase in larger quantities of licenses. This price includes free support.

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Percy


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Wednesday April 14, 2010 1:51 PM

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Julianabk, is the license limited to the number of users? Also just wondering why you picked ACL than IDEA. We are on the fence right now and leaning towards IDEA.

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SoCalAudit

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julianabk


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Thursday April 15, 2010 8:19 AM

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Percy,

Yes, limited to 1 user only. ACL was my choice because I already knew and worked with the tool. I do not have much contact with Idea. I did not know that the Idea was sold in a separate license, because I always saw companies with large number of licenses purchasing the tool.

Juliana

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GMT22


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Thursday April 15, 2010 3:33 PM

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I have been first IDEA for a very long time, but two recent years I have used ACL, because I was given no other software, because "all of our auditors must shall use same tools". Using ACL after IDEA has been a painful experience, and I am looking forward the day, when I can switch back to IDEA again. When using ACL you go backwards almost in all respects, most in easiness of use. The only thing in whole ACL software that is better than in IDEA is function AT; why isn't that in IDEA?

When working I use much Excel, too. ACL and Excel is terrible combination. Using ODCB drivers was a good thing 15 years ago, not now, but it is only reliable surface between ACL and Excel today. I have lost weeks of time when doing things that were automated in IDEA... resizing columns, because ACL's functions (e.g. join) does not work if fields are not of same lenght ... making indexing to see filtering results ... always to worry about amount of decimals in formulas (in order not to lose accuracy)... to make file description (templates) needed in export from very beginning (when you could just adjust it a bit)...
In ACL you do not have ability to recover files from cycly basket... not drilling functionlity... no wrapping of fields... no several files open in their windows... no editable fields (where to write comments or where to select values)... not so many formats to export data export.. not good work log... no full programming capacity (VBA) ... not even colors on screen... no proper redo functionality...



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GMT22ie24-22

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Mark R. Simmons


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Friday April 16, 2010 10:43 AM

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(Wow, this thread started in 2006.)

I now (2010) have fully functional educational versions of both programs (they came on a CD with the IIARF's "Internal Auditing- Assurance & Consulting Services" (ACL version 9; IDEA version 7). Can't be used for commercial purposes, but great to play with if you like that sort of thing. If you're on the fence, why not get the free demo version of each and go for a spin? The demos limit the amount of data you can analyze, but they allow enough records to give you a good sense of the each program's capabilities.

I too was an early user of ACL and had swtiched to IDEA, but now the programs are very close, as Crash said early in this thread. IMO, for non-techies, IDEA has the edge in general, and does a better job applying and explaining how to use Benford analysis. IDEA is still a bit less expensive, too, IIRC.



Edited: Friday April 16, 2010 at 11:03 AM by Mark R. Simmons

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GMT22


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Friday April 16, 2010 12:25 PM

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The latest version of IDEA is 8, not 7.

I do not understand opinion that "now the programs are very close". My experience is that ACL (9 I use) is undeveloped product, with obsolete logic and annoying features for any advanced user. List of shortages of ACL written above is by no means exhaustive,and it remains unexhaustive in this reply.

I do not understand why even ACL's basic functionality is still as poor as it is. Let's examine screen funtionalities. When you create a virtual field, you have to insert it separately on screen. Changing order of fields on screen (with mouse): seize the field, carry it few steps, repeat many times when fields are many. You cannot delete virtual field if it is on screen: remove first field from the screen, then remove it from definition. When you filter data, index the file, that you can see what you filtered.

ACL is full of oddities that are hard to understand. Did you know e.g. that ACL works not always properly if you start ACL not from menu or clicking shortcut (on desktop) but by clicking ACL project file?

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GMT22ie24-22

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Mark R. Simmons


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Friday April 16, 2010 12:37 PM

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We use the latest commercial version of IDEA (v8) at work. At home I have the educational version that came on the CD with the IIARF textbook, which at the time was version 7 of IDEA. For the average/occasional user, I think ACL v9 and IDEA v8 are now pretty close in the ease of use provided by GUIs, which was not the case for ACL prior to about 2004 (YMMV - and heavy lifters may have a distinct preference for one package over the other). I don't have the time to debate the pros and cons and quirks of each - I have an IA department to run - but I'm sure there are strong supporters of both packages among the forum members. My advice is that people should get the demo of each and decide for themselves which package provides the better features and ease of use in meeting their data analysis needs.

Edited: Friday April 16, 2010 at 1:15 PM by Mark R. Simmons

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planoisdaudit


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Monday April 19, 2010 9:14 AM

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I agree with Mark, there is a lot of similarity between the two. Much of the use of one over product over the other comes often comes down to personal preference. Unfortunately, that may not be a great deciding factor if you have a large or dispersed IA function and your CAE wants standardization.

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Dan
Integrity can be defined as your moral soundness. A test for integrity - Do your actions match your words?

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GMT22


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Monday April 19, 2010 2:37 PM

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I agree that you can do basic things with both. Nobody should, however, overlook how to do things - especially, when using CAATs software in an advanced way and repeatedly, many days a week. At my workplace we are expected to work efficiently. In IDEA user is not burdened with routines that can be automated, but you cannot say same about ACL. Sad thing; nobody seems to believe when I say (like in fairytail): "The King has no cloths on".

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GMT22ie24-22

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DISCUSSIONS > IIA GENERAL DISCUSSION AREA [ REFRESH ]
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