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Nationwide projects 218% ROI on process mining investment for internal audit

Nationwide was looking for a cost-effective solution that could optimize internal auditing of its travel and expense process. It turned to process mining and Celonis.

"The uplift that we’ve gotten in terms of compliance and efficiencies across the team…has created a really high ROI," said Julia Chappell, VP Accounting & Finance Solutions with Nationwide.

During the Chicago stop on the Celonis World Tour 2023, Chappell explained how the nearly 100-year-old insurance and financial services company is using Celonis to drive operational insights, risk mitigation and stronger controls in Finance, such as in T&E. She was joined on stage by Jason Burchwell, Vice President of Internal Audit, with Nationwide.

Jason Buchwell and Julia Chappell from Nationwide on stage in Chicago during Celonis World Tour 2023

Jason Buchwell and Julia Chappell from Nationwide on stage in Chicago during Celonis World Tour 2023

Prior to implementing Celonis, Nationwide faced several challenges with the internal auditing of its T&E process. First, approximately 87% of audit findings were ultimately cleared upon review. These false positives wasted time and effort. Second, reporting was not customizable or easily digestible. Third, data was refreshed only once per month.

Nationwide wanted a cost-effective tool that could:

  • Identify potential expense issues

  • Help mitigate risk and enhance the control environment

  • Provide value-added insight for leadership to assist in driving policy change, as needed

Process mining is a natural solution for internal audit as it can reduce compliance costs, increase speed, boost efficiency and help achieve higher quality.

“That’s what process mining does,” said Burchwell. “It’s the ability to see what you couldn’t otherwise see.”

For example, a leading technology enterprise with over 20,000 employees worldwide uncovered that for 55% of credit checks the same person was approving the check and crediting the invoice, which was against guidelines. The organization began requiring more than one person to complete an activity, moving toward 0% non-compliant credit checks.

In another example, a telecommunications service provider with over 100,000 employees was able to adjust its purchase order process after discovering more than 1,000 purchasing orders in their system without approval.

Lastly, a global manufacturer used Celonis to reduce the length of its 120 annual internal audit missions by up to two weeks, saving the company more than 4.5 years of time. It also helped the company’s internal auditors go from being the compliance police to valuable business partners.

Buchwell said that eventually every internal audit could start with a process mining exercise. 

Nationwide choose Celonis EMS because it provided:

  • Real-time data feeds via API connectors

  • Completely customizable views

  • Ability to be “business user driven” (with training), which reduce the reliance on IT

  • Ability to take action directly from EMS

Ultimately, Nationwide was able to realize several value opportunities using Celonis, including:

  • The implementation of 10+ dashboard that are currently being used on a daily basis

  • Continuous optimization of automated audit rules as a result of dashboard insights

  • An increase in policy compliance and improved control environment

  • Improved auditor quality assurance and training

  • 2023 ROI of 122%, with a projected out year ROI of up to 218% as new projects are implemented

In closing their presentation, Buchwell and Chappell shared several key takeaways from Nationwide’s Celonis journey. For operational owners, the pair recommended thinking beyond process mining and considering policy compliance, focusing time where it’s really needed and leveraging data to increase associate productivity and accuracy. They suggested that internal auditors consider potential use cases to support audit objectives, leveraging Celonis Academy and other upskilling opportunities and working with internal clients to identify current and future use cases.

More from World Tour 2023

World Tour 2023 features 10 stops around the world including Munich, Milan, San Francisco, Madrid, Amsterdam, Tokyo, New York, London, Paris and Chicago. Each additional stop features Celonis ecosystem partners, customers and process experts from across industries sharing best practices and knowledge.

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Bill Detwiler
Senior Communications Strategist and Editor Celonis Blog

Bill Detwiler is Senior Communications Strategist and Editor of the Celonis blog. He is the former Editor in Chief of TechRepublic, where he hosted the Dynamic Developer podcast and Cracking Open, CNET’s popular online show. Bill is an award-winning journalist, who’s covered the tech industry for more than two decades. Prior his career in the software industry and tech media, he was an IT professional in the social research and energy industries.

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