Is ACL Analytics Dying?

Spiral deathI fear that ACL Analytics is dying, and has been as long as I’ve been ranting about it.

Making Laurie Schultz their CEO helped, but I don’t think it has been enough.

NOTE: I wrote this well over a month ago, long before I posted the ACL Officially Changes Name & Spots post; I just got sidetracked and forgot about this post. I stumbled across it today in my Drafts folder. I decided to publish it ‘posthumously’ (so to speak) to show 1) how much I’m agonizing over ACL’s direction, 2) how I’ve always felt about ACL’s software, and 3) provide some balance to my previous post.

For the record, I love ACL. Always have.

I mean, really, my account on this blog has ACL suffixed to my name! So ACL and I have been kissing cousins for a loooong time.

No other software is as cheap, as easy to code and understand, as versatile. Also, I haven’t found any other software that is easier or cheaper to automate. And when you need help, ACL support is pretty darn good.

Power BI can’t do everything ACL can do. Other languages can do what ACL does, but they are a lot harder to learn and troubleshoot. And get other auditors to learn.

I wish ACL was faster. I wish ACL would get fixed. I wish ACL had features that other analytic software have.

I just don’t see it happening. ACL is dying, and my boss will eventually pry it out of my reluctant hands. That’s why I’m learning new tools–I’m getting ready.

The saddest part, in my opinion, is that ACL (the company) is either letting it die on purpose, they don’t know any better, or don’t know how to fix it.

That’s why I continue to rant.



Filed under ACL, Audit, Data Analytics, Written by Skyyler

6 responses to “Is ACL Analytics Dying?

  1. John

    I commented on Arbutus in a previous response, and perhaps it is worth noting it was started with a former ACL co founder. Maybe Grant Brodie saw this direction change way back in 2003. Likely not the GRC push specifically, but that not enough effort was being placed on the development of the tool itself.
    I don’t use Arbutus so I cant speak to it, but when this happened it was news in the audit world. I am not sure it will be able to outpace other BI tools but I understand it does have most of the same features as ACL, like the log William brought up in his comment to your last post.
    That was intended as an advert, but more evidence that ACL hasn’t been keeping pace in the dev of the App.


    • John

      ha! “That was intended as an advert,”… typo should have read “That was NOT intended…”!


    • John, I have not used Arbutus either, but it is at the top of the list of analysis programs I want to try if the department moves away from ACL in the future. The similarity to ACL is compelling, especially since we have been rolling out ACL to more users in the department.


      • skyyleracl

        My only concern about Arbutus is the script language is more complicated that ACL’s. It is hard enough to get auditors to learn ACL scripting.


  2. Ryan Feero

    What are some of the new tools you’re learning instead of ACL? I’m a new IT Auditor at my company which just stopped paying for ACL 6 months ago because nobody bothered to learn it. Do you use Python at all or the Pandas library for data analytics?


  3. eb

    You mentioned that Power BI cannot do all of the things ACL can. Do you mind sharing what this functionality is?

    I joined an audit department recently. The dept. had IDEA for a few years. Nobody used it, and no one here now knows it. We have begun to learn & use Power BI, which has no cost to the dept. We are thinking about cutting IDEA, but we wanted to be educated on what the audit-specific analytics tools like IDEA & ACL can do that Power BI can’t before making the decision.



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