During our class this past week, we discussed some of the various ways to perform data analysis utilizing ACL. One of those options discussed was that of utilizing scripts. A script is a series of commands functions that are within a file which can be executed by the user. ACL provides a functionality in the program that allows users to run SQL-like commands to manipulate data. In my work experience, I have seen audit professionals utilize both the GUI and script function to perform their data analysis. Therefore, learning both ways can help you decide which method you might prefer.
For those looking to learn how to use scripts to perform data analysis in ACL, I found an interesting function that turns GUI actions into a script. This can be found under the Tools section in the toolbar and is called Create Script From Table History. I will demonstrate how to use the function below, but I think this is a nice tool for those who want to learn how to utilize scripts since it identifies how the command lines correlate with how data analysis is performed with the GUI. While this is something that we might learn later in the course, I thought it might help other students who want to starting increasing this skillset.
Below, I will demonstrate how to convert ACL GUI actions into a script using Question , Chapter 4 from Lab 2.
Step 1: Open up the table you extracted in order to complete Question 1 from Lab 2.
Step 2: With the table open, click TOOLS on the top toolbar.
Step 3: Under TOOLS, click CREATE SCRIPT FROM TABLE HISTORY.
Step 4: When it prompts you if you still want to continue, Click YES
Step 5: Enter a name for the script to be saved as. To help with organization, it might be wise to label the script name with an “s_” in front of the name. Then click OK
Step 6: Verify that the script showed up on the left navigator toolbar. Scripts will have a parchment symbol next to the name.
Step 7: Double click on the script to open it. Here you have the command functions to analyze the data. After reviewing the script, click the PLAY button to run the script. A prompt might come up to overwrite a file. You can either click yes, or go back to the script and change the file name that you want the new table to export to. This can be done by changing the file name after “TO” in the second command line.
Step 8: Double click the output and review. This should be the same table as when you performed the data extraction utilizing the GUI.
I hope this helped those students who are looking to learn ACL’s script functionality. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to put screenshots into this blogpost. If you would like the screenshots on how to perform this function feel free to email me. Also if you have any questions or suggestions on how I can make the demonstration more coherent, please let me know.