Wim Leeuwenkamp Dutch Tax Office, Netherlands

Wim shared his experiences from a pilot project in the audit department of the Ministry of Finance in the Netherlands. He told us about the challenges involved in the construction of event logs in a legacy environment.

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Fireside chat with Wim Leeuwenkamp

As a warm-up for Process Mining Camp 2012, we asked some of the speakers for an up-front interview.

Anne: Can you still remember where and when you first heard about process mining? What exactly caught your attention and fascinated you about the topic?

Wim: Yes, I remember. A few years ago, in 2009, I worked for the Ministry of Finance, as a senior audit manager. I met an auditor from the Ministry of Infrastructure.

She told me about her experience with a process mining pilot for a purchasing process. At that moment, we decided to start a process mining pilot on a small process within the Tax Department of the Ministry of Finance.

Anne: That’s great. So, you got a chance to do a pilot and see for yourself what process mining can do and what it cannot do. Based on that experience, and based on your auditing background, how does process mining compare to typical auditing and query tools?

Wim: In auditing we normally use query tools for statistical sampling or other selective testing procedures. The traditional method of auditing directs auditors to build conclusions based upon a sample of a population, rather than an examination of all available data. Testing of controls is often done in an old-fashioned way: Selective figure checks, sampling, and a low number of cradle-to-grave testing.

Within the audit department, there is still a lot of buzz around the concept of continuous monitoring and continuous auditing. Although the concept exists a few years now already, there are not many showcases of a successful implementation of continuous monitoring or continuous auditing yet. Maybe the concept in itself is promising, but the IT-infrastructures of most organizations are not mature enough to implement the concept at this moment. There is still the question whether the costs outweigh the benefits.

In the audit department we already used tools to analyze data and do the sampling, mostly related to financial audits. Tools that we use are, for example, ACL, IDEA, and SAS. We also use tools to do some testing of controls in IT-auditing.

The use of statistics in auditing is still a trending topic. As of May 2011 the Steering Group Statistical Auditing writes a monthly column for the Accountant.nl. The Steering Group Statistical Auditing is affiliated with the Limperg Institute and aims “to promote the proper (effective and efficient) use of statistical methods and techniques in auditing and related controls on financial statements and reports”. Besides sampling techniques the emphasis is more and more on analyzing the complete data within the organization.

In my opinion the value added by process mining tools is the easy way to find out a lot of issues related to process flow, including checking totals between process steps, separation of duties within a process, authorization issues, the impact of error queues, and so on.

The costs of gathering all the data and the construction of a log-file should be taken into account. In my opinion the most difficult part of a process mining project is gathering the right data from the information systems within the organization.

Perhaps the “old fashioned” way of sampling is cheaper and also gives the required assurance. The “new kind of auditing” by analyzing the process with a process mining tool gives the auditor a complete view on all the weaknesses in a process. The auditor has more detailed information about the quality of the processing of transactions and can give a better advice to improve processes or organizations.

Anne: Thank you for this interesting round-up of the auditing take on process mining, Wim!

Process Mining Camp 2012.

We had a great time at Process Mining Camp 2012, which was held on 4 June in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Catch a flavor of the talks at Process Mining Camp 2012 below!

Process Mining Camp 2012 was organized by Fluxicon and supported by TU Eindhoven, the IEEE Task Force on Process Mining, the Ngi, and the BPM Roundtable. We also want to thank Elham Ramezani and Tijn van der Heijden for their great support.

Why camp?

Process Mining Camp is where professionals gather to learn from seasoned experts. A place where you can meet fellow explorers and exchange ideas and business cards. Old-timers and greenhorns alike, this is where we get down to business and share stories from the frontier at the campfire.

Whether you are an expert or have just recently heard of process mining, here you can meet other people who are just as curious and passionate about process mining as you are. Learn about how others are using process mining, and what they have to tell you.

Christian W. Günther Fluxicon, Netherlands

The Fluxicon co-founder welcomes the campers with a story about process mining in the 19th century and shares some glimpses of our vision for process mining.

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Frank van Geffen Rabobank, Netherlands

Frank is applying and promoting process mining within the Rabobank. He told us about the added value he has found, and also about organizational challenges, like identifying the right people.

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Mieke Jans Deloitte Analytics, Belgium

Mieke has not only a PhD in process mining, but also lots of experience with projects with an auditing focus. At camp, she shared the seven steps she is using in her process mining projects in an audit context.

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Léonard Studer City of Lausanne, Switzerland

Léonard is setting up an internal control system using process mining at the City of Lausanne. He talked about the benefits of process mining in a resource-constrained environment.

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Wim Leeuwenkamp Dutch Tax Office, Netherlands

Wim shared his experiences from a pilot project in the audit department of the Ministry of Finance in the Netherlands. He told us about the challenges involved in the construction of event logs in a legacy environment.

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Bram Vanschoenwinkel AE, Belgium

Bram is one of the process mining veterans. He presented three case studies in payroll accounting, public administration, and postal services, and shared tips, tricks, problems he encountered, and lessons learned.

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Anne Rozinat Fluxicon, Netherlands

Anne showed us how a typical process mining analysis looks like, live on stage. She quickly simplified a complex service refund process data set, cleaned incomplete cases, and tracked down a bottleneck in the forwarding company.

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Wil van der Aalst TU Eindhoven, Netherlands

Wil is an icon in the field of process mining, and he is heading the leading process mining research group at TU Eindhoven. He gave us an exclusive overview about current research from his process mining group.

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