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Success Story: Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino

  • Mohegan Sun Calls TeamMate+ “the Heart and Soul” of its Internal Audit Department

    Nestled along the Thames River Valley in southeastern Connecticut, you’ll find the third largest casino in the United States. Built in 1996 on 240 acres of reservation land, Mohegan Sun is owned and operated by the Mohegan Tribe, or Wolf People, as their ancestors were known.

    With 364,000 square feet of gambling space, a 12,000-seat arena, and 130,000 square feet of retail space; Mohegan Sun provides some of New England’s best gaming, dining, hotel accommodations, shopping, live entertainment, and sporting events.

    But, while games of chance are commonplace for a casino, that’s not how The Mohegan Tribe’s internal audit team wanted to operate. With internal auditors located in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Washington; managing disparate databases (including a homegrown SharePoint platform) and manual, paper-based processes made it difficult to ensure a consistent, reliable work product was being produced. Rather than continue to gamble on the quality of their audits, the team sought an automated audit management system. But, it was a decision that was not made lightly.

    “I spent about four years weighing applications, sitting through demonstrations, and talking to various audit shops,” said Grant Houle, Director of Corporate Governance at The Mohegan Tribe. “I heard several stories from other auditors that the solution they selected just turned into a glorified repository. I didn’t want to go that route. I wanted my decision to be very intentional, and if necessary, intentionally slow until I found the right fit.”

    The right fit turned out to be Wolters Kluwer’s TeamMate+ Audit solution, a fully configurable, web-based audit, risk, and compliance platform. TeamMate+ is also hosted by Wolters Kluwer, which Houle says they chose to “ease the burden” on IT with three geographically diverse locations. Similar to their decision-making process, implementation has also been well-planned and methodical.

    “Adoption is key. I like that we can configure the solution to add functionality as our needs evolve,” said Houle. “I want everyone at our three properties comfortable using it day-to-day and we’ll grow from there. Our initial goal was a 20% increase in efficiency gains and we are getting close.”

    Mohegan Sun implemented TeamMate+ with three objectives in mind: efficiency, standardization, and visibility. After a Quality Assurance Review (QAR) revealed diversity they weren’t even aware of within their different locations, establishing systematic and workflow-driven audit processes became a priority. Additionally, as a growing organization with more properties being added, a centralized audit system not only gives Houle visibility into performance but makes the sharing and retrieval of information so much more efficient for both internal and external auditors.

    “TeamMate+ allows us to easily share data and testing results with our 20-person external audit team in about half the time it previously took,” said Houle. “At the start of any audit project, we immediately add our external auditors as an observer group, giving them full visibility into our audit process and making it much simpler to collaborate.”

    As the Mohegan Tribe’s internal audit team slowly integrates more of TeamMate+’s functionality into their daily workflow, Houle has discovered three features that have quickly become invaluable.

    1. Business Contacts. This feature helps the internal audit team electronically connect with auditees for issue management and documentation requests, eliminating the need to send multiple emails back and forth. In addition to providing a better customer experience, business contacts make the internal audit process more efficient and transparent overall.
    2. Perspectives. From the main dashboard, internal auditors can easily view the entire audit or drill-down into customized perspectives, which saves them from searching through multiple folders and documents.
    3. Time Tracking. TeamMate+ ensures that the internal audit team’s efficiency goals are being met. Managing resources and documenting how much time each audit project requires allows Houle to plan the next project that much better.

    Moving forward, Houle is leaving nothing to chance. He says his internal audit team will continue to evolve TeamMate+ to drive efficiency, standardization, and visibility into all facets of their organization. “We’ve developed a roadmap of how we want our internal audit department to operate going forward, and TeamMate+ is at the very heart and soul of what we’ve envisioned,” said Houle.

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