Introduction to ACL Course Description
PIA Consulting is registered with the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy as a CPE sponsor. This registration does not
constitute an endorsement by the board as to the quality of our CPE program. State boards of accountancy have final authority
on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit.
Introduction to ACL
Expanded (3-Day) Edition

Course Level:  Beginner

CPE Credits:  24  (3.0 days)

Course Description:

The objective of this comprehensive 3-day “hands-on” course is to acquaint the participant with the primary
features of the ACL software system in order to enable him/her to successfully perform data analysis on various
types of data files.  The ACL environment will be discussed including navigation techniques, creating and
working with ACL projects and views, and the function of the overview window.  Data access methods will be
presented and explained.  Real-world exercises will include the use of the primary ACL data analysis commands
including: Count, Total, Verify, Classify, Stratify, Statistics, Duplicates, Age, Sort, Summarize, Sample, Join and
Export.  Graphing, reporting, record filtering, expression building, and computed fields will also be presented.  In
addition, this expanded edition course will include various topics normally presented in the Intermediate ACL
class.  These topics include static and interactive Scripts; the Merge and Append commands; and, 12 additional
ACL functions not presented in the 2-day course.

Course Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this course, each participant will be able to:
  • Understand the role data analysis software plays in supporting audit activities.
  • Understand and recognize data analysis terminology, as well as common data types, data structures, and
    character sets.
  • Create and manage ACL Projects and Project components.
  • Navigate within the ACL software system in order to utilize ACL commands, functions and other software
  • Utilize ACL commands and functions in order to successfully perform data analysis operations on various
    types of data files.
  • Utilize the reporting and other output features of ACL to generate meaningful reports, charts, graphs,
    and/or output files.
  • Utilize four different ACL commands that are designed to allow the user to simultaneously work with
    multiple data files.
  • Create and utilize basic ACL scripts in order automate various data analysis routines.

Course Balance:

  • Lecture / discussion:    50%
  • In-class applications:    20%
  • Section exercises:        30%

Course Prerequisites:

Participants should have basic computer skills, including at least some experience using applications operating
within the Microsoft Windows operating system.

Who Should Attend:

IS/IT Auditors, Financial and Operational Auditors, Internal/External  Auditors, Analysts, Accounting
Professionals, Investigators, or anyone interested in learning to use the ACL software system.

Other Information:

PIA Consulting will provide comprehensive course manuals containing presentation material, command, function
and other ACL reference material, class exercises, and glossary sections.

Course Outline:
This course is offered as an open-enrollment class and as an on-site class.  For more information or to register
for this course, please
email us at or phone us at (512) 343-2866.
Days 1 and 2
Days 2 and 3
A.  Understanding the Basics
  • Data audit and analysis techniques - What is
  • Understanding common data types and data
  • Strategies for obtaining data.

B.  The ACL Environment
  • Navigating within ACL / ACL Main Menu structure.
  • Creating and working with ACL projects.
  • Creating and managing ACL Views.
  • Working with the Overview.

C.  Accessing Data
  • Data paths and data downloading.
  • Defining data files:
       - Flat Sequential.
       - Delimited.
       - Excel.
       - Print Image / Report.
  • Accessing / downloading ODBC-compliant data.

D.  Analyzing and Understanding Data
  • Using the Verify, Count, Total, and Statistics
  • Using the Sequence, Duplicates, Stratify,
    Classify, & Age commands.
  • Using the Fuzzy Duplicates command.
D.  Analyzing and Understanding Data (cont.)
  • Graphing and reporting in ACL.
  • Filtering records.
  • Building expressions using the ACL Expression
    Builder feature.

E.  Manipulating and Managing Data
  • Using the Extract, Export, Sort, Summarize, and
    Sample commands.
  • Working with basic ACL Functions.
  • Additional ACL functions.

F.  Working with Multiple Data Files
  • Join command.
  • Relate command.
  • Join vs Relate - choosing the correct command.
  • Merge command.
  • Append command.

G.  Scripting Basics
  • Scripts defined.
  • Creating and running static and interactive scripts.

H.  Comprehensive Class Exercise

I.  Course Wrap-up & Discussion