Grant Thornton awarded patent for innovative technology in cta.x — an app for rapid, automated controls testing


Patent recognizes firm’s innovations generating reports from structured data


CHICAGO — Grant Thornton LLP has been awarded a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for innovations related to the firm’s controls-test automation app, cta.x. The app helps companies comply with laws and regulations, such as Sarbanes-Oxley, by making it easier for them to rapidly develop, deploy and execute automated internal-controls tests.

Grant Thornton publicly launched cta.x in April 2021 to help companies garner new insights from their internal-compliance efforts and increase the return-on-investment in their controls testing.

“Controls testing is traditionally conducted by a human being assessing evidence and manually analyzing data in a spreadsheet or system for governance, risk and compliance,” said Ethan Rojhani, a partner in the Risk Advisory practice at Grant Thornton. “The cta.x app automates and integrates controls testing by taking existing assurance processes and applying them to the full population of procedures and policies governing controls. It then pipes the data through Grant Thornton’s proprietary logic engine and produces testing results in sophisticated, customizable dashboards.”

Greg Haberer, a senior manager in the Risk Advisory practice at Grant Thornton, explains that cta.x “adds intelligent automation at the front end of the controls-testing process, which increases efficiency and shifts the compliance focus from manual tasks, such as data gathering and manipulation, to higher-value activities like anomaly detection and root-cause analysis.”

“We’re continuing to wed innovation and knowledge in ways that lead the market — and receiving a U.S. patent demonstrates that our formula is working,” says Joseph Brown, Grant Thornton’s national managing partner of Market Innovation and Release Management. “With the cta.x app, our clients can test controls in a novel way that allows for complete population testing as opposed to sampling, and it does so almost instantaneously. This is something the industry has never seen before. In short, the digitization of risk has begun!”

The patent, U.S. Patent No. 11,030,565 — titled “System and Method for Audit Report Generation from Structure Data” — protects and recognizes the firm’s innovations for automated internal-controls tests used in the field of governance, risk and compliance.

The patent describes automated techniques for generating an audit report to determine if certain business processes have been properly performed. Using data from a staging database, Grant Thornton’s reusable library of test control functions quickly and efficiently verifies whether the business processes have been properly performed.

Beyond the current patent, Grant Thornton has patent applications pending for additional innovations related to the cta.x app and the firm’s other new technologies.

The patent award follows a strong showing at the 19th Annual American Business Awards® competition, where Grant Thornton took home five Stevie® Awards for its work in innovation and positive disruption.

For more information about cta.x, visit



About Grant Thornton

“Grant Thornton” is the brand for two professional-services entities: Grant Thornton LLP, a licensed, certified public accounting (CPA) firm that provides audit and assurance services ― and Grant Thornton Advisors LLC (not a licensed CPA firm), which exclusively provides non-attest offerings, including tax and advisory services. With revenues of $2.4 billion for the fiscal year that ended July 31, 2023, and dozens of offices nationwide, Grant Thornton represents a community of more than 9,000 problem solvers, relationship builders, and industry specialists who know that how we serve matters as much as what we do.


Grant Thornton LLP, Grant Thornton Advisors LLC and their respective subsidiaries operate as an alternative practice structure (APS). The APS conforms with applicable laws, regulations and professional standards, including those from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.


Grant Thornton LLP and Grant Thornton Advisors LLC serve as the U.S. member firms of the Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL) network. GTIL and its member firms are not a worldwide partnership and all member firms are separate legal entities. Member firms deliver all services; GTIL does not provide services to clients.




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