Continuous Audit: The Motivations, Benefits, Problems, and Challenges Identified by Partners of a Big 4 Accounting Firm
Big Island, HI, USA
Jan. 6, 2003 to Jan. 9, 2003
DeWayne Searcy , University of Miami
Jon Woodroof , University of Tennessee
Bruce Behn , University of Tennessee
Early efforts regarding research on a new area of interest are, by nature, exploratory. Before theoretical models can be built and before meaningful empirical research can be performed, a careful process of identifying the appropriate research questions and problems must be undertaken. This is the current state of research regarding the relatively new area of the continuous audit (CA). Though the concepts of CA have been around for almost a decade, and recent advances have made the technologies both widely available and very affordable, firms have yet to make significant steps toward implementation. Thus, there is a need for exploratory surveys of key audit personnel in charge of providing assurance services for major clients to bring to light the issues regarding technology, people, and processes with which auditors and their audit clients are wrestling. This paper discusses the results of a survey of the U.S. assurance partners of a Big 4 accounting firm.<div></div> The objective of the survey was to get the partners? perceptions and thoughts on the viability of the continuous auditing, the current state of the CA in the audit environment, the impact that CA implementation might have, and the various roadblocks to CA implementation. In addition, various demographic data was collected. So that the open-ended questions of the survey instrument could be systematically categorized and analyzed, and to minimize interpretation bias, QSR NUD-IST? (Nonumerical Unstructured Data-Indexing, Searching, and Theorizing) Version 4 software was used to code responses and capture emergent themes.<div></div> The process we have is good but is designed for the annual audit... We will need the ability to push a button at any point in time and have the system summarize for the engagement team process issues identified to-date that can lead to risk that the financial statements are inaccurate, rather than rely only on a traditional review of workpapers, manual summarizations of issues and follow-up.<div></div> [We need to be able to] use technology to actually audit as opposed to using technology to automate manual auditing procedures.<div></div> These quotes were provided to the authors by Big 4 audit partners who see a future where new information technologies enable more frequent web-based financial reporting and the emergence of the continuous audit (CA). The purpose of this paper is to present the results of this survey, revealing the current state of the CA and the hurdles to overcome in its implementation.
DeWayne Searcy, Jon Woodroof, Bruce Behn, "Continuous Audit: The Motivations, Benefits, Problems, and Challenges Identified by Partners of a Big 4 Accounting Firm", HICSS, 2003, 36th Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences, 36th Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences 2003, pp. 210, doi:10.1109/HICSS.2003.1174565