Financial statements are not as important to investors as they once were, as technology has changed the way companies create value today. While these changes pose serious threats to the economic viability of auditing, they also create new opportunities for auditors to pursue. Both the American Institute of Certified of Public Accountants and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) Task Force on Assurance Services have identified continuous auditing as a service that should be offered. Continuous auditing is significantly different from an annual financial statement audit. A latest research report produced by the CICA defines a continuous audit as: “a methodology that enables independent auditors to provide written assurance on a subject matter using a series of auditors’ reports issued simultaneously with, or a short period of time after, the occurrence of events underlying the subject matter.” However, continuous auditing would present significant technical hurdles. These technical hurdles could be overcome if certain conditions exist. Computer‐assisted audit tools (CAATs) are one of the conditions that must exist in order to conduct the continuous auditing. CAATs are defined as computer‐assisted tools that permit auditors to increase their productivity, as well as that of the audit function. Therefore, with the real‐time accounting and electronic data interchange popularizing, CAATs are becoming even more necessary. The demand for timely and forward‐looking information hints that the continuous audit will eventually replace the traditional audit report on year‐end results.
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