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Continuous auditing in public sector and central banks: a framework to tackle implementation challenges

Salvatore Polizzi (Department of Economics, Business and Statistics, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy)
Enzo Scannella (Department of Economics, Business and Statistics, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy)

Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance

ISSN: 1358-1988

Article publication date: 19 May 2022

Issue publication date: 9 January 2023

756

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to analyse the implementation challenges faced by internal audit departments of public sector organisations and central banks when implementing continuous auditing (CA) systems. CA aims to monitor internal control systems and risk levels on a continuous basis to support the audit process. This study identifies the implementation challenges of CA systems and proposes adequate countermeasures.

Design/methodology/approach

This study employs the design science information system research and the design science research process methodologies to ensure the rigor of this analysis. These research methodologies are adopted to tackle identified organisational problems and propose solutions. This methodological approach consists in the following phases: identification of the problems and motivation; definition of the objectives of the solution; research design and development; evaluation; communication.

Findings

This study detects several implementation challenges for public sector organisations and central banks and proposes adequate solutions. This study finds that these challenges are related to organisations’ complexity, institutional rigidity, potential threats to internal auditors’ independence and the issue of considering CA system as a “real time error correction” mechanism. The solutions involve the development of a business process focussed audit approach to enable internal auditors to analyse CA indicators, and the use of CA systems to support each phase of the audit process.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the scant strand of literature on internal auditing in central banks. Given the exceptional demand for guidance concerning internal auditing in the public sector and in central banks, this paper provides guidelines for these organisations to implement CA systems and to tackle implementation challenges. The analysis allows internal audit departments within central banks to better support their organisations in the achievement of their important regulatory and policy objectives.

Keywords

Citation

Polizzi, S. and Scannella, E. (2023), "Continuous auditing in public sector and central banks: a framework to tackle implementation challenges", Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 40-59. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFRC-02-2022-0011

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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