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Adopting continuous auditing : A cross-sectional comparison between China and the United States

Ting Sun (Department of Accounting & Information System, Rutgers Business School, Newark, New Jersey, USA)
Michael Alles (Department of Accounting & Information Systems, Rutgers Business School, Newark, New Jersey, USA)
Miklos A. Vasarhelyi (Rutgers Accounting Research Center/ Continuous Auditing and Reporting Lab, Rutgers Business School, Rutgers, Newark, New Jersey, USA)

Managerial Auditing Journal

ISSN: 0268-6902

Article publication date: 2 February 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the hurdles, compared with that in the United States, for the implementation of Continuous Auditing in China. As a timely, cost-saving and efficient auditing method, continuous auditing is being increasingly adopted throughout the world. However, while it is increasingly applied in the USA, continuous auditing is still in its infancy in China.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper compares and contrasts China and the USA in three important dimensions that determine the “economic architecture” of assurance: the business environment, the audit profession and technology.

Findings

The authors find that excessive government intervention in business, the lack of competition, independence of auditors, the support from management and the continuous auditing-specific regulations, as well as the technology gap between these two countries, are the main barriers for the implementation of continuous auditing in China.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of this paper provide better understanding of the drivers of continuous auditing adoption in the USA and the barriers toward doing so in China.

Practical implications

The term “continuous auditing” has never been formally introduced until the release of the draft of the Internal Control Audit Guide in 2011.

Originality/value

The paper highlights how technology by itself is not deterministic, but given the extraordinary rise in the Chinese economy in both its size and its sophistication, it has be to assumed that its “leapfrog” into parity if not outright leadership in continuous assurance is still a matter of “when” and not of “if”.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Jim Rooney and two anonymous referees for many helpful comments.

Citation

Sun, T., Alles, M. and Vasarhelyi, M.A. (2015), "Adopting continuous auditing : A cross-sectional comparison between China and the United States", Managerial Auditing Journal, Vol. 30 No. 2, pp. 176-204. https://doi.org/10.1108/MAJ-08-2014-1080

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited