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Continuous Auditing
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-413-4

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Book part
Publication date: 8 March 2018

Michael G. Alles, Alexander Kogan and Miklos A. Vasarhelyi

In the almost twenty years since Vasarhelyi and Halper (1991) reported on their pioneering implementation of what has come to be known as Continuous Auditing (CA), the…

Abstract

In the almost twenty years since Vasarhelyi and Halper (1991) reported on their pioneering implementation of what has come to be known as Continuous Auditing (CA), the concept has increasingly moved from theory into practice. A 2006 survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that half of all responding firms use some sort of CA techniques, and the majority of the rest plan to do so in the near future. CA not only has an increasing impact on auditing practice, but is also one of the rare instances in which such a significant change was led by the researchers. In this paper we survey the state of CA after two decades of research into continuous auditing theory and practice, and draw out the lessons learned by us in recent pilot CA projects at two major firms, to examine where this unique partnership between academics and auditors will take CA in the future.

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Continuous Auditing
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-413-4

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Book part
Publication date: 8 March 2018

Miklos A. Vasarhelyi, Michael G. Alles and Alexander Kogan

The advent of new enabling technologies and the surge in corporate scandals has combined to increase the supply, the demand, and the development of enabling technologies…

Abstract

The advent of new enabling technologies and the surge in corporate scandals has combined to increase the supply, the demand, and the development of enabling technologies for a new system of continuous assurance and measurement. This paper positions continuous assurance (CA) as a methodology for the analytic monitoring of corporate business processes, taking advantage of the automation and integration of business processes brought about by information technologies. Continuous analytic monitoring-based assurance will change the objectives, timing, processes, tools, and outcomes of the assurance process.

The objectives of assurance will expand to encompass a wide set of qualitative and quantitative management reports. The nature of this assurance will be closer to supervisory activities and will involve intensive interchange with more of the firm s stakeholders than just its shareholders. The timing of the audit process will be very close to the event, automated, and will conform to the natural life cycle of the underlying business processes. The processes of assurance will change dramatically to being meta-supervisory in nature, intrusive with the potential of process interruption, and focusing on very different forms of evidential matter than the traditional audit. The tools of the audit will expand considerably with the emergence of major forms of new auditing methods relying heavily on an integrated set of automated information technology (IT) and analytical tools. These will include automatic confirmations (confirmatory extranets), control tags (transparent tagging) tools, continuity equations, and time-series cross-sectional analytics. Finally, the outcomes of the continuous assurance process will entail an expanded set of assurances, evergreen opinions, some future assurances, some improvement on control processes (through incorporating CA tests), and some improved data integrity.

A continuous audit is a methodology that enables independent auditors to provide written assurance on a subject matter, for which an entity’s management is responsible, using a series of auditors’ reports issued virtually simultaneously with, or a short period of time after, the occurrence of events underlying the subject matter.

  • CICA/AICPA Research Study on Continuous Auditing (1999)

CICA/AICPA Research Study on Continuous Auditing (1999)

Companies must disclose certain information on a current basis.

  • Corporate and Auditing Accountability, Responsibility, and Transparency (Sarbanes-Oxley) Act (2002)

Corporate and Auditing Accountability, Responsibility, and Transparency (Sarbanes-Oxley) Act (2002)

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Continuous Auditing
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-413-4

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Book part
Publication date: 8 March 2018

Michael Alles, Gerard Brennan, Alexander Kogan and Miklos A. Vasarhelyi

In this paper we report on the approach we have developed and the lessons we have learned in an implementation of the monitoring and control layer for continuous…

Abstract

In this paper we report on the approach we have developed and the lessons we have learned in an implementation of the monitoring and control layer for continuous monitoring of business process controls (CMBPC) in the US internal IT audit department of Siemens Corporation. The architecture developed by us implements a completely independent CMBPC system running on top of Siemens’ own enterprise information system which has read-only interaction with the application tier of the enterprise system. Among our key conclusions is that “formalizability” of audit procedures and audit judgment is grossly underestimated. Additionally, while cost savings and expedience force the implementation to closely follow the existing and approved internal audit program, a certain level of reengineering of audit processes is inevitable due to the necessity to separate formalizable and non-formalizable parts of the program. Our study identifies the management of audit alarms and the prevention of the alarm floods as critical tasks in the CMBPC implementation process. We develop an approach to solving these problems utilizing the hierarchical structure of alarms and the role-based approach to assigning alarm destinations. We also discuss the content of the audit trail of CMBPC.

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Article
Publication date: 2 February 2015

Ting Sun, Michael Alles and Miklos A. Vasarhelyi

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…

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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”.

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Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1998

Michael Alles, Srikant Datar and Mahendra Gupta

Explains that a common problem of cost control at design stage is the firm’s (manager’s) desire for the lowest cost compatible with supporting innovation and the…

Abstract

Explains that a common problem of cost control at design stage is the firm’s (manager’s) desire for the lowest cost compatible with supporting innovation and the designer’s preference for the optimal design, which may be unnecessarily sophisticated. Develops a mathematical model to represent this situation, pointing out that the manager is usually unaware of the design alternatives unless they are revealed by the designer, but can use budgetary limits and “load” costs onto certain cost drivers (e.g. number of parts) to influence the designer’s choice and align his/her interests with those of the firm. Suggests that the difference between actual and “loaded” costs is a function of the non‐cost benefits from design choice (e.g. competitive edge) and the degree of information asymmetry between manager and designer. Considers the implications for costing activities and the limitations of the model.

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Managerial Finance, vol. 24 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4358

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Article
Publication date: 17 April 2009

Barbara F.H. Allen

The purpose of this paper is to introduce librarians, faculty, and other interested individuals to contemporary German literature in English translation.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce librarians, faculty, and other interested individuals to contemporary German literature in English translation.

Design/methodology/approach

German‐language authors born in 1950 or later and listed on the Contemporary Living Authors Comprehensive List developed by the German vendor Otto Harrassowitz are searched in OCLC's WorldCat database to determine the existence of English translations. A bio‐bibliographical list is then developed featuring all contemporary German‐language authors who have achieved an English language translation of at least one of their literary works.

Findings

Of the approximately 1,400 writers on Harrassowitz's comprehensive list, a surprisingly large number of almost 80 authors of the younger generation (born in 1950 or later) have been translated into English.

Originality/value

This bio‐bibliography of contemporary German belles lettres (of the younger generation) in English translation is the first of its kind. It can be used by librarians to check their current library holdings and to expand their collections of German literature in English translation.

Details

Collection Building, vol. 28 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0160-4953

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Book part
Publication date: 8 March 2018

Michael G. Alles, Alexander Kogan and Miklos A. Vasarhelyi

Given the growing interest in the topic, both in practice and academia, it is timely and important to examine the concept of continuous assurance (CA) and the possible…

Abstract

Summary

Given the growing interest in the topic, both in practice and academia, it is timely and important to examine the concept of continuous assurance (CA) and the possible paths along which such services will evolve. There has been a tendency to see CA purely from the point of view of its technological enablers. As such, it has virtually been taken for granted that CA will follow as a matter of course. What has been less thought through is the business architecture that must underlie CA. In particular, we show that the key driver of CA is the demand for it. While there may be many economic transactions between the company and its stakeholders that could benefit from the provision of CA, there is no guarantee that CA is either cost effective—the only way of enhancing efficiency—or actually has to be continuous. Other factors that will affect the development of CA are the need for a new infrastructure to pay for it, as well as concerns about the independence of the assurors. We also identify some important research issues.

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Article
Publication date: 2 August 2013

Martin Haran, Peadar Davis, Michael McCord, Terry Grissom and Graeme Newell

The purpose of the paper is to examine the role of securitised real estate within the confines of a multi‐asset investment portfolio and to identify if indeed securitised…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to examine the role of securitised real estate within the confines of a multi‐asset investment portfolio and to identify if indeed securitised real estate can afford investors the desired investment benefits of direct property investment whilst mitigating many of the recognised barriers and risks.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper employs a suite of analytical techniques; lead‐lag correlations are utilised to examine market dynamics between listed and direct real estate markets across jurisdictions. Grainger causality and co‐integration techniques are applied to examine the nature and extent of relationships between investment markets with optimal portfolio analysis utilised to explore the role of securitised real estate and the optimum weighting allocation within the confines of a multi‐asset investment portfolio.

Findings

The findings demonstrated the unresponsive nature of direct real estate markets relative to listed real estate markets – in some jurisdictions the extent of lag can be as much as 12 months. Whilst the research did not identify a Grainger causality relationship between listed and direct property markets across the jurisdictions, co‐integration analysis does infer trend reverting price behaviour in the long run (ten years) between direct and listed real estate markets. Optimal portfolio analysis serves to demonstrate the crucial role of real estate within a multi‐asset portfolio in terms of both mitigating risk and enhancing performance over the ten‐year time series. Indeed, the optimal portfolio analysis highlights the compatibility and complementarity of listed and direct real estate within a multi‐asset investment portfolio.

Originality/value

The question if securitised real estate is a viable proxy for direct property investment is as inconclusive as it is enduring. In contrast to the large embodiment of previous work, this paper adopts an international market perspective depicting the global nature of securitised real estate investment markets whilst also reflecting on the extent of co‐integration between asset classes and across jurisdictions during a period of extreme financial and economic distress.

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Book part
Publication date: 8 March 2018

Abstract

Details

Continuous Auditing
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-413-4

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