Bringing an IT specialist into the audit process : A decision model for small audit firms
Abstract (Summary)The purpose of this thesis is to develop a decision model for how small audit firms should decide to bring an external IT specialist into the audit process. This model primarily aims to help identify those characteristics of IT in a client company that is being audited that a financial auditor should consider in this decision.This decision model is our proposed solution to a problem that we have identified through previous research; that financial auditors may not have an understanding of risks related to IT and hence infrequently bring an IT specialist into the audit process. The extent of the decision model is limited to small audit firms, because they are the ones requiring external IT specialist while larger audit firms today usually have internal IT specialists.To fulfil the purpose we conducted a qualitative study consisting of an expert study and a user study which identified and classified criteria to include in the decision model. The expert study included two interviews with Certified Information Systems Auditors while the user study included two financial auditors working at small auditing firms. In addition a model validation was conducted with the help of the financial auditors from the user study.The presented decision model has its starting point in the identification of a client company’s most critical process and how this process is affected by the IT in the client company. The expert study showed that the dependency on IT is crucial during an IT audit. The user study instead indicated that the primary criteria when assessing small client com-panies are the presence of software which have been created or adapted for the purpose of the client company. Other criteria that were included in the model were audit trails, access, routines and transaction intensity.The three empirical steps of our research process; the expert study, the user study and the model validation, indicated that all relevant criteria are included in the decision model and that it is useful. Our conclusion is that the decision model may increase the use of IT specialists through the identification of those questions that should be asked in a decision to bring an IT specialist into the audit process and through increasing the awareness of the limits of the users IT knowledge and the risks associated with IT.
School:Högskolan i Jönköping
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:audit it specialist
Date of Publication:07/04/2005