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Title: The use of CAATS by the big four audit firms in the audit of public interest entities
Authors: Schembri, Andrew
Keywords: Auditing -- Data processing
Auditing -- Malta
Issue Date: 2011
Abstract: Purpose The overall purpose of this study, the like of which was never attempted by Maltese accountancy students, is to investigate the application of Computer-Assisted Audit Techniques (CAATs) in Maltese audits by the Big Four audit firms. Specifically, the purpose of this study is twofold. Firstly, to assess those factors affecting the successful application of CAATs. Secondly, to analyse, whether, and how, CAATs can be effectively applied so as to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Maltese audits. Design This study is focused on how CAATs are used by the Big Four audit firms. Consequently, to gather the empirical data, semi-structured interviews were carried out with experienced IT auditors (at Manager or Senior Manager Level) representing each Big Four firm. The interviewees were chosen based on their extensive expertise in the research area. Findings The study shows that the Maltese Big Four audit firms are investing a considerable amount of resources so as to keep abreast with the modern automated Accounting Information Systems (AIS) that clients use. The study confirms that, in general, CAATs are being effectively applied throughout the audit process. However, factors such as the costs to design and use CAATs and the client's low receptiveness to the application of specific techniques may still reduce the maximum benefits attainable through the use of CAATs. ii Conclusion The study concludes that, through the effective application of CAATs, Maltese Big Four audit firms are able to improve the quality of work performed. By applying CAATs, the lead time of audits is reduced as audit tests are carried out more efficiently. Moreover, through CAATs, auditors are able to obtain a higher level of audit comfort by testing application controls integrated in and benefits of using CAATs in the external audit process. Eventually, in light of the current pressures on the audit profession, this study may serve to local auditors as a forethought regarding to how the quality of the audit process can be continuously improved so as to meet increasing public expectations. Furthermore, the related areas for further research identified by the researcher highlight facets of CAATs that are still to be delved into.
Description: B.ACCTY.(HONS)
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacEma - 2011
Dissertations - FacEMAAcc - 2011

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