Printer Friendly

Auditor's multidimensional knowledge structure and computer performance.

An investigation of how EDP auditors' thought processes affect their work.

Research has explored the ways in which auditors perform internal control reviews and the skills necessary for expert performance. The auditor's "knowledge structure"--the way accounting and auditing knowledge is organized in the auditor's mind--is thought to affect performance through its role in recall. Is it easier, for example, to recall relevant control procedures by thinking about control objectives or by thinking about transaction flows? The current study evaluated whether a control-objective or transaction-flow knowledge structure led to higher performance in the review of internal controls by EDP auditors. EDP auditors, using control reviews and computerized auditing systems, are responsible for evaluating the integrity of data processed by computers. They support financial auditors, who have primary responsibility for the audit of financial statements.

In the current study, researchers found that EDP auditors' knowledge structure of transaction flows and control objectives was positively associated with their performance in evaluating internal control weaknesses and potential financial statement errors. Experienced EDP auditors tended to use transaction flow as the dominant knowledge structure; in contrast, prior studies had found financial auditors employed control objectives as their dominant knowledge structure. Thus, despite common training programs and audit decision tools, it appears EDP auditors' strategic outlook diverges from that of financial auditors.

The researchers also found an EDP auditor's educational background could influence the strength of knowledge structures: EDP auditors with more traditional accounting education exhibited enhanced control-objective structure while auditors with greater computer training showed enhanced transaction flow structure. This finding suggests that, again, despite common training, an EDP auditor's educational background and experience have a continuous effect on his or her job focus. The findings also highlighted the importance of having firms include both internal control objectives and transaction flows (such as checklists) in auditor training materials.

For the full text, see Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory, Fall 2000, vol. 19, no. 2.

This series, which began in the September 2000 issue of the JofA, is based on work published in Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory. The intent is to bridge the gap between researchers and practitioners by offering concise practice summaries of cutting-edge research in the field of auditing.

MARY B. CURTIS, PhD, is an assistant professor at the University of North Texas, Denton, Texas. Her e-mail address is curtism@unt.edu. RALPH E. VIATOR, PhD, is associate professor at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas. His e-mail address is rviator@ba.ttu.edu.
COPYRIGHT 2001 American Institute of CPA's
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:how Electronic Data Processing auditors' thought processes affect their work.
Author:Viator, Ralph E.
Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2001
Words:413
Previous Article:Why employees commit fraud.
Next Article:Analytical procedures and audit planning decisions.
Topics:


Related Articles
Statement on auditing standards no. 70.
How objective are outside auditors?
The auditor change process.
Who's minding the store?
A framework for auditor independence.
Auditors' new procedures for detecting fraud; ED's proposed changes address fraudulent financial statements.
Auditors' responsibility for fraud detection: SAS no. 99 introduces a new era in auditors' requirements.
Talk it over: open discourse between internal CPAs and external auditors is critical.
Companies sensing a big chill with auditors: the outside auditor-corporate client relationship has changed considerably in the advent of...
IIA chief: Sarbanes-Oxley puts internal auditing 'in the limelight'.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters