Purpose—This study analyzes the utilization of Big Data and Data Analytics (BDA) in financial auditing, focusing on the process of producing legitimacy around these techniques, the factors fostering or hindering such process, and the action auditors take to legitimate BDA inside and outside the audit community. Design/Methodology/Approach—The analysis bases on semi-structured interviews with partners and senior managers of Italian audit companies. Findings—The BDA's legitimation process is more advanced in the audit professional environment than outside the audit community. The Big Four lead the BDA-driven audit innovation process and BDA is utilized to complement traditional audit procedures. Outside the audit community, the digital maturity of audit clients, the lack of audit standards, and the audit oversight authority’s negative view prevent the full legitimation of BDA. Practical implications—This research highlights factors influencing the utilization of BDA to enhance audit quality. Our results can thus be utilized to enhance the audit strategy and to innovate audit practices by using BDA as a source of adequate audit evidence. Audit regulators and standards setters can also utilize our results to revise the current auditing standards and guidance. Originality/value—This study adds to the literature on digital transformation in auditing by analyzing the legitimation process of a new audit technique. The paper answers the call for more empirical studies on the utilization of BDA in financial auditing by analyzing the application of such techniques in an unexplored operational setting in which auditees are mainly medium-sized enterprises and family-run businesses.

Big Data and Data Analytics in auditing: in search of legitimacy

Federica De Santis
;
Giuseppe D'Onza
2020

Abstract

Purpose—This study analyzes the utilization of Big Data and Data Analytics (BDA) in financial auditing, focusing on the process of producing legitimacy around these techniques, the factors fostering or hindering such process, and the action auditors take to legitimate BDA inside and outside the audit community. Design/Methodology/Approach—The analysis bases on semi-structured interviews with partners and senior managers of Italian audit companies. Findings—The BDA's legitimation process is more advanced in the audit professional environment than outside the audit community. The Big Four lead the BDA-driven audit innovation process and BDA is utilized to complement traditional audit procedures. Outside the audit community, the digital maturity of audit clients, the lack of audit standards, and the audit oversight authority’s negative view prevent the full legitimation of BDA. Practical implications—This research highlights factors influencing the utilization of BDA to enhance audit quality. Our results can thus be utilized to enhance the audit strategy and to innovate audit practices by using BDA as a source of adequate audit evidence. Audit regulators and standards setters can also utilize our results to revise the current auditing standards and guidance. Originality/value—This study adds to the literature on digital transformation in auditing by analyzing the legitimation process of a new audit technique. The paper answers the call for more empirical studies on the utilization of BDA in financial auditing by analyzing the application of such techniques in an unexplored operational setting in which auditees are mainly medium-sized enterprises and family-run businesses.
DE SANTIS, Federica; D'Onza, Giuseppe
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1075716
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