Internal audits in the digital era: opportunities risks and challenges

Petros Lois, George Drogalas, Alkiviadis Karagiorgos, Kostantinos Tsikalakis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Purpose: The aim of this study is to examine continuous auditing in the digital age from the perspective of audit firm employees. It also investigates contemporary factors affecting continuous auditing, as well as the techniques that could be utilised for its implementation. Design/methodology/approach: Internal audit departments of private companies were contacted via email and given a questionnaire developed based on the extant literature. The sample consisted of 105 individuals employed in the largest audit institutions in Greece. Data were analysed using multiple regression. Findings: As expected, technological advances are indispensable for the establishment of an effective digital auditing system. The impact of data protection measures against cyber-attacks as well as employees' skills and training were found to be significant. Particular attention should be given to the preparation and building of virtual auditing teams. Research limitations/implications: The fact that the digital era is still nascent with its final outcomes not yet visible makes it difficult to produce accurate predictions and draw conclusions. Further, there is a need to survey salient stakeholders in other country contexts beyond Greece pursuant of producing generalisable results. Practical implications: The actions taken by companies to ensure cyber security and the formation of virtual teams were found to be highly significant for the implementation of a real-time auditing process. Traditionally, factors such as cost and time play an important role in optimising internal continuous auditing. Technological advancements combined with careful, strategic and case-specific implementation have the potential to enhance the efficacy of older methods. Social implications: The positive propensity of staff to adopt technology and modern techniques illustrates how implementation difficulties can be overcome through the redefinition and scheduling of an organisation's objectives and training of its personnel. Originality/value: Audit firm employees highlighted the protection of personal data, the avoidance of cyber-attacks and training as major continuous internal auditing goals. The results indicate acceptance towards technology and modern techniques, provided companies ensure adequate preparation and staff training conditions.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEuroMed Journal of Business
    DOIs
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2020

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    Keywords

    • Accounting
    • Continuous audit
    • Digitisation
    • Information systems
    • Internal audit
    • Virtual teams

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