Computer Assisted Auditing Tools and Techniques (CAATTs)

Toke Grønlund

Student thesis: Master thesis


This master thesis addresses CAATTs, Computer Assisted Auditing Tools and Techniques. The main question is whether CAATTs can improve the audit efficiency and quality now and in the future. It-systems have become increasingly integrated in the companies, and the amount of transactions has grown exponentially. The requirement of and the expectations of performing an audit of today’s standard has also increased over time. This is further emphasized by the public fraud scandals that each time put auditors’ work in focus. Furthermore there is an increasing focus on the cost effectiveness of audits which also affects the competition. To cope with these developments auditors have to adopt new ways of performing audits, and CAATTS offers ways to do this. Looking at the audit process as a whole, CAATTs needs to be put in the process already early in the planning phase. It is here important to plan meticulously how to use CAATTs and decide which audit goals the analysis covers. ISA standards have also increasingly started to adopt CAATTs as a new way to implement cost effective audits while still delivering strong audit evidence. In this thesis various cases have been analyzed to identify the use of CAATTs with important emphasis on cost efficiency, audit evidence and value for the client. Each case emphasizes the great potential value for the audit by using CAATTs. CAATTs is based on raw data in a holistic way and creates a greater insight for the auditor regarding quality and the increasingly complex it-systems and big data amounts. Some interviews have also been performed with key specialist auditors who know CAATTs well in order to identify their view on CAATTs and the future. These interviews made it clear that there is a lot of potential that has not yet been released by using CAATTs in the audits. The informants provided important examples of cases where CAATTs had helped them put value into the audit. In the future a new audit data standard from AICPA is on its way. This new audit standard defines relevant data extracts for auditors to use with CAATTs and can potentially be supported by the bigger ERP system. This will greatly help mitigating the risk of using current data extraction methods. In addition this has the potential of creating better tools for auditors to start using CAATTs more often.

EducationsMSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages91