The Futuring Audit: Data Analytics and the International Standards on Auditing

Niclas Michael Klitgaard Olsen & Nanna Reeberg Bendixen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The purpose of this thesis is to determine whether there is a need for an update in the International Framework For Assurance Engagements and the International Standards On Auditing, based on the use of data analytics in the audit process. In continuance of this the thesis will dis- cuss which opportunities the standardsetters have to solve this matter, if the thesis finds a need to update the framework and standards.
The methodological approach in this thesis is based on qualitative data. The research includes primary data in form of interviews with professionals from international accounting firms with practical knowledge of data analytics, the national standardsetter FSR and a professor in auditing from the educational institution Copenhagen Business School. Secondary data are primarily based on comments from the IAASB data analytics project, from different national standardsetters and organizations representing professionals all over the world.
The analysis including the three questions in the problem definition and examines different aspects of the area in data analytics and regulation of the accounting and auditing profession. The analysis includes the construction of the regulatory framework and standards, how they are being developed by IAASB and furthermore it includes the application of data analytics in a few international accounting firms. The practical use, possibilities and limitations of data analytics, are analyzed in regards of the standards, with the purpose of finding possible conflicts and acceptance of data analytics in the standards. Based on these findings several possible solutions to the challenges regarding data analytics are presented.
In the end the thesis concludes that there is no need for an update of the International Framework For Assurance Engagements. However this is not the case regarding the International Standard On Auditing. The standards do not support the use of data analytics, nor do they prohibit it. Furthermore there is an urgent need for practical guidance, requested by the profession.

EducationsMSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages185