This site uses cookies to provide you with a more responsive and personalised service. By using this site you agree to our use of cookies. Please read our cookie notice ( for more information on the cookies we use and how to delete or block them.
The full functionality of our site is not supported on your browser version, or you may have 'compatibility mode' selected. Please turn off compatibility mode, upgrade your browser to at least Internet Explorer 9, or try using another browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

Technology and the Audit of Today and Tomorrow

  • PCAOB (US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board) (dark gray) Image

Apr 25, 2017

On April 25, 2017, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) posted to its website remarks by Board Member Steven B. Harris entitled, "Technology and the Audit of Today and Tomorrow," delivered on April 20, 2017, at the 2017 PCAOB annual meeting with the auditing section of the American Accounting Association.

This event is held annually to exchange ideas, stimulate research, and provide information about the PCAOB for the academic community to use with their students.

In his speech, Mr. Harris mentions that the use of these technological tools and methods raise certain challenges. For example, it is important that the data being used is reliable, complete and accurate. That is true for general ledger data, other financial and operating data, and data from outside the company. Data security and quality control over these tools, whether developed in-house or by vendors, are also factors for firms to consider. And ensuring consistency of approaches across group audits may become difficult if such tools are not readily available to, or used by, affiliate offices.

Lastly, auditors should take care that they are not over relying on data analytics. As powerful as these tools are, or are expected to become, they nonetheless are not substitutes for the auditor's knowledge, judgment, and exercise of professional skepticism.

Some too are concerned that auditors will use these tools to provide additional insight to management about their operations and processes rather than to improve audit quality and investor protection. This is not surprising as a majority of articles note that through new tools for extracting, compiling, and analyzing big data, the auditor is able to provide meaningful value-added services to management.

He is particularly interested in how these new predictive tools will benefit investors and how much of what the auditor learns from these new tools will be made available to investors in a transparent way so as to enable them to make a more informed investment decision.

Review the remarks on the PCOAB's website.

Correction list for hyphenation

These words serve as exceptions. Once entered, they are only hyphenated at the specified hyphenation points. Each word should be on a separate line.