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Chapter 17

Information Systems Auditing and Assurance

Objectives for Chapter 17

Purpose of an audit and the basic conceptual elements of the audit process Difference between internal and external auditing and the relationship between them How auditing objectives and tests of control are determined by the control structure of the client firm Audit objective and tests of control for each of the nine general control areas Auditing techniques used to verify the effective functioning of application controls Auditing techniques used to perform substantive tests in a CBIS environment

Attestation versus Assurance

an engagement in which a practitioner is engaged to issue, or does issue, a written communication that expresses a conclusion about the reliability of a written assertion that is the responsibility of another party. (SSAE No. 1, AT Sec. 100.01)

professional services that are designed to improve the quality of information, both financial and non-financial, used by decision-makers includes, but is not limited to attestation

Attest and Assurance Services

What is a Financial Audit?

An independent attestation by a professional (CPA) regarding the faithful representation of the financial statements. Three phases of a financial audit:
familiarization with client firm evaluation and testing of internal controls assessment of reliability of financial data

Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS)

External versus Internal Auditing

External auditors represent the interests of third party stakeholders, while internal auditors serve as an independent appraisal function within the organization. Internal auditors often perform tasks which can reduce external audit fees and help to achieve audit efficiency and reduce audit fees.

Elements of an Audit
Systematic procedures are used Evidence is obtained
tests of internal controls substantive tests

Determination of materiality for weaknesses found Prepare audit report & audit opinion

Information Technology (IT) Audit

Since most information systems employ information technology, the IT audit is typically a significant component of all external (financial) and internal audits. IT audits:
focus on the computer-based aspects of an organizations information system assess the proper implementation, operation, and control of computer resources

Phases of an IT Audit

Audit Risk is...

the probability the auditor will issue an unqualified (clean) opinion when in fact the financial statements are materially misstated.

Components of Audit Risk

Inherent risk is associated with the unique characteristics of the business or industry of the client. Control risk is the likelihood that the control structure is flawed because controls are either absent or inadequate to prevent or detect errors in the accounts. Detection risk is the risk that auditors are willing to take that errors not detected or prevented by the control structure will also not be detected by the auditor.

Tests of General Controls

Our primary purposes are to understand: the auditing objectives in each general control area and the nature of the tests that auditors perform to achieve these objectives.

Tests of General Controls

Our discussion is organized around the following :
1.operating system controls
2. data management controls 3. organizational structure controls 4. systems development controls 5. systems maintenance controls 6. computer center security and control 7. Internet and Intranet controls 8. electronic data interchange (EDI) controls 9. personal computer controls

Organizational Structure Internet & Intranet

Operating System

Data Management


& Intranet

Systems Development

EDI Trading Partners

Systems Maintenance

Personal Computers

Computer Center Security

General Control Framework for CBIS Risks

1. General Control Tests

Operating system objective: verify that the security policy and control procedures are rigorous enough to protect the operating system against: hardware failure software efforts destructive acts by employees or hackers virus infection

1. General Control Tests

Operating system (continued) Access controls:
privilege controls password control virus control fault tolerance control

2. General Control Tests

Data management objective:
protect against unauthorized access to or destruction of data & inadequate data backup.

access - encryption, user authorization tables, inference controls and biometric devices are a few examples backup - grandfather-father-son and direct access backup; recovery procedures

3. General Control Tests

Organizational structure objectives: determine whether incompatible functions have been identified and segregated in accordance with the level of potential exposure determine whether segregation is sustained through a working environment that promotes formal relationships between incompatible tasks Controls: review organizational & systems documentation, observe behavior, and review database authority tables

4. General Control Tests

Systems development objectives: ensure that... SDLC activities are applied consistently and in accordance with managements policies the system as originally implemented was free from material errors and fraud the system was judged to be necessary and justified at various checkpoints throughout the SDLC system documentation is sufficiently accurate and complete to facilitate audit and maintenance activities

4. General Control Tests

Systems development (continued) Controls:
systems authorization techniques good development procedures internal audit team participation appropriate testing of system

5. General Control Tests

Systems maintenance objectives: detect unauthorized program maintenance and determine that... maintenance procedures protect applications from unauthorized changes applications are free from material errors program libraries are protected from unauthorized access

5. General Control Tests

Systems maintenance (continued) Controls:
authorization requirements for program maintenance appropriate documentation of changes adequate testing of program changes reconciling program version numbers review programmer authority table test authority table

6. General Control Tests

Computer center objectives: determine that... physical security controls are adequately protect the organization from physical exposures insurance coverage on equipment is adequate to compensate the organization for the destruction of, or damage to, its computer center operator documentation is adequate to deal with routine operations as well as system failures the organizations disaster recovery plan is adequate and feasible

6. General Control Tests

Computer center (continued) Controls:
well-planned physical layout backup and disaster recovery planning review critical application list

7. General Control Tests

Internet & Intranet objectives: determine that communications controls...
can detect and correct messages loss due to equipment failure can prevent and detect illegal access both internally and from the Internet will render useless any data that are successfully captured by a perpetrator are sufficient to preserve the integrity and security of data connected to the network

7. General Control Tests

Internet & Intranet (continued) Controls:
equipment failure: line checks (parity & echo),and backups subversive threats: access controls, encryption of data, and firewalls message control: sequence numbering, authentication, transaction logs, requestresponse polling

8. General Control Tests

EDI objectives: determine that...
all EDI transactions are authorized, validated, and in compliance with organizational policy no unauthorized organizations gain access to data base records authorized trading partners have access only to approved data adequate controls are in place to ensure a complete EDI transactions

8. General Control Tests

EDI (continued) Controls:
sophisticated authorization & validation techniques access controls audit trail modules and controls

9. General Control Tests

Personal computers (PCs) objectives: determine that... adequate supervision and operating procedures exist to compensate for lack of segregation between the duties of users, programmers, and operators access to microcomputers, data files, and program files is restricted to authorized personnel backup procedures are in place to prevent data and program loss from hardware failures systems selection and acquisition procedures produce applications that are high quality, free from errors, and protected from unauthorized changes

9. General Control Tests

PCs (continued) Controls:
increased supervision access & security controls backup controls systems development and maintenance controls systems development and acquisition controls

Computer Applications Controls

Techniques for auditing computer applications fall into two classes: 1) techniques for testing application controls 2) techniques for examining transaction details and account balances substantive testing

Testing Application Controls

Black Box Approach - understanding flowcharts, input procedures, & output results White Box Approach - understanding the internal logic of the application
authenticity (access) tests accuracy tests completeness tests redundancy tests audit trail tests rounding error tests

Auditing Around the Computer The Black Box Approach

White Box Testing Techniques

Test data method: testing for logic or control problems - good for new systems or systems which have undergone recent maintenance
base case system evaluation (BCSE) - using a comprehensive set of test transactions tracing - performs an electronic walkthrough of the applications internal logic

Test Data Methods are not fool-proof

a snapshot - one point in time examination high-cost of developing adequate test data

Auditing through the Computer: The Test Data Technique

White Box Testing Techniques

Integrated test facility (ITF): an automated, on-going technique that enables the auditor to test an applications logic and controls during its normal operation Parallel simulation: auditor writes simulation programs and runs actual transactions of the client through the system

Auditing through the Computer: The ITF Technique

Auditing through the Computer: The Parallel Simulation Technique

Substantive Testing Techniques

Search for unrecorded liabilities Confirm accounts receivable to ensure they are not overstated Determine the correct value of inventory, and ensure they are not overstated Determine the accuracy of accruals for expenses incurred, but not yet received (also revenues if appropriate)

Embedded Audit Module (EAM)

An ongoing module which filters out non-material transactions The chosen, material transactions are used for sampling in substantive tests Requires additional computing resources by the client Hard to maintain in systems with high maintenance

Substantive Testing: EAM

Generalized Audit Software (GAS)

Very popular & widely used Can access data files & perform operations on them:
screen data statistical sampling methods foot & balance format reports compare files and fields recalculate data fields

Substantive Testing: GAS