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Higher Education Academy Subject Centre for Business Management Accountancy and Finance Teaching Research and Development Grants 2007/08 INTERIM REPORT End of January 2008

Using Computer-Assisted Audit Tools (CAATs) as a teaching tool for audit and IT modules

Grant holder details:Name: Job Title: Department: Institution: Address Tel: Email: Marlene Davies Divisional Head Business school University of Glamorgan Pontypridd CF37 1DL 01443482364 [email protected]

Project Team Members Theo Tryfonas Senior Lecturer Faculty of Advanced Technology, University of Glamorgan 01443 482778 [email protected]

Project overview:This collaborative venture between the Business School and the Faculty of Advanced Technology within the University brings together audit and IT expertise with the objective of developing a module that will be available for programmes delivered within the school and the faculty. The resulting module will feature both audit and IT aspects in terms of data extraction, analysis and interpretation. Learning materials developed in this respect will be demonstrated and made available to the public as a sample of good practice in developing engaging learning resources. The educational objectives of this project intend to:Create a learning environment with a high potential for student engagement due to the realistic data and the case study information incorporated within the IT facility. The technology will enable the student to undertake investigative activities to glen evidence for analysis thereby capitalizing on IT as an investigation tool for audit purposes. Provide a practical and realistic experience in dealing with a data set that is subject to audit testing. Develop a greater understanding of the relation of information technology (IT) and audit, both from a perspective of the use of IT as audit facilitator and of IT being the audited object. Make available this data practical approach to auditing at undergraduate and postgraduate level linked to forensic auditing.

Develop data-oriented analytical skills with the use of state of art computer assisted auditing techniques/tools (CAATs), one of which is the Audit Command Language (ACL). The development and use of such a programme will enable the University of Glamorgan to lead the field in offering a module that incorporates a mechanism for teaching using a commercial audit software package, which is not generally available to students. The development of the data set for use on the ACL software package and making it available to others who teach audit it will provide an additional resource for the BMAF community. The experiences, problems and issues encountered will be shared with the wider community via both conference and published papers. Outline of activities to date:Our ultimate goal is to develop sample data that gives a backdrop to undertake the practical audit application of a commercial audit programme. The University is currently in possession of the state of art audit software Audit Command Language (ACL), fully licensed for deployment in a lab for academic purposes. ACL is for use on case study data analysis and specific tutorial tasks, all of which is the intended outcome of this work. A tutor's handbook will provide guidance for teaching staff into setting learning objectives in relation to the use of ACL or other similar CAAT platforms (e.g. IDEA). This is for data inspection, and guidance for assisting students to complete the practical audit sessions in a simulated work environment directed by a case study. We have therefore identified sources of data that are appropriate to be used in this respect. We have so far accumulated real data from retailing, telecommunications and spares trading and have discussed its appropriate cleansing and decontextualisation from each particular organisation, addressing data protection issues, so that it is appropriate to be used in a classroom. We have subsequently sought expert feedback on the nature of tests that are applicable on the particular data sets in the course of business operations. Feedback has been requested from auditors within retail, a global audit firm and other relevant experts and we are in the process of drafting appropriate, real-like testing procedures based on their input. The use of CAATs in order to deepen the understanding of IT systems for accountants and of data analysis procedures for computer specialists, are all skills much in demand amongst the relevant industry sector (e.g. the major four international auditing/accounting firms and similar organisations). To further understand the educational needs of the sector, we have made the most of attending fraud detection workshops and related events, gaining a further understanding of issues related to the use of audit tools and the needs of auditors and computer specialists in areas of audit assurance, risk assessment and forensic audit. To the best of our knowledge, no other university in the UK has a facility similar to Glamorgan's running a full auditing platform, or offers a taught programme that incorporates in-depth practical use of ACL or a similar CAAT. Information dissemination on how to set up one and prepare for practical, engaging taught sessions

is therefore significant. To this end, we have so far drafted our initial experience in the form of a project overview that could be further expanded to a research article. The overall output and the collective experience of preparing and delivering the materials as part of our modules will produce the final form of the latter, as conference and/or journal papers that will inform the community of the project and its outcomes. We also intend to make available part of the materials in appropriate form (e.g. Excel data) for use by other institutions. Timetable of activities and progress to date:Period Activities Progress

September October '07

Install software. Consider source of data, type of data and case study outline.

November ­ December '07

Collate data and prepare for downloading into software. Prepare paper for conference on experiences to date. Attend appropriate training conference

January `08 ­ February `08

Consider trial run of a mini case study as part of accounting systems module or audit module. Prepare paper for journal and conference on case

The software is installed in a dedicated lab and also its most recent update (released in the meantime) is available in hand. Case studies identified (retailing data and applicable tests, telecom data and applicable tests and trading data and applicable tests). Data has been produced and applicable tests have been designed in consultation with field experts. Project overview drafted in the form of paper. This draft will later incorporate additional data to be morphed further into research publication(s) by the end of the project. Attendance at ACL conference by team member, to further practical know-how on package. Data and tests will be part of tutorials and practical laboratory sessions held in various modules in the current (spring) term. Ongoing


March `08 ­ May '08

Refine data and case study. Peer review student feedback Prepare paper for journal (and conference).

To be completed -"-"-

Anticipated benefit to students and the BMAF community:The project will benefit students on both undergraduate and post graduate level as the student tasks can be tailored to the level of student knowledge and ability. That applies to both accounting and computing subject students. Once the material has been prepared, this will have a shelf life of a number of years and the material itself updated with minor effort if necessary. There is an opportunity here for the BMAF community to capitalise on the experiences gained from developing the module content designed for accounting and IT students. The data will be accessible via a number of tools, including Excel, so that even institutions that do not poses a data analytics software (e.g. ACL, IDEA) will have the ability to utilise it. In addition, if the raw data were in a text or delimited file for example, it would be possible to be imported everywhere. The application of this programme using Excel will build upon the experience of the teaching team in using Excel as an audit tool.


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