‘Audit Analytics with a View’ investigates how future audit engagements can be executed in a semi-automated way. The ultimate endgame is an audit firm where the auditor can fully devote its energy to exercising expert knowledge.
The auditing profession's core business is to provide reasonable assurance on organizations' financial statements. To this end, loads of information need to be processed. Given the rise in digitally available information, traditional (manual) investigation approaches are making way for approaches that lean on information systems, often categorized under 'audit analytics.' This provides numerous advantages in terms of effectiveness since much more information can be processed. However, this evolution also poses challenges in terms of efficiency. How to deal with the information overload that is suddenly available at our fingertips? Which tools and techniques can we use to improve decision-making? Which accuracy level do these techniques reach and in which context should we rely on automated systems, and when to rely on the auditor's expert knowledge? These and many more questions come to the surface when looking at the added value 'audit analytics' can bring to the auditing profession.
The research line ‘Audit Analytics with a View’ approaches the topic of audit analytics always from a specific perspective that serves as a frame for our studies. The perspective we are experts in is the process perspective. We currently address the suitability of process mining techniques for auditing, the automated classification of process deviations, and the prioritization of these deviations. (research outputs on these topics can be found here)
We also approach audit analytics from a cognitive perspective. This allows us to incorporate the human angle of how people process information. Topics that we address are, amongst others, the cognitive fit between audit tasks and process representations (visual versus textual) and whether auditors rely on support systems if the suggested output is different from what was expected.
The cognitive perspective is closely related to the behavioural perspective. Applying this viewpoint, we aim to learn whether we can discover behavioural patterns in information disclosure or financial transactions. A better understanding of these patterns would assist in fraud detection, an ever-present challenge for the auditor.
Principal Investigator: Prof. dr. Mieke Jans - Ass. prof. @BINF and appointed at Maastricht University
Prof. dr. Ann Vanstraelen (Maastricht University)
Prof. dr. Roger Meuwissen (Maastricht University)
Prof. dr. Kris Hardies (University of Antwerp)
Prof. dr. Jan Mendling (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Prof. dr. Eddy Vaassen (Tilburg University)
Michiel Dierckx (University of Antwerp)
Angelique Koopman (Tilburg University)
Daria Wijler (Maastricht University)
Our research is situated on the nexus between Accounting and Information Systems. To conduct our research, we must be familiar with both the research developments in Information Systems and the auditing context. This characteristic defines the ‘Accounting Information Systems’ (AIS) research field, which we consider as our habitat. By conducting high-quality research and disseminating AIS research matters across discipline boundaries, we gladly take up an ambassador role in the AIS community.
We actively contribute to the AIS research community as a steering committee member of the International Symposium on Accounting Information Systems, organizing the European editions of this symposium. Additionally, we see it as our responsibility to commit time and energy to support quality assurance of the AIS research domain by conducting reviews and taking up associate editorship responsibilities (of IJAIS and JETA, amongst others). On top of this, we run a newsletter on AIS Research Matters to inform all subscribed researchers interested in this topic. With this initiative, we aim to contribute to AIS community building across discipline boundaries.
Our research is to serve the audit profession. Aside from conducting our research studies, we also contribute to the profession through other initiatives. Prof. dr. Mieke Jans is a member of the Data Analytics working group of the institute for auditors in Belgium (Instituut van de Bedrijfsrevisoren - IBR). This working group disseminates knowledge on audit analytics in the form of articles and, more recently, a book. Our research group contributed to the book on new technologies and the audit profession published by the Information Center of Auditors in Belgium (ICCI). Our contribution is focused on the process perspective in auditing and how internal and external auditors could use process mining techniques during the audit.
We communicate our research at conferences, symposia, and through educational lectures. Specifically, we share our knowledge through courses on Audit Analytics in the Post-Master IT-Auditing & Advisory at Erasmus University Rotterdam and the International Executive Master in Finance and Control at Maastricht University.
To reassure that we investigate research problems that are relevant to the auditing profession, we have set up an advisory board of industry experts. From time to time audit experts provide us with specialized domain knowledge, aligned with the ongoing research studies. Reversely, we bring our research results back to the auditing profession by informing our partners annually about our study results.
The following partners are currently a member of our advisory board:
PwC - Belgium
EY - Netherlands
BDO - Netherlands
Additionally, we have ongoing research projects with:
Deloitte - Belgium
Deloitte - Germany
For further questions about our research line or collaborations, you can contact prof. dr. Mieke Jans.