ACC621 Assignment, Semester 2, 2019
Technology in Audit Engagements
General information about the assignment
The assignment must be your own individual work; it is not a group assignment. The stated total word count is 1,600 words. However, assignments between 1,400 and 1,800 words in length will be considered acceptable. Your assignment should be submitted electronically via Safe Assignment on the course Blackboard site on or before the due date. If you wish to apply for an extension to your submission date, please email Kirsty Meredith (email@example.com) to explain the circumstances and attach supporting documentation. Late penalties will be applied for assignments submitted after 5pm on the due date without an approved extension. More details on late penalties are provided in the course outline.
You are employed in a small audit firm, as a senior auditor. One of your colleagues, Savannah (an intermediate in your firm who recently helped you to complete preliminary analytical procedures for a client), has contacted you with some concerns: she has heard from a family friend that auditors will become redundant in a few years due to rapid advancements in audit technology. She wants to know how advancements in technology will affect her role in the audit team including the way she communicates with other staff, and how your firm will complete analytical procedures in the future. She has asked you for your personal views on whether auditors will be replaced by automated technology within the foreseeable future.
The firm you work for, like many small firms, currently prepares audit workpapers predominantly in Excel. The firm has an Excel file that includes a standard audit program and workpaper templates for recommended audit procedures. This file is used as the basis for all of the firm’s audit engagements and is customised for each engagement (e.g. sheets are added and deleted as appropriate). The first sheet in the file is titled “Matters for partner attention”; you use this to note concerns that are identified during audits. In addition to communicating via “Matters for partner attention”, you have face-to-face meetings with the audit partner and other members of the audit team as necessary. Despite all staff being based in the same physical office, email communication is the norm in your firm. Phone calls also occur but are infrequent and are principally used when staff are off-site (e.g. when visiting a client).
Your task is to research recent developments in audit technology and prepare an email response to your colleague which covers the points below:
• Briefly explain 3 key technologies that are affecting (or threatening to affect) the audit profession (for example: Audit Support Systems, Blockchain technology, etc.).
• Discuss the “disruptive” potential of these technologies (e.g. how will they change the way auditors operate). As part of your discussion, identify how the technologies can:
o affect communication within the audit team,
o support auditor’s analytical procedures at various stages in the audit, and o reduce the influence of auditor bias in decision-making.
• Comment on whether (and to what extent) you feel these technologies have the potential to replace human auditors.
• Comment on which of these technologies you feel would be most appropriate for your firm to adopt, and why.
Along with your email, you will provide a rationale. This rationale will present evidence to support the comments you have made in the email, including relevant academic journal articles, professional publications, and other sources if necessary. You should consider the credibility of the sources you cite, and acknowledge any significant limitations associated with the sources.
Note: The referencing format should be consistent with USC’s guidelines for Harvard referencing. Both in-text references and a list of references should be included in the rationale. References do not count toward the word count. References (in-text or a list of references) should not be included in the email; instead all sources used for the email should be identified in the rationale. When selecting sources to cite, focus on quality not quantity. Five sources should be sufficient with regard to quantity. With regards to quality, examples of inappropriate sources include Wikipedia, and publications that are not of direct relevance to the topic.
Your submission should include:
• A response to your colleague, formatted as an email (approximately 600 words).
• A rationale to support the email (approximately 1000 words). The rational should be in prose format (i.e. formal essay or report structure is not required). Academic references must be included to support comments made.
Your assignment will be graded based on the criteria below. Please pay due regard to these criteria.
Criteria High Distinction Distinction Credit Pass Fail
Knowledge of digital communication tools/channels to present, share and communicate in a business context
Demonstrates sophisticated knowledge of highly relevant digital tools/ channels for presenting, sharing and communicating in the business context. Comprehensive:
Demonstrates comprehensive knowledge of a range of
tools/channels for presenting, sharing and communicating in the business context. Competent:
Demonstrates sound knowledge of digital communication tools/channels for presenting, sharing and communicating in the business context. Adequate:
Demonstrates adequate knowledge of digital tools that can be used effectively to communicate in the business context. Undeveloped:
Demonstrates little knowledge of the range of digital communication tools/channels
and their potential for presenting, sharing and communicating in the business context.
Knowledge of problem-solving and/or analytical processes in a business context. (20%) Sophisticated:
Sophisticated and insightful application of knowledge of advanced analytical processes in the complex business context. Scholarly:
Highly effective application of knowledge of advanced analytical processes in the business context. Advancing:
Demonstrates good knowledge of analytical processes evidenced through application in the business context. Developing: Evidences adequate knowledge of analytical processes in the business context. Undeveloped:
Demonstrates little or no comprehension of analytical processes in the business context.
Knowledge of the decision-making process. (10%) Innovative:
Demonstrates advanced knowledge of decision making processes and their complexity. Critically evaluates complex issues, priorities and a range of cognitive biases that influence the decision-making process. Comprehensive:
Demonstrates comprehensive knowledge of decision making
processes and their complexity. Evaluates a variety of issues, priorities and cognitive biases that
influence the decision-making process. Advancing: Demonstrates sound knowledge of
processes. Appreciates potential cognitive biases that influence the decisionmaking process. Developing:
Demonstrates adequate knowledge of decision making processes.
Demonstrates little or no knowledge of decision-making processes.
Identification and critical analysis of pertinent issues in a business context. (10%) Rigorous:
Rigorously identifies, prioritises, and justifies highly
pertinent issues in the business context. Uses advanced and relevant discipline-based theory, frameworks and principles to critically and insightfully evaluate these issues. Critical:
Insightfully identifies, prioritises, and justifies pertinent issues in the business context. Uses relevant discipline-based theory, frameworks and principles to critically evaluate these issues. Systematic:
Systematically identifies and prioritises pertinent issues in the business context. Critically analyses and evaluates these issues through application of discipline-based theories, frameworks and principles. Developing:
Identifies and demonstrates developing capacity to critically analyse pertinent issues in the business context using relevant theories and frameworks. Undeveloped:
capacity to identify and critically analyse issues in the business context.
Identification of digital tool/channel for specific business purposes and outcomes
(10%) Best solution:
knowledge of highly appropriate and fit for purpose digital tool and its
functionality to facilitate valued outcomes or transformative and innovative business solutions. Judicious choice:
Demonstrates in-depth knowledge of relevant, fit for purpose digital tool and its functionality for delivering targeted outcomes or effective business solutions. Informed choice:
digital tool that align with specific business purposes and/or outcomes based on knowledge of the functionality of the specific tool selected. Alignment:
Discusses a digital tool that aligns with specific business purposes and/or outcomes. Undeveloped:
Demonstrates little ability to identify appropriate digital tool
and its functionality for delivering specific business purposes/outcomes.
· Demonstrates sophisticated use of digital channel to communicate in a highly effective manner.
· Language choice and tone is highly professional, appropriate and impactful. · Exhibits a sophisticated level of netiquette characterised by courtesy, consideration and respect. Confident:
· Confidently uses digital channel to communicate accurately and professionally. · Language choice and tone is professional, appropriate and effective.
· Exhibits a professional level of courtesy, consideration and
respect in a digital communications context. Competent: · Competently and accurately communicates using digital channel. · Language choice and tone is effective and appropriate.
· Exhibits courtesy, consideration and respect in a digital communications context.
· Uses digital channel to communicate appropriately. · Language choice and tone is appropriate. · Demonstrates basic awareness of the importance of exhibiting an adequate level of courtesy, consideration, respect in a digital communications context. Undeveloped:
· Demonstrates little or no
ability to use digital communication channel to communicate appropriately in the business context. · Demonstrates limited or no awareness of an appreciation of the importance of exhibiting an adequate level of courtesy, consideration, and respect in a digital communications context.
Critical analysis of existing sources of secondary data and literature in the field.
(10%) Sophisticated synthesis: Critically analyses and rigorously synthesises highly relevant and contemporary secondary data and literature relevant to the business context.
Critically analyses and synthesises relevant and current secondary data and literature relevant to the business context.
Identifies and critically analyses credible sources of existing secondary data and literature relevant to the business context.
Identifies sources of information and data relevant to the business context. Evidences developing capacity to critically analysis the information/data. Undeveloped:
Demonstrates limited or no capacity to identify and critically analyse existing sources of secondary data and literature.