The objective of the Data Analytics Working Group (DAWG) is to:
(i) Explore emerging developments in the effective and appropriate use of technology, including data analytics, to enhance audit quality; and
(ii) Explore how the IAASB most effectively can respond to these emerging developments via new or revised International Standards on Auditing or non-authoritative guidance (including Staff publications) and in what timeframe.
Technological change is occurring at a rapid pace, ushering in the capability to capture and communicate data digitally, on an unprecedented scale and almost instantaneously. This has resulted in an increasing focus on data, whether structured or unstructured, and whether generated internally or externally to the entity.
The use of data analytics in the audit of financial statements is at an early stage. Auditors are expanding the areas of use and audit regulators and oversight bodies are just beginning to see the impact of the use of data analytics in the audit through inspection activity. Academic studies of the role that data analytics can play in enhancing audit quality are also underway. Wholesale change to the ISAs at this time is likely to have unintended consequences due to the fast paced nature of the developments with data analytics in the audit of financial statements.
The DAWG will continue:
- To explore and understand how the use of technology and more specifically, data analytics, is able to enhance audit quality (thus retaining the audit’s place in the financial reporting chain and enhancing the reliability of the audit in an increasingly technology driven environment).
- To remain focused on evaluating whether and clearly articulating how innovations in technology enhance audit quality.
- Its dialogue with auditors of all sizes, regulators and audit oversight bodies, preparers, investors, those charged with governance, other relevant stakeholders in the external reporting supply chain and national auditing standard setters to further understand relevant issues and to leverage the work that has been done by others. This dialogue will also help the IAASB to understand how auditors are innovating to meet emerging public interest expectations.
In September 2016 the Data Analytics Working Group released a Working Group Paper, Exploring the Growing Use of Technology in the Audit, with a Focus on Data Analytics.