J. Christopher Westland
Information technology plays a pivotal role in financial control and audit: most if not all financial data is now digitally recorded, and dispersed among servers, clouds and networks of computers over which the audited firm has no control. Additionally, firm data – particularly in finance, IT, insurance and medicine – now comprise most of the audited value of the firm. Financial audits are critical mechanisms ensuring the integrity of information systems and the reporting of organizational finances. They help avoid the abuses that led to passage of legislation such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. They help provide assurance that International Accounting Standards are consistently applied in calculating firm value, while controlling asset market bubbles.
Unfortunately, audit effectiveness has rapidly declined over the past decade as auditor skillsets have failed to keep up with advances in information technology.
Information and communications technology lie at the core of commerce today, and are integrated in business processes around the world. The need for information technology control and audit has never been greater, or more complex. An explosion data volume, complexity and breadth has created the challenge of ‘big data.’
This talk presents a broad survey of IT audit, and presents contemporary methods for financial audit analytics for meeting the increasingly stringent needs of audit reporting. A variety of technologies and products have recently come to market to help with this transformation. This talk reviews some of the tools available to enhance audit decision-making by building and strengthen analytical capabilities. It is focused on helping you harness the potential of data analytics to make more informed audit decisions at all levels. Furthermore, predictive analytics can be employed to find and manage audit risk, foresee trends, and to identify problems before they affect the business.
Audit decision-making in today's complex industrial environment requires both art (experience and intuition) and science (analytics). This talk explores leading-edge information management tools to access unstructured, large-volume data on new product and service offerings. It explores audit operating principals and access for Hadoop, Extract-transform-load tools and NoSQL data structures that are open-source – ‘big data’ technologies which give industry powerhouses such as Amazon and Google a competitive edge.
J. Christopher Westland is Professor in the Department of Information & Decision Sciences at the University of Illinois. He holds a BA in Statistics and an MBA in Accounting. He received his PhD in Computers and Information Systems from the University of Michigan. Dr Westland has professional experience in the US as an actuary, certified public accountant and as a consultant in risk and credit scoring in the US, Europe, Latin America and Asia. Dr. Westland has consulted, taught and conducted academic research into the valuation and market structure document and electronic record systems.
Dr Westland is the author of numerous academic papers and of seven books: Financial Auditing wit; Information Technology (Kindle / CreateSpace 2013). Financial Dynamics (Wiley 2003); Valuing Technology (Wiley 2002); Global Electronic Commerce (MIT Press 2000); Global Innovation Management (Palgrave Macmillan 2008); Red Wired: China’s Internet Revolution (Marshall Cavendish, 2010); and Modern Path Analysis & Structural Equation Modeling (Kindle / CreateSpace 2012). He has served on the editorial boards of Management Science, ISR, IJEC, SSRN, and other scholarly journals, and has served on the faculties at the University of Michigan, University of Southern California, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Tsinghua University, Harbin Institute of Technology, China University of Science and Technology, Nanyang Technological University, and other academic institutions. He was conferred the High-level Foreign Expert (1000-Talent Plan / Beihang University) designation by the Chinese government in 2012. Dr Westland has advised on valuation and technology strategy for Microsoft, Intel, Motorola, V-Tech, Aerospace Corporation, IBM, Pacific Bell, and other technology firms.