Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

McCormick, Frank L., 1922-||Avery, Clarence G.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Accountancy


Auditing; Information storage and retrieval systems--Auditing


The advent of the use of computers to maintain financial records has created many problems for auditors. These problems have tended to revolve around the auditor's inability to adhere to the public accounting profession's standards of technical training and proficiency, evaluation of a client's system of internal control, and the procurement of sufficient evidential matter on which the auditor would base his opinion regarding his client's financial statements. In addition to complying with the generally accepted auditing standards established by the profession, auditors also have had to consider public opinion relating to their technical competence. The profession as a whole, in order to maintain and enhance its professional position in society wants to be considered both dynamic and highly qualified in its ability to audit financial records, and express an informed opinion regarding the fairness of presentation of financial statements prepared from these records. An apparent lack of ability to audit in a computer environment would undermine this public confidence if it became known and were allowed to persist. Library research was used to determine the problems created for the auditor by his client's use of a computer to maintain financial records. Also, library research was used to determine the activities of state and national professional organizations in assisting their members in their efforts to gain the required skills for computer auditing. In the personal interviews, representatives of several large public accounting firms were questioned so that it could be determined what efforts had been made by practitioners, in order to rectify the problems previously discussed. This thesis does not consider technical aspects of computers such as programming, systems design or operation of the system. Also, it does not consider the technical aspects of computer auditing such as the preparation of test transactions, the application of generalized computer audit systems or the use of statistical sampling in a computer environment. A final limitation is that the public accounting firms interviewed were restricted to the eight major national firms. The reason for this being, that these firms would have had the greatest opportunity to audit clients using computers, and to develop in-service computer audit training programs for their employees. The development of auditors capable of auditing in a computer environment is taking place on two fronts. In many cases, public accounting firms have taken it upon themselves to train their employees in the skills required for computer auditing. Also, the state and national professional organizations have made extensive efforts to publish literature and conduct workshops for individuals who are not in a position to benefit from the training programs conducted by the larger public accounting firms. From what could be determined from the research for this thesis, all of these efforts have been successful in imparting the necessary skills for computer auditing to the interested individuals in the profession. In addition to simply learning how to audit in a computer environment, the public accounting profession is developing techniques to use the computer to assist them in performing more effective and efficient audits. This concept of auditing "through" the computer is presently being applied on many engagements, and more improved methods are currently being developed and will be applied in the future. In summation, the public accounting profession has risen to the challenges posed by computers, and has in fact used the computer to assist them in their auditing of financial records created by a computer.


Includes bibliographical references.


3, 42 pages




Northern Illinois University

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