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    Examining the Potential Benefits of Internal Control...
    research summary posted March 9, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 07.0 Internal Control, 08.0 Auditing Procedures – Nature, Timing and Extent, 08.09 Impact of Technology on Audit Procedures 
    Examining the Potential Benefits of Internal Control Monitoring Technology
    Practical Implications:

    This study makes three primary contributions to the accounting and auditing communities of researchers, practitioners, and regulators. First, it is the first study to document economically significant benefits consistent with COSO’s assertions that formal ICM activities enhance the strength of internal control systems and the efficiency of external examinations of such internal control systems. Second, this study contributes to the literature in accounting information systems (AIS) by documenting specific benefits associated with strategically focused information technology. Finally, it enhances the IT-related auditing literature.

    However, there needs to be further research to examine the link between other types of ICM technology and specific outcomes. Similarly, it remains an open question as to how technology impacts other areas of internal control monitoring. COSO asserts the role of monitoring not only aids the financial reporting process, but also ultimately the organization’s overall system of governance, including operational decision-making. Though this study documents benefit-oriented assurance outcomes, the research area remains fruitful with respect to the impact of ICM technology on other audit quality measures.

    For more information on this study, please contact Adi Masli.


    Masli, A., G. F. Peters, V. J. Richardson, and J. M. Sanchez. 2010. Examining the Potential Benefits of Internal Control Monitoring Technology. The Accounting Review 85 (3): 1001-1034. 

    internal control monitoring; material weakness; audit fees; audit delays
    Purpose of the Study:

    The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) asserts that improved ICM practices should enhance the efficiency, effectiveness, and assurance of internal control processes. In January 2009, COSO issued guidance on ICM and observed that firms often struggle with realizing the benefits of ICM-related activities. The purpose of the current study is to examine the potential benefits that firms can realize from implementing ICM technology specifically aimed at monitoring and supporting the effectiveness of their internal control systems.

    Design/Method/ Approach:

    The authors develop and test hypotheses for three explicit potential benefits associated with internal and external assurance outcomes: (1) more effective internal control systems, (2) enhanced audit efficiency, and (3) timely audit reporting. They identify 139 announcements of ICM technology purchases across the time period 2003–2006. The control group consists of all available observations listed in Audit Analytics SOX 404 Internal Controls database during the same periods.


    Consistent with the hypotheses, the study documents positive associations between ICM technology initiatives and subsequently stronger internal controls, enhanced audit efficiency, and timely audit reports. Collectively, the main results suggest that ICM technology yields important benefits in both internal and external assurance outcomes. In some of this research’s tests, the findings suggest transformative-oriented ICM technology initiatives yield greater assurance benefits compared to compliance-oriented ICM initiatives.

    Auditing Procedures - Nature - Timing and Extent, Internal Control
    Impact of Technology on Audit Procedures Confirmation – Process and Evaluation of Responses