Implications of electronic evidence in auditing: the case of Tanzania.

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Date
2002
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
University of Dar es Salaam
Abstract
A fundamental requirement of auditing is to obtain evidence of the validity of the accounting treatment of financial approvals, controls, transactions and balances and to evaluate the potential errors and irregularities in the transactions. The evidence may be made available for auditing purposes in paper-based form, electronic format (e-evidence) or both. The focus of this study was on the audit practice performed within the emerging e-environment and hence the use of electronic evidence, which is associated with more challenges as compared to paper-based evidence. The challenges associated with electronic evidence include: (a) availability and the trust associated with electronic evidence; (b) vulnerability of electronic evidence to intentional alterations; (c) verification of transaction authorization; (d) lack of auditing guidelines on evidential matters in Tanzania; and (e) e-readiness requirement for auditors. This study attempts, through a survey of a sample of 16 auditing firms and 26 other business organisations in Tanzania, to address the above challenges and to establish their implications in the auditing practice in Tanzania. The Mann-Whitney U test with the aid of SPSS Package has been used to analyse the survey data. The results obtained from the analysis show that, although most business organizations have computerized their business operations, audit firms' practice has not adequately changed to cope with the increasing diffusion of e-environment in the financial and accounting profession. Except for the big fours surveyed auditing firms in Tanzania almost all other auditors are still using the same techniques and tools when auditing computer based applications as they used when these were performed manually. The survey results also show that although the accounting operations in most of the surveyed organizations have been computerized, almost all the source documents are still in paper form. This being the case then much of the evidence even in computerized operations is still in paper form. The researcher therefore recommends that the NBAA, educational institutions, auditing firms, business organizations, NGOs and the government make stronger and coordinated efforts to speed up the transformation of a paper-based audit trail to a digital trail and reap the advantages associated with e-evidence as the changes are inevitable.
Description
Keywords
Internal auditing, Data processing, Information technology, Tanzania
Citation
Zaipuna, R. H. (2002). Implications of electronic evidence in auditing: the case of Tanzania. Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (http://41.86.178.3/internetserver3.1.2/detail.aspx?parentpriref=)