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Business Information Systems

Exploring Continuous Assurance in Practice: Preliminary Insights

Catherine Hardy, The University of Sydney

13th Apr 2011  10:30 am - Darlington Centre, DC Meeting Room 7

The concept of continuous assurance is not new, with a history spanning close to three decades in various guises. Recently there has been renewed attention in the area due to compliance imperatives, trends in governance and risk, anti-fraud measures and technological advances. However significant uncertainty surrounds the practicalities of how continuous assurance may be effectively implemented into an organisation's governance, risk and compliance landscape for auditors and managers. The aim of this paper is to report on the early stages of a case study examining how continuous assurance is being implemented in an Australian wholesale company. Broadly, a practice perspective is adopted, drawing theoretical insights from Actor-Network Theory (ANT), and Power's (2007) concept of 'organised uncertainty' is explored to progress thinking in continuous assurance theory and practice. Findings emerging from the initial phases of this study include the heterogeneous and fluid nature of continuous assurance, a duality of mobility involving system dependencies and audit independence, and the unanticipated usages and politics of information.

Catherine Hardy is a Senior Lecturer in Business Information Systems at the University of Sydney Business School. Her research program is directed towards assisting organisations improve the governance, assurance and protection of their information assets. Drawing from the fields of information systems, audit and assurance and risk management Catherine's research interests focus mainly on the changing and complex relationships between technical innovation, organisational change, governance and risk. Catherine also has a strong commitment to reflexive and case based methodologies.