ACC621 Assignment, Semester 2, 2019
Technology in Audit Engagements
General information about the assignment
The assignment must be your own individual work; it is not a group assignment. The stated total
word count is 1,600 words. However, assignments between 1,400 and 1,800 words in length will
be considered acceptable. Your assignment should be submitted electronically via Safe
Assignment on the course Blackboard site on or before the due date. If you wish to apply for an
extension to your submission date, please email Kirsty Meredith ([email protected]) to
explain the circumstances and attach supporting documentation. Late penalties will be applied
for assignments submitted after 5pm on the due date without an approved extension. More
details on late penalties are provided in the course outline.
Background:
You are employed in a small audit firm, as a senior auditor. One of your colleagues, Savannah
(an intermediate in your firm who recently helped you to complete preliminary analytical
procedures for a client), has contacted you with some concerns: she has heard from a family
friend that auditors will become redundant in a few years due to rapid advancements in audit
technology. She wants to know how advancements in technology will affect her role in the
audit team including the way she communicates with other staff, and how your firm will
complete analytical procedures in the future. She has asked you for your personal views on
whether auditors will be replaced by automated technology within the foreseeable future.
The firm you work for, like many small firms, currently prepares audit workpapers
predominantly in Excel. The firm has an Excel file that includes a standard audit program and
workpaper templates for recommended audit procedures. This file is used as the basis for all
of the firm’s audit engagements and is customised for each engagement (e.g. sheets are
added and deleted as appropriate). The first sheet in the file is titled “Matters for partner
attention”; you use this to note concerns that are identified during audits. In addition to
communicating via “Matters for partner attention”, you have face-to-face meetings with the
audit partner and other members of the audit team as necessary. Despite all staff being based
in the same physical office, email communication is the norm in your firm. Phone calls also
occur but are infrequent and are principally used when staff are off-site (e.g. when visiting a
client).
Your task:
Your task is to research recent developments in audit technology and prepare an email
response to your colleague which covers the points below:
• Briefly explain 3 key technologies that are affecting (or threatening to affect) the audit
profession (for example: Audit Support Systems, Blockchain technology, etc.).
• Discuss the “disruptive” potential of these technologies (e.g. how will they change the
way auditors operate). As part of your discussion, identify how the technologies can:
o affect communication within the audit team,
o support auditor’s analytical procedures at various stages in the audit, and
o reduce the influence of auditor bias in decision-making.
• Comment on whether (and to what extent) you feel these technologies have the
potential to replace human auditors.
• Comment on which of these technologies you feel would be most appropriate for your
firm to adopt, and why.
Along with your email, you will provide a rationale. This rationale will present evidence to
support the comments you have made in the email, including relevant academic journal
articles, professional publications, and other sources if necessary. You should consider the
credibility of the sources you cite, and acknowledge any significant limitations associated with
the sources.
Note: The referencing format should be consistent with USC’s guidelines for Harvard referencing. Both
in-text references and a list of references should be included in the rationale. References do not count
toward the word count. References (in-text or a list of references) should not be included in the email;
instead all sources used for the email should be identified in the rationale. When selecting sources to
cite, focus on quality not quantity. Five sources should be sufficient with regard to quantity. With
regards to quality, examples of inappropriate sources include Wikipedia, and publications that are not
of direct relevance to the topic.
Your submission should include:
• A response to your colleague, formatted as an email (approximately 600 words).
• A rationale to support the email (approximately 1000 words). The rational should be
in prose format (i.e. formal essay or report structure is not required). Academic
references must be included to support comments made.
Criteria
Your assignment will be graded based on the criteria below. Please pay due regard to these
criteria.
Criteria High Distinction Distinction Credit Pass Fail
Knowledge of digital
communication
tools/channels to
present, share and
communicate in a
business context
(20%)
Sophisticated:
Demonstrates sophisticated
knowledge of highly relevant
digital tools/ channels for
presenting, sharing and
communicating in the
business context.
Comprehensive:
Demonstrates comprehensive
knowledge of a range of
relevant digital
communication
tools/channels for presenting,
sharing and communicating in
the business context.
Competent:
Demonstrates sound
knowledge of digital
communication
tools/channels for
presenting, sharing and
communicating in the
business context.
Adequate:
Demonstrates adequate
knowledge of digital tools
that can be used effectively
to communicate in the
business context.
Undeveloped:
Demonstrates little knowledge
of the range of digital
communication tools/channels
and their potential for
presenting, sharing and
communicating in the business
context.
Knowledge of
problem-solving
and/or analytical
processes in a
business context.
(20%)
Sophisticated:
Sophisticated and insightful
application of knowledge of
advanced analytical
processes in the complex
business context.
Scholarly:
Highly effective application of
knowledge of advanced
analytical processes in the
business context.
Advancing:
Demonstrates good
knowledge of analytical
processes evidenced
through application in the
business context.
Developing:
Evidences adequate
knowledge of analytical
processes in the business
context.
Undeveloped:
Demonstrates little or no
comprehension of analytical
processes in the business
context.
Knowledge of the
decision-making
process.
(10%)
Innovative:
Demonstrates advanced
knowledge of decision making
processes and their
complexity. Critically
evaluates complex issues,
priorities and a range of
cognitive biases that influence
the decision-making process.
Comprehensive:
Demonstrates comprehensive
knowledge of decision making
processes and their
complexity. Evaluates a
variety of issues, priorities
and cognitive biases that
influence the decision-making
process.
Advancing: Demonstrates
sound knowledge of
decision making
processes. Appreciates
potential cognitive biases
that influence the decisionmaking process.
Developing:
Demonstrates adequate
knowledge of decision
making processes.
Undeveloped:
Demonstrates little or no
knowledge of decision-making
processes.
Identification and
critical analysis of
pertinent issues in a
business context.
(10%)
Rigorous:
Rigorously identifies,
prioritises, and justifies highly
pertinent issues in the
business context. Uses
advanced and relevant
discipline-based theory,
frameworks and principles to
critically and insightfully
evaluate these issues.
Critical:
Insightfully identifies,
prioritises, and justifies
pertinent issues in the
business context. Uses
relevant discipline-based
theory, frameworks and
principles to critically evaluate
these issues.
Systematic:
Systematically identifies
and prioritises pertinent
issues in the business
context. Critically analyses
and evaluates these
issues through application
of discipline-based
theories, frameworks and
principles.
Developing:
Identifies and demonstrates
developing capacity to
critically analyse pertinent
issues in the business
context using relevant
theories and frameworks.
Undeveloped:
Demonstrates inadequate
capacity to identify and critically
analyse issues in the business
context.
Identification of digital
tool/channel for
specific business
purposes and
outcomes
(10%)
Best solution:
Demonstrates comprehensive
knowledge of highly
appropriate and fit for
purpose digital tool and its
functionality to facilitate
valued outcomes or
transformative and innovative
business solutions.
Judicious choice:
Demonstrates in-depth
knowledge of relevant, fit for
purpose digital tool and its
functionality for delivering
targeted outcomes or
effective business solutions.
Informed choice:
Chooses appropriate
digital tool that align with
specific business
purposes and/or outcomes
based on knowledge of
the functionality of the
specific tool selected.
Alignment:
Discusses a digital tool that
aligns with specific business
purposes and/or outcomes.
Undeveloped:
Demonstrates little ability to
identify appropriate digital tool
and its functionality for
delivering specific business
purposes/outcomes.
Communication using
digital tools/channels.
(20%)
Sophisticated:
· Demonstrates sophisticated
use of digital channel to
communicate in a highly
effective manner.
· Language choice and tone
is highly professional,
appropriate and impactful.
· Exhibits a sophisticated
level of netiquette
characterised by courtesy,
consideration and respect.
Confident:
· Confidently uses digital
channel to communicate
accurately and professionally.
· Language choice and tone
is professional, appropriate
and effective.
· Exhibits a professional level
of courtesy, consideration and
respect in a digital
communications context.
Competent:
· Competently and
accurately communicates
using digital channel.
· Language choice and
tone is effective and
appropriate.
· Exhibits courtesy,
consideration and respect
in a digital
communications context.
Adequate:
· Uses digital channel to
communicate appropriately.
· Language choice and tone
is appropriate.
· Demonstrates basic
awareness of the
importance of exhibiting an
adequate level of courtesy,
consideration, respect in a
digital communications
context.
Undeveloped:
· Demonstrates little or no
ability to use digital
communication channel to
communicate appropriately in
the business context.
· Demonstrates limited or no
awareness of an appreciation
of the importance of exhibiting
an adequate level of courtesy,
consideration, and respect in a
digital communications context.
Critical analysis of
existing sources of
secondary data and
literature in the field.
(10%)
Sophisticated synthesis:
Critically analyses and
rigorously synthesises highly
relevant and contemporary
secondary data and literature
relevant to the business
context.
Synthesises:
Critically analyses and
synthesises relevant and
current secondary data and
literature relevant to the
business context.
Advancing:
Identifies and critically
analyses credible sources
of existing secondary data
and literature relevant to
the business context.
Developing:
Identifies sources of
information and data
relevant to the business
context. Evidences
developing capacity to
critically analysis the
information/data.
Undeveloped:
Demonstrates limited or no
capacity to identify and critically
analyse existing sources of
secondary data and literature.

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