Knowledge base – What are CAATs?

2009-09-01

CAATs are often talked about by auditors – but what they are, how they work, and the benefits they offer are less understood

Computer Assisted Audit Techniques or CAATs can be defined as an auditing method that uses computer software tools to query business data to produce reports that will enhance an audit. CAATs can sometimes be known as CAATTs (Computer Assisted Audit Tools and Techniques) or BEASTs (Beneficial Electronic Audit Support Tools).

CAATs have been used for many years to compliment more traditional audit methods. CAATs tools include ACL (Audit Command Language), IDEA, Excel, Access and SQL Server.

Why use CAATs?

There are many advantages to be gained from using CAATs:

  • Manual audit tasks which previously took many man hours to perform can be done in a fraction of the time using CAATs.
  • In today’s modern commercial world auditors are faced with large volumes of accounting data and are forced to work with limited samples of data when performing audits. CAATs enables the auditor to work with full sets of data which in turn increases the probability of uncovering issues which might have otherwise gone undetected.
  • Auditors are often faced with relying on reports which are limited in detail and not entirely accurate. Using CAATs and ERP system source data enables the auditor to independently create reports which both meet his or her requirements and are a true reflection of the company’s health.
  • The devil is often in the detail (or in this case the data). Probing in data can often reveal very subtle control or process weaknesses that go undetected when using more traditional auditing techniques.
DataConsulting’s CAATs services

DataConsulting’s CAATs expertise dates back to the early 1990s, and is a core service offering. The goal of DataConsulting is to provide audit departments with a CAATs capability that will have a positive impact on the overall performance of the audit function.

Data is an asset that is often undervalued and underused. Through the use of data analysis tools and techniques, we are able to add value to audits by increasing audit efficiency and lowering audit risk.

Areas where we can help are:

  • CAATs outsourcing
    Running of preselected CAATs tests. Tests can be selected from our extensive CAATs test list and where necessary tailored to meet exact requirements. Reports will be supplied directly on completion – either in hard copy, soft copy or via a secure, online portal.
  • Creation of CAATs monitoring environment
    Implementation of pre-selected repeatable CAATs tests to monitor controls and process effectiveness of some or all of your key business cycles. Tests can be selected from our extensive CAATs test list and tailored to meet your exact requirements. CAATs can be developed in a tool of your choice – eg SQL, ACL, IDEA, SAS or as a blend of the Microsoft product suite.
  • Supply of expert CAATs resources
    Strategic placement of CAATs experts during key stages in your audit timetable when CAATs skills are required. Our staff are skilled in all CAATs tools listed above.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009 In: Hot Topics Comments (None)

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