The Impact of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System on the Cost and Price of Auditing Auditor s Perspective

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1 Journal of Modern Accounting and Auditing, ISSN April 2013, Vol. 9, No. 4, D DAVID PUBLISHING The Impact of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System on the Cost and Price of Auditing Auditor s Perspective Murat Azaltun, İrem Batibay, İlker Calayoğlu, Hüseyin Mert, Hakan Taştan Okan University, Istanbul, Turkey Technology plays a key role in today s business environment. Many companies greatly rely on computers and software to provide accurate information to effectively manage their business processes. It is becoming increasingly necessary for all businesses to incorporate information technology solutions to operate successfully. One way for many corporations to adopt information technology (IT) on a large scale is by installing enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to accomplish their business transactions and data-processing needs. ERP systems are software packages that enable the integration of business processes throughout an organization. This study aims to determine the effect of the ERP system on the cost of auditing period compared with traditional computerized (non-erp) systems. According to cost analysis, the study also points out the changes in audit price. The methodology used in this research is survey-based data collection. The questionnaires are sent to auditors who are working with companies with ERP systems. The answers are processed and analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) 20. The data are performed using the statistical test to determine the effect of ERP usage on the cost of auditing process and pricing policy of auditors. The findings of this study are: (1) Companies with ERP systems are reducing their auditing costs; and (2) Auditing companies are not implying a low rate of price to their customers using ERP. Keywords: enterprise resource planning (ERP), audit cost, audit price Introduction Databases and online systems have dramatically changed the way businesses transact and keep the records. The database-supported online systems enable entrepreneurs to conduct their businesses electronically, leading to greater efficiency in information processing and production and sales operations. With databases and online real-time processing systems, business can retrieve, classify, and report activities far more quickly (Amer, Bailey, & De, 1987; Orman, 2001; Date, 1995; Alles, Kogan, & Vasarhelyi, 2002). Unlike in the past where reports were produced several months after events and transactions took place, businesses today can provide financial statements and other activity reports instantaneously, enhancing their usefulness to investors and stakeholders (Soral & Jain, 2011). Murat Azaltun, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Accounting and Financial Management, Okan University. İrem Batibay, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Accounting and Financial Management, Okan University. İlker Calayoğlu, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Accounting and Financial Management, Okan University. Hüseyin Mert, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Accounting and Tax Application, Okan University. Hakan Taştan, Ph.D., Department of Accounting and Financial Management, Okan University.

2 498 THE IMPACT OF ERP SYSTEM ON THE COST AND PRICE OF AUDITING While databases and online real-time processing systems provide several advantages, they also introduce control and security concerns about a client s transaction-processing system. Quality of information is very important to auditors. Before they express an opinion about a client s financial reports, auditors must ensure that the information generated through a client s system is reliable (Elliott, 1997; Alles et al., 2002). This requires that the auditors evaluate the adequacy of the controls surrounding a client s information-processing systems and test them for errors and inconsistencies. In a conventional audit, auditors perform such an evaluation and testing only after a client s reporting period has ended and when the audit of financial reports begins. Even then, auditors do not examine 100% of a client s system and select only a sample of transactions and examine them for errors and inconsistencies. Such a limited examination, while being adequate for evaluating simpler processing systems, is not sufficient to evaluate complex processing systems. In complex processing systems, the transaction volume is very high and the transaction-processing systems are generally integrated across functions, e.g., manufacturing, inventory, and record-keeping. Consequently, a single error in processing could affect multiple records, and the high transaction volume would make detection of these errors difficult. Therefore, examining these systems for errors and inconsistencies once during a year or by limited inspection is unlikely to make the auditor confident about the system reliability. These systems demand more frequent inspections and necessitate greater monitoring to be effective. They must be monitored on a continuous basis where the auditor gathers information about a client s system electronically and through embedded monitoring tools and evaluates the system reliability at regular intervals during the year (Groomer & Murthy, 1989; Elliott, 1997; Rezaee, Sharbatoghlie, Elam, & McMickle, 2001). This study develops an analytical methodology to identify the long-run cost of continuous audit of a large database. The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. The next section will be a review on literature about enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and how it affects cost and time of audit. Section 3 describes the research data methodologies developed by the authors to identify the effect of ERP systems on the cost and time of continuous auditing. Section 4 also includes numerical examples to illustrate the reliability of data and cost and time of audit process. Section 5 summarizes the findings. Literature Review The following research works show that a number of studies have been done to identify the impact of ERP on audit process. Soral and Jain s (2011) result of the research suggests that the use of the new technologies will raise the quality of auditing and internal control system in the organizations. They also included that there was a vast scope in researches conducted about the ERP impact on auditing process and internal control in future. Brody and Kearns (2008) found that the dependence on information technology (IT) in business had increased, so they shifted auditor s dependence on substantial evidence to a stress on controls over accounting information systems. Kelechi (2007) found out in his article that ERP systems affected the audit process in an organization. The result indicated that auditors spent more time on control testing after ERP implementation. In his opinion, auditors need to be more knowledgeable so as to better utilize ERP functions in auditing. Brazel and Agoglia (2005) investigated that IT applications, such as the ERP systems, were significantly changing the ways in which companies operated their businesses and auditors performed their duties.

3 THE IMPACT OF ERP SYSTEM ON THE COST AND PRICE OF AUDITING 499 Morris (2011) suggested, according to the results of his test, that ERP-implementing firms were less likely to report internal control weaknesses than a matched control sample of non-erp-implementing firms. He also found that this difference existed for both general (entity-wide) and individual (account-level) controls. Bae and Ashcroft (2004) primarily analyzed major technological and accounting issues involved in the implementation of systems applications and products (SAP) and ERP systems, including information integrity and audit issues. They also concluded that implementation of the ERP systems brought about changes in audit approaches. Yang and Guan (2004) investigated, in their paper, the evolution of United States IT auditing and internal control standards in financial statement audits and discussed their significance for the auditing profession. They also found that the methods and procedures used by auditors for conducting the audits were different in ERP. Musaji (2002) described, in his book entitled Integrated Auditing of ERP Systems, how to conduct an integrated ERP audit. This book covers the ERP systems, their life cycles, and their major components, but the particular attention is paid to the audit role which is the primary focus in succeeding chapters. Bierstaker, Burnaby, and Thibodeau (2001) investigated the current impact of technology on the audit process and the future implications of technological trends for the auditing profession in their article. In this part of review of literature, researchers observed notable changes in audit functions and identified that the ERP implementation showed a resultant increase in audit function usage. As a result, there is a need to further study ERP system s impact on cost and price of audit for a proper understanding. Research Data and Methodology Based on a questionnaire survey, the paper attempts to examine the extent of impact of ERP system on auditing cost and time. The sample is applied to 75 auditors in Turkey. Twelve of the auditors do not have any information about ERP systems, so they are not included in the survey. The empirical research is conducted with a survey questionnaire created through previous literature. The questionnaire consists of 20 questions which mostly deal with the impact of ERP system on cost and risk of auditing. The questionnaires were especially conducted to analyze the effect of ERP system on auditing cost and time. The reliability test, Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO), and Bartlett s test have been used in this survey to test the compliance of factors analyzed. The survey was prepared according to the 5-point Likert scale. Auditors were asked to choose one of the answers: strongly,, neither nor,, and strongly. The numbers from 1 to 5 have been given to the answers, where 1 means strongly and 5 means strongly. Results From the Empirical Study Twenty questionnaires were evaluated in five factors. These factors are effects of using ERP in: (1) reducing cost and risk of audit; (2) effectiveness of internal control; (3) standardization of business process; (4) duration of the audit; and (5) confidence on accounting records. Table 1 shows compliance test s results according to those factors. According to Table 1, the total variance explained is , which can be acknowledged as a significant amount of data to base the authors argument. In order to keep the focus on the main argument, most of the questions were related to the effect of using ERP in reducing cost and risk of audit. The other questions were to support the main subject. According to the overall reliability test of p-value 0.001, the Cronbach s alpha value

4 500 THE IMPACT OF ERP SYSTEM ON THE COST AND PRICE OF AUDITING was Regarding Cronbach s scale of reliability, results can be considered as highly reliable. Factors, yielding a decreasing explanatory degree, will have a decrease on the reliability of test results. As standardization of business process, duration of the audit, and confidence on accounting records stood out as supporting issues, a limited number of questions were directed. Decreasing values can be observed easily according to the rates of KMO and Bartlett s test, indicating the sample size. In general, with an average of 3.99, I statement can be contended as supported. Table 1 Results of Factor Analysis Factor Total variance Reliability KMO and explained statistics Bartlett s test Average Effect of using ERP in reducing cost and risk of audit Effect of using ERP in effectiveness of internal control Effect of using ERP in standardization of business process Effect of using ERP in duration of the audit Effect of using ERP in confidence on accounting records Total factor The main goal of the ERP is to facilitate information sharing and integration across these varying functions and to provide automated solutions to a wide range of business processes. The goal of integration is to use technology to develop process standardization across multiple business units in order to improve efficiency and generate greater returns on capitals (Kalakota & Robinson, 2001). It is assessed that the greatest advantages of the implementation of ERP systems in some firms include the standardization of business processes (Bosilj-Vuksic & Spremic, 2004). Researches show that ERP systems standardize business processes of companies, and as one can see in Figure 1, 83% of the respondents with the question that ERP system standardizes business processes. ERP System Standardizes Business Processes 2% 34% 49% nor 15% Figure 1. ERP system standardization. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) defines internal control as a process designed to provide reasonable assurance that the company s objectives in three areas have been achieved: the reliability of financial reporting, the effectiveness and efficiency of operations, and compliance with laws and regulations. Eisenhardt (1989) provided the theoretical basis for the use of monitoring mechanisms, such as

5 THE IMPACT OF ERP SYSTEM ON THE COST AND PRICE OF AUDITING 501 financial reporting and audits to provide information to the principal about the behavior of the agent. ERP systems facilitate the monitoring process in two ways. First, they enable fast and accurate reporting of financial information to the principal, and more importantly, they include features that facilitate implementation and enforcement of internal controls that are used to ensure the accuracy of financial information being reported. Figure 2 shows that 86% of the respondents with the question that in the case of the same firm size, companies using ERP have more powerful internal control systems than companies that do not. Companies Using ERP Have More Powerful Internal Control Systems 33% 53% nor 14% Figure 2. Internal control system on ERP. The quality of information is very important to auditors. Before they express an opinion about a client s financial reports, auditors must ensure that the information generated through a client s system is reliable. The question in Figure 3 examines that if data received from ERP system have higher reliability. The result of the research shows that 89% of the respondents accept that data received from ERP system have higher reliability. In ERP system, all the data are stored together into one common internal source electronically, which eliminates redundant data entry and integrates the whole process. If any wrong entry occurs in an organization, auditors can do all checking very fast. As the ERP system automatically updates the data throughout the system, transactions can be checked by proper control, cross-field checking, and transaction balancing. Auditors can also retrieve all types of data at different places on a single screen in ERP system, which makes checking fast. Each audit entry records the occurrence of a single audited event. The record includes information such as who did the action, which files were affected, what action was attempted, and where and when the action occurred. Detailed and reachable information about data makes it highly reliable. As one can see in Figure 4, 90% of the respondents with the question that an effective audit program reduces audit time. The overall result indicates that most of respondents feel that the ERP system automatizes the whole process correctly. If the auditors have a proper understanding about the ERP system and audit trail, they can do fast auditing. Further, ERP system automatically performs all updating, reporting, and checking of transactions in an organization, which also increases the speed of auditing. Almost all respondents totally that auditors spend less time in data retrieving in the ERP system. In ERP system, every transaction of every function is stored in one common database and used by various modules automatically. Thus, it is concluded that auditing an ERP-implementing company needs less time to access and retrieve information, because all data and transactions are recorded in an electronic form in the ERP system.

6 502 THE IMPACT OF ERP SYSTEM ON THE COST AND PRICE OF AUDITING Data Received From ERP System Have Higher Reliability 33% 56% nor 11% Figure 3. Reliable data from ERP. Effective Audit Program Reduce Audit Time nor 10% 41% 49% Figure 4. Effective audit program. IT-based continuous auditing functionality is a strategy for companies to reach sustainable compliance. Continuous online auditing reduces the time and costs of ongoing audits. Continuous auditing enables a shift from detective to preventive capabilities (Li, Roge, Rydl, & Hughes, 2007). But Figure 5 shows that only 55% of the respondents with the idea that audit costs are reduced in companies using ERP systems. One of the reasons behind this belief is that at the beginning of using ERP system, auditors spend more time in understanding the system and business process and assessing control risk. Overall result has revealed that auditors can do effective, efficient, and fast auditing by using new auditing tools and procedures instead of the traditional procedures. The overall objective and scope of an audit do not change in ERP environment. The research result points out that data received from ERP system are reliable and effective audit can only be done according to the quality of data received. A effective audit program reduces audit time, and it also reduces audit cost. There can be many reasons why a company might need to cut costs, one of which is to reduce prices of products or services. When asking auditors about making discounts on audit prices to companies using ERP (see Figure 6), 16% of the respondents about the idea and 35% are not sure about it. One of the reasons

7 THE IMPACT OF ERP SYSTEM ON THE COST AND PRICE OF AUDITING 503 behind this can be the New Turkish Commercial Code s obligation that every company should have one auditor, meaning that volume of business is so high that auditors do not need to cut off audit prices. Audit Costs Are Reduced in Companies Using ERP 19% Dis 10% 36% nor 35% Figure 5. Audit costs in companies using ERP. Companies Using ERP Gets Higher Discount on Audit Price (Compared With Companies that Do Not) 2% 21% Dis 14% 28% nor 35% Figure 6. Discount on audit price. Another reason can be the high workflow of the auditors, meaning that if the price of audit is low, auditors should work with more companies to have the same income. Also, they have to work even harder to understand different companies business processes. Therefore, the quality of control can decrease, which is not preferred by auditors. Conclusions The audit service of ERP system makes the following possible: recording the events in a network-wide audit trail, detecting misuses or unauthorized activities, reviewing patterns of access and the access histories of individuals and objects, discovering attempts to bypass the protection mechanisms, and discovering extended use of privilege that occurs when a user changes identity. The result of the research suggests that the use of the new technologies will raise the quality of auditing

8 504 THE IMPACT OF ERP SYSTEM ON THE COST AND PRICE OF AUDITING system in the organizations. There is a vast scope in researches conducted about the ERP system and its impact on internal controls. In this research, the authors focused more on the effect of ERP system on auditing time, cost, and price. Auditors should also be properly trained about the ERP system as well as the accounting. For effective and efficient auditing in the ERP environment, auditors should obtain an understanding of the systems, business processes, control environment, risk-response activities, and internal control systems. References Alles, M. G., Kogan, E., & Vasarhelyi, M. A. (2002). Feasibility and economics of continuous assurance, auditing. A Journal of Practice and Theory, 21(1), Amer, T., Bailey, A. D., & De, P. (1987). A review of the computer information systems research related to accounting and auditing. Journal of Information Systems, 2(1), Bae, B., & Ashcroft, P. (2004). Implementation of ERP systems: Accounting and auditing implications. Academy of Management Meeting, Chicago, p. 21. Bierstaker, J. L., Burnaby, P., & Thibodeau, J. (2001). The impact of information technology on the audit process: An assessment of the state of the art and implications for the future. Managerial Auditing Journal, 16(3), Bosilj-Vuksic, V., & Spremic, M. (2004). ERP system implementation and business process change: Case study of a pharmaceutical company. Journal of Computing and Information Technology, 13(1), Brazel, J. F., & Agoglia, C. P. (2005). An examination of auditor planning judgments in a complex AIS environment: The moderating role of auditor AIS expertise (p. 37). Working Paper, North Carolina State University. Brody, R. G., & Kearns, G. (2008). IT audit approaches for enterprise resource planning systems. Proceedings of American Society of Business and Behavioral Sciences (ASBBS), 15(1), Date, C. J. (1995). An ıntroduction to stochastic processes. MA: Addison-Wesley, Reading. Eisenhardt, K. M. (1989). Agency theory: An assessment and review. Academy of Management Review, 14(1), Elliott, R. (1997). Assurance service opportunities: Implications for academica. Accounting Horizons, 11(4), Groomer, S. M., & Murthy, U. S. (1989). Continuous auditing of database applications: An embedded audit module approach. Journal of Information Systems, 3(2), Kalakota, R., & Robinson, M. (2001). E-business 2.0. MA: Addison-Wesley, Reading. Kelechi, N. J. (2007). The impact of ERP system on the audit process. Master of Science Thesis, 114. Li, Y., Roge, J. N., Rydl, L., & Hughes, J. (2007). Achieving Sarbanes-Oxley compliance with XBRL-based ERP and continuous auditing. Issues in Information Systems, 8(2), Morris, J. J. (2011). The impact of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems on the effectiveness of internal controls over financial reporting. Journal of Information Systems, 25(1), Musaji, Y. F. (2002). Integrated auditing of ERP systems (pp ). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. Orman, L. V. (2001). Database audit and control strategies. Information Technology and Management, 2(1), Rezaee, A., Sharbatoghlie, A., Elam, R., & McMickle, P. L. (2001). Continuous auditing: Building automated auditing capability. Auditing, A Journal of Practice and Theory, 21(1), Soral, G., & Jain, M. (2011). Impact of ERP system on auditing and internal control. The International Journal s Research: Journal of Social Sciences and Management, 1(4), Yang, D. C., & Guan, L. (2004). The evolution of IT and internal control standards in financial statement audits: The case of the United States. Managerial Auditing Journal, 19(4),

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