Business Information Systems Cluster seminar paper: Micheal Axelsen

15 August, 2014 - 10:30 to 12:00
Room 430 Joyce Ackroyd Blg #37


There is a tension arising from the role of the Information Systems Auditor (ISA) in supporting the financial audit. Budgets for the conduct of financial audits are tight, but the information systems (IS) underpinning the management and production of financial data are increasingly complex. The Financial Auditor (FA) needs the financial IS audit (FISA) to be both efficient (that is, to minimize total audit cost) and effective (that is, to contribute value to the financial audit). The IS audit tasks undertaken are well understood, but the role of the IS auditor in supporting the FA is unclear. The FA needs to know when it is appropriate to engage with the ISA as an expert to support them in forming their audit opinion as well as how to engage with the expert ISA.

This research aims to better explain the ISA’s role in the financial audit. The underlying research question is, ‘What is the role of the ISA in assisting the financial audit, and what key influencers exist that affect the execution of this role?’ The research develops ex ante expectations of the ISA’s role through review of the financial audit and IS audit bodies of literature. These expectations are then examined through extended interviews undertaken with highly experienced public sector auditors at ten audit offices in four countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom).

Prior research has not examined the role of the IS auditor in the financial audit. The primary theoretical contribution of this research is to provide insight into the actual role of the ISA and the key influencers that explain their role in the financial audit. Particularly, the IS audit intensity of the audit office, or the degree to which IS audit is present in the office’s audit activities, affects the role of the ISA across all financial audits. The findings also have implications for audit practitioners in relation to the training of IS auditors and the manner and timing of the ISA’s audit work.

Dr Micheal Axelsen (UQ)

Micheal Axelsen is Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Information Systems, The University of Queensland. Micheal has qualifications in Accounting, Information Systems, and a PhD in Business Information Systems from the University of Queensland. Micheal is a Fellow of CPA Australia and a member of ISACA. From 1998 to 2002, Micheal was a member of the Information Technology & Management Centre of Excellence for CPA Australia, and was Chair of the Centre of Excellence from 2002 to 2009. Micheal was a member of the Board Education Committee at CPA Australia from 2001 to 2005. In Micheal’s professional career, he has previously consulted to clients in information system governance, strategy, and management in his role as Director, Information Systems Consulting at BDO Kendalls.

Micheal’s PhD topic focussed upon Technology Impeded Knowledge Acquisition and Retention. Micheal’s second focus area relates to the practice of IS audit. Micheal has had peer-reviewed papers accepted previously at the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems (PACIS), Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS), and co-authored a book chapter in the Computing Handbook Set: Information Systems and Information Technology (Vol. II).