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Critically Evaluate The Assertion That "Auditing E Business Is No Different From Auditing Any Other Business"

1777 words - 7 pages

Critically evaluate the assertion that "auditing e-business is no different from auditing any other businessFor me to be able to answer the question I must first understand what e-business is and how different it is to traditional business. An e-business is the delivery of information, products/services or payments via telephone line, computer networks or any other means. It is the application of technology towards the automation of e-business transactions and work flows. E-business is also a tool that addresses the desire of firms, consumers and management to cut service costs while improving the quality ofgoods and increasing the spread of service delivery. An e-business can either be totally electronic, for example Yahoo, or can be part traditional and part electronic, like HMV (they have high street stores and an online shop).The framework for an e-business is quite different to a traditional styled business. Firstly they would have their application, which could be many things including home shopping, remote banking, and video on demand. Next e-business must deal with security issues, electronic payment and catalogs. Another part of the framework involves the messaging and information distribution infrastructure; EDI, email, hypertext transfer protocol. Then comes the multimedia content and network publishing infrastructure use by the e-business; HTML, JAVA and world wide web. The final brick in the framework of an e-business is the network infrastructure; this may be telecom, cable TV, wireless or the internet.Other issues, which are relevant for an e-business are to set technical standards for documents, security and network protocols, and also public policy legal and private issues.An e-business possesses many new problems for an auditor to encounter. While the basic principle and procedures underlying the audit of a company carrying out e-business are the same as any other, auditors may need to acquire or buy in specialist skills and knowledge to identify the risks. The auditing Practices Board, in April 2001, issued Bulletin 2001/3 " E-business: Identifying Financial Statement Risks. This categorised the areas of risk where e-commerce could affect financial statements and suggested appropriate steps to be taken by auditors.There are five main concern areas that an e-business may have that will have a significant impact on the audit. Riskier areas include the accounting and internal control systems; the volume, velocity and nature of transactions processed; the taxation, legal and regulatory requirements the entity needs to comply with; the accounting policies chosen by the entity; and consideration of whether the entity is a going concern.A typical model for the audit of a traditional business would involve the audit practice. From this we would have the audit management tool and also methodologies to deal with business. For e-business, the audit management tool would be completely different. I will now look at the major risks involved...

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