EUROSAI. Magazine N26 - 2021

EUROSAI 126 Studies and other articles By the second decade of the 21st century, data has evolved out of its traditional format and turned into big data as a result of many factors such as digital processing of the data, increase in data production and transfer speed, diversification of data sources, decrease in data storage costs and acquisition of unstructured data rather than structured data. The developments in data science and growing amounts of data and information not only changed our daily lives but also changed the functioning of institutions. It is clear that traditional control methods have served for years and will continue to do so, but since external audit is a data-oriented and continuous activity, it becomes imperative to revise the audit approach accordingly and to keep up with the rapid developments. The scope of audit does not change but digitization results in radical changes in the techniques used in all audit-related processes, from planning to reporting, and even in the understanding of auditing. An important first step in responding to an everevolving audit environment characterized by the widespread use of increasingly sophisticated information technology is the increased use of computer-assisted data analysis techniques. In the last few years, more and more auditors are embracing these developments because it is important to obtain meaningful information out of constantly growing and diversifying data piles and present them to the right targets. In order to obtain this value, we need to process and interpret the data using appropriate analysis methods. Like most SAIs, the Turkish Court of Accounts (TCA) is using new technologies and working with big data in order to conduct more efficient and higher quality audits. We have accelerated the use of technology in audits through digital tools and data analysis applications over the past decade. Until 2017, many of our practices were based on individual and personal skills. Auditors were gathering raw data and transforming it into usable data by using different software programs such as ACL or Access for conducting analyses. However, in 2017, a special audit group was formed, and the TCA started building up mechanisms for virtual auditing. As part of our efforts for collecting and storing data and strengthening our technology to improve data analysis capabilities; projects were implemented for centrally collecting and processing the data of the audited entities. Rule-based anomaly detection and technology-enabled risk assessment techniques were embedded into audits. Various analysis scenarios including risk analysis to be applied to the accounting data of all audited public administrations were developed, and a sampling module was initiated. In addition, significant progress has been achieved on issues such as audit management, archiving, classification and statistical and mathematical analysis. And as a result of the need for a system on which the newly developed CAATT methodologies would run, we started using a business intelligence software and created our own platform called VERA (Turkish Court of Accounts Data Analysis System). After the Pandemic Although the audit process was already in a state of evolution with the emergence of new technologies, the pandemic accelerated the change towards digitization. The TCA faced with an urgent need to make changes in mainly two areas, which are (1) regulatory needs and (2) right technological infrastructure, communication and training needs. 1. Regulatory needs As a result of the reduced communication abilities and challenges with accessibility, many audit procedures became unrealizable, and we needed to be more flexible with online interviews and documentation checks during the on site periods of audits. Since it became nearly mandatory to collect documentation electronically, an amendment was made in legislation in September 2020 to ensure that the data of all institutions within the scope of the audit are received electronically. Nihan Polat Senior Auditor Turkish Court of Accounts ROLE OF DATA ANALYSIS ACTIVITIES IN AUDITING AND COPING WITH THE PANDEMIC