A continuous auditing web services model for XML-based accounting systems


This article discusses how emerging information technology (IT) frameworks, such as extensible markup language (XML) and Web services, can be utilized to facilitate continuous auditing for the next generation of accounting systems. Relying on a number of components of Web services technology, this article presents a new model for continuously audit business processes, referred to as continuous auditing web service (CAWS). The CAWS mechanism would run as a "web service" in the audit firm's computing environment and could be applied at a very granular level to provide assurance about specific business processes, at a very aggregate level for providing assurance relating to continuously reported earnings, or to provide continuous assurance (CA) about the operation of internal controls resident in the audit client's environment. The primary user of CAWS, given the current audit model, is the audit firm itself. However, the proposed CAWS approach facilitates a new "pull" model of auditing as envisaged by Elliot [Account. Horiz. (1992) 61], where assurance consumers invoke the CAWS routines to obtain assurance on demand. In such a model, the auditor would offer restricted views provided by the CAWS routines on a fee basis to analysts, investors, financial institutions, and other parties interested in obtaining CA of business performance or other audit objects of interest. The frameworks and technologies that facilitate such a Web-service-based continuous auditing mechanism in an XML-enhanced world are briefly described. The article concludes with suggestions for future research.


School of Accountancy

Document Type





continuous auditing, XML, schema, web services

Publication Date


Journal Title

International Journal of Accounting Information Systems