Business process ‘‘de-engineering’’: Establishing the value of the human auditor in an automated audit system

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Automation in auditing is driven by the principles of business process reengineering (BPR), whose default position is to eliminate labor. BPR assumes that assurance arising from human and technological inputs are substitutes and not complements. Until that hypothesis is validated, human auditors should not be perceived as expendable artifacts to be removed as quickly as possible. What is needed is a systematic exploration of what is the minimum human involvement for auditing to retain the trust of its stakeholders. In this paper, I propose that business process reengineering in auditing is complemented with what I call business process ‘‘de-engineering’’ (BPD). Whereas BPR asks how to remove workers from a predominantly manual process, BPD asks when adding a human would add value to a predominantly automated process. BPD in auditing focuses attention on the human/machine interactions in the audit process and will help determine their relative strengths and weaknesses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-49
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Emerging Technologies in Accounting
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Accounting
  • Computer Science Applications


  • Audit automation
  • Business process de-engineering
  • Business process reengineering


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