In an effort to make the audit process more efficient and effective, the AICPA Assurance Services Executive Committee (ASEC) has developed voluntary audit data standards that would standardize the format for fields and files commonly requested for audit and other related purposes.
In an exposure draft, ASEC proposed audit data standards for the inventory subledger account. Future EDs will propose audit data standards for other areas, such as fixed assets and payroll. These standards address technical design (files, tables, fields, formats, etc.) as well as supplemental questions about the data that are essential to understand their use.
Exchange of data currently can be a challenge because accounting and IT personnel may approach requests for information from different perspectives. Standardizing the data that auditors regularly request could make it easier for companies to share information with auditors because the information request process could be automated and replicated.
Both internal and external auditors will now be able to spend less time "normalizing" and formatting the data and spend more time performing enhanced analysis of the data.
The proposed standards are voluntary and not required, and they do not represent authoritative auditing or accounting standards. Comments on the proposed Inventory Subledger Standard are due Aug. 15 and can be emailed to Dorothy McQuilken, AICPA manager—Business Reporting, Assurance & Advisory Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org.