E-business internal audit: The elephant is still in the room!

Amr Kotb, Alan Sangster*, David Henderson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact of technological change on the internal audit practices and skills requirements for internal auditors in an e-business environment. Design/methodology/approach - Generalist internal auditors and specialist information technology (IT) internal auditors were surveyed online in ten countries, including the USA and the UK which, together, provided the majority of responses. Findings - The results suggest a need for advanced IT-audit techniques in conducting the internal audit function, thereby increasing IT audit skill demands on generalist internal auditors. However, the results show a low confidence among internal auditors about their IT training and a continuing reliance upon IT audit specialists, rather than their own training/retraining. Research limitations/implications - The responses obtained in this study provide insight into both the status quo of the internal audit function, and to the changes that are needed to prepare generalist internal auditors for work in an e-business environment and, while the scale of the study limits the extent to which the findings may be generalized, they are consistent with the literature concerning the changing business environment and with the literature on resistance to change, suggesting that the issues revealed should be of concern. Practical implications - The results reported in this paper are useful to internal auditing educators and regulators in their consideration of the skills needed by generalist internal auditors in e-business environment. Originality/value - This study sheds light on a significantly growing area which remains relatively unexplored in the auditing-related literature, e-business audit. The study provides empirical evidence on challenges facing internal auditors in an e-business environment, thereby serving as a wake-up call, to both internal auditors and the professional bodies representing them, to defend their jurisdictional space against rival professional groups.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17111009
Pages (from-to)43-63
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Applied Accounting Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

Bibliographical note

The authors would like to thank the British Accounting and Finance Association Committee of Departments of Accounting and Finance (CDAF) for their funding of this project.


  • E-business
  • E-commerce
  • Internal audit
  • IT audit
  • Resistance to change


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