Despite research showing numerous benefits of continuous auditing, uptake by internal audit functions has been quite slow. Using a case study approach and field data from a multinational company, we study two possible reasons for the slow uptake of continuous auditing: (1) the time it takes for continuous auditing to result in measurable reductions in audit risks and (2) that not every type of risk is equally likely to improve from continuous auditing. In our case company, it takes three years (on average) before observing significant risk reductions from implementing continuous auditing. We also find that the benefits of implementing continuous auditing vary by risk factor, ranging from no improvement to 51.6 percent for each additional year of continuous auditing use. These findings can provide internal auditors with a realistic expectation of the benefits and limitations, as well as the timetable for realizing benefits, when adopting continuous auditing.

Data Availability: The data used in this study cannot be made publicly available due to confidentiality agreements with the participating organization.

JEL Classifications: M42; G32.

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