Given the growing interest in the topic, both in practice and academia, it is timely and important to examine the concept of continuous assurance (CA) and the possible paths along which such services will evolve. There has been a tendency to see CA purely from the point of view of its technological enablers. As such, it has virtually been taken for granted that CA will follow as a matter of course. What has been less thought through is the business architecture that must underlie CA. In particular, we show that the key driver of CA is the demand for it. While there may be many economic transactions between the company and its stakeholders that could benefit from the provision of CA, there is no guarantee that CA is either cost effective—the only way of enhancing efficiency—or actually has to be continuous. Other factors that will affect the development of CA are the need for a new infrastructure to pay for it, as well as concerns about the independence of the assurors. We also identify some important research issues.

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