The digital economy has significantly altered the way business is conducted and financial information is communicated. A rapidly growing number of organizations are conducting business and publishing business and financial reports online and in real‐time. Real‐time financial reporting is likely to necessitate continuous auditing to provide continuous assurance about the quality and credibility of the information presented. The audit process has, by necessity, evolved from a conventional manual audit to computer‐based auditing and is now confronted with creating continuous electronic audits. Rapidly emerging information technology and demands for more timely communication of information to business stakeholders requires auditors to invent new ways to continuously monitor, gather, and analyze audit evidence. Continuous auditing is defined here as “a comprehensive electronic audit process that enables auditors to provide some degree of assurance on continuous information simultaneously with, or shortly after, the disclosure of the information.” This paper is based on a review of related literature, innovative continuous auditing applications, and the experiences of the authors. An approach for building continuous audit capacity is presented and audit data warehouses and data marts are described. Ever improving technology suggests that the real‐time exchange of sensitive financial data will place constant pressure on auditors to update audit techniques. Most of the new techniques that will be required will involve creation of new software and audit models. Future research should focus on how continuous auditing could be constantly improved in various auditing domains including assurance, attestation, and audit services.

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