SYNOPSIS

Big Data is one of the most important developments in management practice today, with McKinsey Global Institute (2011) arguing that it will fundamentally change business. Forbes (2013) states that β€œthe market for Big Data will reach $16.1 billion in 2014, growing 6 times faster than the overall information technology (IT) market.” Given the growing significance of Big Data as a business tool, this paper considers the extent to which Big Data will be embraced by the audit profession and how that usage will evolve over time. I put forward the hypothesis that auditors cannot stray too far from the practices of their clients since their credibility with and respect of those clients are the basis of the value added that they provide. Hence, if Big Data becomes an essential business tool, then inevitably it will have the same impact on auditing, albeit, perhaps later and with a more muted reaction. Analysis also indicates that American and international auditing standards, technological advances, and market forces are some of the facilitators and obstacles that will determine the use of Big Data by auditors and that will shape how that usage will evolve over time.

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