Data Analysis and Sampling Simplified: A Practical Guide for Internal Auditors


This is a book about data - about how to reduce large data sets down to the critical few high-risk subsets and how to select items or transactions for testing.

Most of the book is devoted to data analysis, or what is more formally described as analytical procedures. Every audit is different, yet all audits follow the same basic path planning, fieldwork, reporting, and follow-up. Each of the four phases of an audit is composed of distinct activities. With respect to data analysis and sampling, it is important to appreciate that different analytical activities occur at different stages in the audit process. Numerous exhibits and case studies are included in each chapter, helping the reader review practical applications of the concepts presented. This is a practical guide for audit practitioners to use when conducting data analysis and sampling during the course of an audit.

The author offers useful tips for internal auditors who are faced with a large data set wondering how to proceed, including:

  • Foster your creativity and curiosity
  • Make a plan and stick to it
  • Risk is the key
  • Look at the findings of the data analysis from both the graphical/tabular and metric perspectives
  • Validate, validate, validate
  • Organize the data results
  • Always trust your knowledge, your experience, and your intuition
  • Never underestimate the value you bring to the audit