HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège
HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège

Remote external auditing during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic: new ways of working among belgian auditors.

Tilani, Omayma ULiège
Promotor(s) : Pichault, François ULiège
Date of defense : 22-Jun-2022/29-Jun-2022 • Permalink :
Title : Remote external auditing during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic: new ways of working among belgian auditors.
Translated title : [fr] AUDIT EXTERNE À DISTANCE PENDANT LA CRISE DU COVID-19 : Nouvelles méthodes de travail chez les auditeurs belges.
Author : Tilani, Omayma ULiège
Date of defense  : 22-Jun-2022/29-Jun-2022
Advisor(s) : Pichault, François ULiège
Committee's member(s) : Jemine, Grégory ULiège
Garrais, Grace ULiège
Language : English
Number of pages : 140
Keywords : [en] External audit
[en] teleworking during COVID-19
[en] remote auditing,
[en] audit assignment
[en] audit evidence
[en] IT technology
Discipline(s) : Business & economic sciences > Accounting & auditing
Target public : Researchers
Professionals of domain
Institution(s) : Université de Liège, Liège, Belgique
Degree: Master en sciences de gestion, à finalité spécialisée en Financial Analysis and Audit
Faculty: Master thesis of the HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège


[en] The purpose of this Master's thesis is to highlight key features of this teleworking practice, provide an overview of the main challenges faced by auditors when performing external audit assignments remotely and to fill the existing gap in the literature on the coping strategies of external audit adopted during this transition to remote working.
In order to fulfill this aim, we conducted a scientific research based on a literature review and an empirical qualitative study carried out with a sample of Belgian external auditors.
This study reveals that the adoption of the remote working approach has resulted in a number of benefits for external auditors, including flexibility in the workplace, improvement of work-life balance, and significant optimization of time and travel expenses to clients premises.
Apart from these advantages, remote working also brings challenges, such as the risk that the audit teams may find it difficult to achieve the audit objectives effectively as most of them are not used to working together across distances, time zones and organizations. Moreover, the success of remote working experience relies also on the degree of client's interactivity, their digital literacy, IT security and proportion of their digitized documentation.
Another relevant result of our research study is that auditors can conduct much of the audit, even sometimes more efficiently, without the need to be physically present at the client sites, while still providing an audit that meets international auditing standards. However, we found that regular face-to-face meetings are still needed to ensure that audit teams are familiar with the new status and approach to audit assignments, that they maintain good relations with clients, and that they understand the specificity of their activities.
Thus, with the general consensus of all respondents to our study, it appears that the solution to mitigate the challenges of working remotely and meet audit standards is to combine physical and virtual audits into a hybrid model.



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  • Tilani, Omayma ULiège Université de Liège > Master sc. gest., à fin.


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