Magazine article American Banker

Peril Seen Unless Top Execs Help with Systems Planning

Magazine article American Banker

Peril Seen Unless Top Execs Help with Systems Planning

Article excerpt

Peril Seen Unless Top Execs Help with Systems Planning

Senior-level managers should give personal attention to the planning of their companies' computer systems, a Price Waterhouse& Co. study says.

Without such involvement, technologists may build systems that fail to meet business requirements and are hard to audit, and whose cost is difficult to justify, researchers said.

The study, "Systems Auditability and Control," is an update of a 1977 report by the Institute for Internal Auditors on companies' ability to audit and control computer systems. The data were taken from more than 300 personal interviews and mail surveys of internal auditors and systems executives.

Problem Is Readdressed

The institute, which participated in the recently issued report, saw a need to readdress the audit and control of information systems because of the changes in computers and business over the past decade.

During the 1980s, corporate use escalated from simple automation to complex applications. However, the increased power of technology is a two-edged sword: Better technology can make more companies more competitive but also increases the risk of fraud, embezzlement, and business breakdowns when the systems go on the blink.

Internal auditors, as agents of senior management, must find ways to ensure that computer systems limit those risks and costs, the study's authors said.

Data Security a Problem

"Internal auditors need to be more involved now than in the past," said Hugh Marsh, an independent consultant and project manager for the study. …

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