Investigating the effectiveness of information technology audit controls in financial institutions: (a case study of sixteen rural banks in Ghana)

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Investigating the effectiveness of information technology (IT) Audit controls in financial institutions was worth researching, regarding the increasing number of financial institutions resorting to computerization. Thus, these institutions would primarily depend on IT audit controls that are put in place to manage and guard the institutions’ overall business setup to achieve the institutions’ business goals or objectives. The main objectives of the research were to find out the kind of IT Audit Controls being used, Controls’ weakness, its causes and effects and the recommendations needed to ensure controls’ effectiveness. Sixteen computerized financial institutions were sampled and the IT Controls used were studied. In spite of the successes made by the computerized financial institutions, the sampled financial institutions helplessly admitted to the dangers posed by other IT security challenges. These IT security challenges were mainly as a result of internal control weakness which potentially can bring the institutions down if not checked. Considering the globalization of the computerized technology it was recommended that the financial institutions in the country should employ more of these IT Audit controls , especially Internet and E-Commerce Controls, Telecommunication Controls and Database Controls in the day-to-day transactions. Also for optimum effectiveness of these Controls, the computerized financial institutions should also pay every price to strengthen the internal controls to safeguard against avoidable IT Audit controls’ breaches and other potential security challenges that can break down the financial institutions. Further research must be undertaken to investigate the recent spate of global banking fraud on credit and debit cards of customers who patronize electronic commerce.
A Thesis submitted to the Computer Science Department, Kwame Nkrumah University and Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirement of the degree of Master of Science in Information Technology,