This paper presents a new approach in evaluating risks of material misstatements in financial audit using dependency structure matrices (DSM). This perspective allows the identification of significant audit risks and can be used by audit managers to optimise resource allocation by focusing on higher risk areas. DSM matrix is widely used in other areas such as industrial production, design engineering and risk management. This approach is not used in financial audit so far. The financial crisis has diminished the activity of the audit clients and has imposed smaller audit fees. The auditors have to optimize their processes in order to maintain the quality of audit, even to improve it for the same audit remuneration. DSM matrix is a solution for this problem. This article points out have to use DSM matrix in financial audit process in order to optimize the allocation of resources, while maintaining audit quality. Our research aims to improve the risk evaluation stage in the financial
audit process using DSM matrix to evaluate higher risk areas. We used the Project DSM Tool for representing significant accounts in the Purchase to pay process for a financial audit. Dependencies between accounts were used for creating a DSM matrix that depicts higher risk areas. Also, for each account, several resource allocation parameters such as costs and number of hours to be used for performing audit procedures on that account (from both audit team and client personnel).
Our research suggests that DSM can provide useful information in detecting risk areas in significant classes of transactions identified in a risk based audit and we recommend using DSM matrix in the planning phase of the audit in order to avoid redundancies in the audit execution phase. This is important considering that the European Commission recommends in the Green Paper for Audit to improve the quality of audits following the setbacks to the profession caused by the financial crisis