Using drones in internal and external audits: An exploratory framework

Deniz Appelbaum, Robert A. Nehmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Recently the FAA relaxed restrictions on the use of drones or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs) for commercial purposes. Markets for commercial drone use are in the technology trigger phase of the Gartner Group’s Hyper Cycle, with developments occurring rapidly in real estate, agriculture (farming), the film industry, insurance, and other areas. Examination and inspection applications of drones have been proposed in heavy industry and cell tower inspection. Previous research suggests an incremental structure for implementing technological innovations such as continuous auditing (CA). In this paper these proposals are expanded to include the additional requirements to add drone technologies. This structure is extended here by (1) defining the use of drones in audit environments, with emphasis on the continuous versus occasional use of drone technologies, (2) extending the technical adoption architecture to include the use of drones, and (3) considering the types of drone usages amenable to both internal and external audits. A specific architecture is proposed here to prototype inventory counts in large warehouses or open-air inventories and that satisfies the suggested requirements. Additionally, this proposal adds value to the current research by extending the discussion of technology adoption in the Alles, Kogan, and Vasarhelyi (2008) paper to include the use of drones in many different audit environments by enumerating the usage types of drones in audit settings and by considering the prototype of such a system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-113
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Emerging Technologies in Accounting
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • Audit automation
  • Audit evidence
  • Continuous auditing
  • Drones
  • Internal and external auditing


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