Too much of a good thing? The effect of internal controls monitoring system alerts on user perceptions of task-technology fit

Julia Kokina, University of Texas at El Paso


Anecdotal and field study evidence points to both positive and negative effects of alerts produced by technology-enabled internal control monitoring systems (ICMS) (Alles et al. 2006, 2008; Debreceny et al. 2003, 2005; Perols and Murthy 2012). An important unanswered question is how those alerts impact users who process them and decide whether any corrective action should be taken. In this study I surveyed financial executives and accounting professionals to examine the impact of alerts on user perceptions of task-technology fit (TTF) (Goodhue and Thompson 1995). Alerts generated by ICMS can bring to the attention of company leadership indications of errors, exceptions, suspicious activity, or fraud, which can lead to improved decision-making and achievement of more efficient and effective operations. Moreover, greater frequency of alerts enables timely identification of irregularities which can result in more favorable user perceptions of TTF. However, too many alerts can diminish user perceptions of TTF due to information overload experienced by users who process the alerts. I also examine whether perceived user resources alleviate the negative effect of information overload. The results of this study indicate that accounting professionals who would receive more alerts are likely to experience higher information overload. However, availability of resources such as authorization, necessary knowledge, time, financial resources, available assistance and documentation is shown to decrease information overload associated with the large quantities of automated alerts. The results of this study should be of interest to regulators such as the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) as it continues to emphasize the critical role of technology and the associated fraud risks in the current business environment. Also, the results should be useful to the senior leadership and internal auditors of public and private companies as they make ICMS adoption and implementation decisions.

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Recommended Citation

Kokina, Julia, "Too much of a good thing? The effect of internal controls monitoring system alerts on user perceptions of task-technology fit" (2014). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3636280.