Practical Data Extraction for Auditors

The concept of auditor independence is frequently mentioned in audit textbooks, and is a principle that all auditors would like to adhere to. In most audits, however, the concept of independent access to data is often undermined by the basic operational problem of gaining access to the data in the first place, leaving the auditor almost totally reliant on the system administrator for the provision of control information. It needn’t be like that – there are a variety of tools out there that auditors can use to generate their own audit data extracts, sometimes using only the basic tools that a standard PC workstation may already have installed on it.

In this practical one-day seminar from our "Need to Know" series, we will demonstrate the use of some of the built-in capabilities of Windows software and how it can be used to interact with standard audit tools such as IDEA and a few basic add-on pieces of software to increase audit independence and allow the extract of basic control information from operating systems and databases.

After the course, you can take away the software tools used for the data extraction (subject to software licensing conditions where appropriate) so that you can continue to use them in your own audits. A ‘hands-on’version of the course is available for auditors who want to try these techniques for themselves and gain practical experience of data extraction techniques.

Suggested duration: 1 day, but can be customised to your requirements.


Introduction to Windows built-in tools
What’s available on a Windows PC?
Command-line redirection
Directory listing
Text processing tools
The FOR, FIND and FINDSTR commands
The NET command and its uses
Using Windows networking commands

Data Linking and ODBC
What is ODBC?
ODBC drivers
What can you connect to
Linking MS Office to Oracle, SQL Server etc.
Using IDEA through ODBC

Extracting data from Windows systems
DumpSec and its uses
Using Windows command-line tools
Do you need to be a Windows administrator?
Extracting data from Active Directory
The Windows Scripting Host (WSH)
Using WSH and ADSI to extract audit data
Windows scripting with VBScript and PowerShell
Audit Automation – spreadsheets that write themselves
What if you've only got Excel? - formulas to handle Active Directory data

Oracle and SQL Server
Writing Oracle data extraction scripts
Accessing the data dictionary
The database administrator views and how to use them
SQL Server – the system tables and what’s in them
Using SQL Server stored procedures for auditing
Using SQL-DMO to script your audit

UNIX systems
Where UNIX system information is kept – key files
Essential UNIX data utilities and how to use them
Writing a UNIX audit script

Auditing VMware's Vpshere with PowerCLI commands