Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
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  • Publication
    Federated and Privacy-Preserving Learning of Accounting Data in Financial Statement Audits
    (Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2022-11-01) ;
    Sattarov, Timur
    ;
    The ongoing 'digital transformation' fundamentally changes audit evidence's nature, recording, and volume. Nowadays, the International Standards on Auditing (ISA) requires auditors to examine vast volumes of a financial statement's underlying digital accounting records. As a result, audit firms also `digitize' their analytical capabilities and invest in Deep Learning (DL), a successful sub-discipline of Machine Learning. The application of DL offers the ability to learn specialized audit models from data of multiple clients, e.g., organizations operating in the same industry or jurisdiction. In general, regulations require auditors to adhere to strict data confidentiality measures. At the same time, recent intriguing discoveries showed that large-scale DL models are vulnerable to leaking sensitive training data information. Today, it often remains unclear how audit firms can apply DL models while complying with data protection regulations. In this work, we propose a Federated Learning framework to train DL models on auditing relevant accounting data of multiple clients. The framework encompasses Differential Privacy and Split Learning capabilities to mitigate data confidentiality risks at model inference. Our results provide empirical evidence that auditors can benefit from DL models that accumulate knowledge from multiple sources of proprietary client data.
    Scopus© Citations 1
  • Publication
    Adversarial Learning of Deepfakes in Accounting
    (Cornell University - arXiv, 2019-12-13) ;
    Sattarov, Timur
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    Reimer, Bernd
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    Nowadays, organizations collect vast quantities of accounting relevant transactions, referred to as 'journal entries', in 'Enterprise Resource Planning' (ERP) systems. The aggregation of those entries ultimately defines an organization's financial statement. To detect potential misstatements and fraud, international audit standards demand auditors to directly assess journal entries using 'Computer Assisted AuditTechniques' (CAATs). At the same time, discoveries in deep learning research revealed that machine learning models are vulnerable to 'adversarial attacks'. It also became evident that such attack techniques can be misused to generate 'Deepfakes' designed to directly attack the perception of humans by creating convincingly altered media content. The research of such developments and their potential impact on the finance and accounting domain is still in its early stage. We believe that it is of vital relevance to investigate how such techniques could be maliciously misused in this sphere. In this work, we show an adversarial attack against CAATs using deep neural networks. We first introduce a real-world 'thread model' designed to camouflage accounting anomalies such as fraudulent journal entries. Second, we show that adversarial autoencoder neural networks are capable of learning a human interpretable model of journal entries that disentangles the entries latent generative factors. Finally, we demonstrate how such a model can be maliciously misused by a perpetrator to generate robust 'adversarial' journal entries that mislead CAATs.
  • Publication
    Detection of Accounting Anomalies in the Latent Space using Adversarial Autoencoder Neural Networks
    ( 2019-08-05) ;
    Sattarov, Timur
    ;
    Schulze, Christian
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    Reimer, Bernd
    ;
    The detection of fraud in accounting data is a long-standing challenge in financial statement audits. Nowadays, the majority of applied techniques refer to handcrafted rules derived from known fraud scenarios. While fairly successful, these rules exhibit the drawback that they often fail to generalize beyond known fraud scenarios and fraudsters gradually find ways to circumvent them. In contrast, more advanced approaches inspired by the recent success of deep learning often lack seamless interpretability of the detected results. To overcome this challenge, we propose the application of adversarial autoencoder networks. We demonstrate that such artificial neural networks are capable of learning a semantic meaningful representation of real-world journal entries. The learned representation provides a holistic view on a given set of journal entries and significantly improves the interpretability of detected accounting anomalies. We show that such a representation combined with the networks reconstruction error can be utilized as an unsupervised and highly adaptive anomaly assessment. Experiments on two datasets and initial feedback received by forensic accountants underpinned the effectiveness of the approach.
  • Publication
    Detection of Anomalies in Large Scale Accounting Data using Deep Autoencoder Neural Networks
    (Cornell University - arXiv, 2018-08-01) ;
    Sattarov, Timur
    ;
    ;
    Dengel, Andreas
    ;
    Reimer, Bernd
    ;
    Learning to detect fraud in large-scale accounting data is one of the long-standing challenges in financial statement audits or fraud investigations. Nowadays, the majority of applied techniques refer to handcrafted rules derived from known fraud scenarios. While fairly successful, these rules exhibit the drawback that they often fail to generalize beyond known fraud scenarios and fraudsters gradually find ways to circumvent them. To overcome this disadvantage and inspired by the recent success of deep learning, we propose the application of deep autoencoder neural networks to detect anomalous journal entries. We demonstrate that the trained network's reconstruction error obtainable for a journal entry and regularized by the entry's individual attribute probabilities can be interpreted as a highly adaptive anomaly assessment. Experiments on two real-world datasets of journal entries show the effectiveness of the approach resulting in high f1-scores of 32.93 (dataset A) and 16.95 (dataset B) and less false positive alerts compared to state of the art baseline methods. Initial feedback received by chartered accountants and fraud examiners underpinned the quality of the approach in capturing highly relevant accounting anomalies.