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An exciting new service for the practicing audit professional is the creation of financial data bases usable for electronic research. Over the past ten years, service companies have compiled data bases of financial data and other information. Service companies make their products available through subscription to clients who want easy and instant access to data which be helpful in the decision making process. All of the "Big 8" accounting firms are now subscribers to one of more of these services. They, in turn, provide access to their local offices where telephone communication facilities permit.

In an attempt to determine what use is made of public access data bases in the auditing process, the authors conducted a national survey of 469 offices of "Big 8" firms. The results of the survey and some suggestions for practitioners which surfaced in the responses are discussed in this article. First, to provide some basic background, a general discussion of the most often used data bases and their contents follows.


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