Control Software Testing Technique

Controls include data validation, file integrity, audit trail, backup and recovery, documentation, and the other aspects of systems related to integrity. Control testing techniques are designed to ensure that the mechanisms that oversee the proper functioning of an application system work.

What are the objectives of control testing technique ?

Control is a management tool to ensure that processing is performed in accordance with the intents of management. The objectives are
  1. Data is accurate and complete
  2. Transactions are authorized
  3. An adequate audit trail of information is maintained.
  4. The process is efficient, effective, and economical
  5. The process meets the needs of the user
How to Use Control Testing?

Control can be considered a system within a system. The term “system of internal controls” is frequently used in accounting literature to describe the totality of the mechanisms that ensure the integrity of processing.

Controls are designed to reduce risks; therefore, in order to test controls the risks must be identified. The individual designing the test then creates the risk situations in order to determine whether the controls are effective in reducing them to a predetermined acceptable level of risk.

What are the control testing examples ?

Control-oriented people frequently do control testing. Like error-handling, it requires a negative look at the application system to ensure that those “what-can-go-wrong” conditions are adequately protected. Error-handling is a subset of controls oriented toward the detection and correction of erroneous information. Control in the broader sense looks at the totality of the system.

Examples of testing that might be performed to verify controls include:
  1. Determine that there is adequate assurance that the detailed records in a file equal the control total. This is normally done by running a special program that accumulates the detail and reconciles it to the total.
  2. Determine that the manual controls used to ensure that computer processing is correct are in place and working.
When to use control testing ?

Control testing should be an integral part of system testing. Controls must be viewed as a system within a system, and tested in parallel with other system tests. Knowing that approximately 50 percent of the total development effort goes into controls, a proportionate part of testing should be allocated to evaluating the adequacy of controls.

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