Discuss the concept of materiality and its relationship with risk Essay

In order to understand the construct of materiality and hazard it is necessary to appreciate the aim of an Audit. An Audited account is an rating of a individual, administration or a system. They are performed to find the cogency and the dependability of the information provided and besides provides an appraisal of the systems internal control. The aim of an audit of fiscal statements is to enable the hearer to show an sentiment on whether the fiscal statements are prepared in conformity with an identified fiscal describing model such as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles ( GAAP ) . Due to practical restraints, the hearer is satisfied with merely sensible confidence that the information is free from material mistake or emanations, therefore why statistical sampling is frequently used in audits. If the fiscal information is free from stuff misstatements, so the information is said to give a true and just position to the user.

When be aftering an audit, two factors need to be assessed ; materiality and hazard. Materiality is a construct within scrutinizing which relates to the importance or the significance of an sum or a dealing, both qualitative and quantitative information. It can be defined by the International Standards of Auditors ( ISA ) 320. ( See appendix A )

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Deliberate judgements are made by hearers to measure the significance of an mistake or skip. The point is considered stuff if it influences the user in their economic determination. However, the size of the point is of import because if it ‘s non big and non important so the point in inquiry will non be classed as stuff, but the hearer must be cognizant of crawling materiality where many little undistinguished points build up to go stuff. Therefore planing an audit program ab initio establishes an acceptable materiality degree for both the sum ( measure ) and nature ( quality ) of misstatements.

Common illustrations of materiality misstatements are stock lists, trade receivables, and gross revenues where the Numberss can easy be manipulated. The computation of materiality can be related to put on the line where the materiality degrees can be more closely monitored. Harmonizing to “ Porter et al Principles of External Auditing 2008 ” certain materiality degrees have been stated as an indicant. For illustration Arriva ‘s turnover in 2008 was ?3042.2m and the estimated materiality degree would be between 0.5 % – 1.0 % . The computation is non a set sum and varies with different hearer judgements and there is n’t a right or wrong reply. However, utilizing this per centum, the materiality degree turnover for 2008 would be up to ?30.4m. This means there is a standard divergence of ?30.4m intending if the turnover is between ?3072.6m and ?3011.8m so the hearer will category it as immaterial and nil hazardous. Anything outside of this materiality threshold would be classed as being stuff, although the hearer may utilize their ain professional judgement to increase or diminish the materiality per centum consequently.

Cash & A ; hard currency tantamount shown on Arriva ‘s balance sheet for 2008 is ?147.7m. A obscure materiality degree is given of 2 % ; hence motion between ?150.7m and ?144.7 is classed as immaterial. Cash needs to be assessed carefully as it is really liquid and at the clip of scrutinizing the figures can be different due to changeless income & A ; outgos.

Bench Markss assist hearers to measure fiscal information by supplying an acceptable degree of materiality. There is no regulation of pollex to cipher materiality, it is upon the hearers professional judgement and set before the program phase of an audit. For illustration, if the hearer determines that the bench grade for acceptable materiality is excessively low during the audit, the audit hazard is increased. The hearer can counterbalance for this in one of two ways ; either cut down the degree of control hazard if possible, endorsing this by transporting out extended or extra trials of control ; or by cut downing sensing hazard by altering the nature, timing and extent of planned substantial processs. This is where the relationship between materiality and audit hazard occurs, as the higher the materiality degree, the lower the audit hazard and frailty versa. This relationship is besides considered when finding the nature, timing and extent of the audit process.

In relation to materiality, there are two types of hazard factors involved ; Audit hazard and Business hazard.

Audit hazard is the hazard of the hearer giving the incorrect sentiment and contains three chief elements ; Inherent Risk, Detection Risk & A ; Control Risk.

Built-in Hazard is when the history or subdivision being audited is materially misstated without bearing in head the internal controls due to error or fraud. It is something that can non be removed and controls for hazardous countries may necessitate to be assessed. An illustration of built-in hazard associating to Arriva is most their minutess are hard currency based and there may be a big hazard that the hard currency is non being recorded or the hard currency is traveling into the drivers pocket and is n’t being shown on the company ‘s fiscal records. Areas as such demand to be controlled and the usage of grosss or top-up card systems may cut down these hazards. Analysis of old old ages or a comparing of rival ‘s histories may give the hearer a good indicant of any deceitful or hazardous activities. Key factors to look at when analyzing built-in hazard include the nature of the concern, unity of managers and direction, objectives & A ; schemes etc.

Control hazard is the hearer ‘s judgement that the entity ‘s fiscal statements contain a likeliness that certain averments are materially misstated which will non be detected by the entity ‘s internal control system. An illustration of control hazard is if an entity has competent and able valuers valuing a high priced point which is inherently high hazard so the control hazard will be low compared to an entity without the skilled and able valuers. The consequence of inherent hazard & A ; control hazard is known as the hazard of material misstatement ( RMM ) and represents the hazard that the hearer efficaciously has to react to when scrutinizing.

Detection hazard is the opportunities that the stuff misstatement will non be found by the hearer ‘s substantial testing. The sensing hazard shows what the acceptable rate is of the hearer given that the audit hazard and the hearer ‘s appraisal of built-in and control hazard is accepted. This means that if the sensing hazard is high, the hearer will make less substantial testing compared to where the sensing hazard is lower. Detection hazard can be altered at the hearer ‘s professional judgement whereas built-in hazard and control hazard are independent of the audit.

Therefore in whole, audit hazard is:

Audit hazard = Inherent Risk x Detection Risk x Control Risk.

Business hazard relates chiefly to the entity ‘s ends and aims. It is basically the possible cost incurred if the concern does non accomplish its strategic programs. The appraisal and direction of concern hazard has evolved into formalistic endeavor hazard direction ( ERM ) in many entities. Examples of hazards which may neglect the concern to run into its aims include major alterations in the working environment, new forces, rapid growing etc. When measuring the concern hazard, the hearer must see the traveling concern construct ; this is when you assume that the entity will usually go on merchandising into the foreseeable hereafter ( usually within 12 months. ) This is a hazard because if a loan is taken out by the entity, for illustration which needs to be repaid after 4 old ages so the company may non be merchandising at that clip and hence will non be able to refund. From an audit position ; if the concern has a traveling concern hazard, the company may non be able to pay the hearers in the hereafter. This so gives the hearer an indicant as whether or non to accept the client. The hearer should besides hold clear cognition and apprehension of the economic system and concern that they are working in, so that they can supply a seamster made attack and design the audit work specifically for the client so all hazards are acknowledged.

Examples of hazards harmonizing to Arriva ‘s one-year study 2008 are:

Market Risk ; a big sum of Arriva ‘s income comes from the national public conveyances budgets and accordingly if the budget sum varies, it can hold a positive or negative consequence on the entity ‘s chances. The group invariably monitors the national public conveyance budgetary policies to guarantee that they are cognizant and understand the possible alterations so that there are no unexpected alterations to the group which straight affect them.

Interest rate and fuel monetary value hazard ; Derivative instruments are used to pull off the group ‘s exposure to alterations in hard currency flows originating from motions in involvement rates and fuel monetary values. The derived functions are designated as hard currency flow hedges, and hedge accounting is used where it has been shown that the hedge relationship is extremely effectual. This besides relates to the commercial hazard where there can be uncertainnesss over the current economic state of affairs and volatility degrees. For illustration Arriva has ?797m worth of loans which are n’t fixed harmonizing to observe 17 in the fiscal statement. If the involvement rates increase merely 1 % so it could incur extra charges of up to about ?8m. This is classed as a concern hazard.

The international criterion on scrutinizing 315 ( appendix B ) involves the hearer to recognize any material misstatement within the company but should besides bear in head the concern ‘s environment, for illustration the industry, nature, aims of the entity. Aims and scheme are an of import factor to look at as the entity ‘s purpose may be to do a loss for a few old ages, in which instance the aims has been achieved.

“ Including the entity ‘s internal control. ”

For illustration when looking at the internal control, if person needs to empower a payment of ?500k but marks for ?1m, so the entity ‘s internal control would be classed as weak and hence the hazards addition.

When measuring the stuff misstatement the hearer must measure whether it was due to fraud or mistake. The probe needs to oppugn whether it was done intentionally or non. If yes, so it was fraud, if no so it may good be an mistake.

If any materially misstated points need to be farther investigated, so ISA 315 Para 7 ( appendix C ) should be considered. An hearer should inquire inquiries and enquire within the entity to any individuals in any section, analyze tendencies and relationships and merely by and large monitor twenty-four hours to twenty-four hours running or the entity. In conformity to Para 12, if the hearer intends to utilize anterior stuff, any alterations that have occurred have to be taken into consideration e.g. direction bargain outs, fillip discrepancies etc. Besides external information may be a good beginning of information, for illustration reaching Bankss for existent balances.

ISA 330 is the hearer ‘s responses to the assessed hazards. This criterion is interlinked with the ISA 315 where the hazard, if any is assessed and identified. ISA 330 provinces what the hearer should make in response to the findings of any material misstatements ( Appendix D )

If any possible hazard is detected by the Auditor, so the hearer should ask further into the hazard. For illustration, the hearer can look into the bank balance, request any external verifications of contracts, footings, minutess or understandings from any other entity or other 3rd parties. An case of this happening in an entity like Arriva is, if the director is under force per unit area to run into net incomes outlooks, there will be a hazard that the direction could pull strings gross revenues. Directors may improperly recognize gross by invoicing gross revenues before they occur. In such instances, hearers need to plan external verification processs to corroborate sums, footings of sale, dates etc.

In some instances the ability or the willingness of the party which the hearer needs verification from may non be at that place. Therefore to get the better of this job the hearer must choose a sample of parties of whom to inquire verification from and if a few parties refuse to react so the hearer still has valid information from similar parties. The party may decline to notice due to one of the undermentioned grounds ; may non accept duty for reacting, may see it excessively dearly-won or clip consuming, may see the possible legal liabilities ensuing from reacting etc.

In decision, there is an reverse relationship between hazard and materiality ; the higher the materiality degree, the lower the audit hazard and frailty versa. This relationship is taken into history when finding the nature, timing and extent of the audit processs. If after planning, the hearer explores that the acceptable materiality degree is lower than planned, so the audit hazard is increased. For illustration, low hazard is given to the hazard that relates to a peculiar averment in an history balance which is misstated by an highly big sum, but the hazard that the figures could be misstated by an highly little sum may be high. An hearer will see these constructs before, during and after the audit. ISA 315/320/330 all assist hearers to aline to the auditing demands to guarantee that the fiscal statements show a true and just position. This brings consistence and makes comparison easier from one set of histories to another.

Word Count – 2163


Appendix A

ISA 320:

“ Information is material if its skip or misstatement could act upon the economic determinations of users taken on the footing of the fiscal statements. Materiality depends on the size of the point or mistake judged in the peculiar fortunes of its skip or misstatement. Therefore, materiality provides a threshold or cut-off point instead than being a primary qualitative feature which information must hold if it is to be utile. ”

Appendix B

ISA 315:

“ Identifying and Measuring the Risks of Material Misstatement through Understanding the Entity and Its Environment ” – effectual day of the month 15/12/09

Appendix C

ISA 315 Para 7:

“ The hazard appraisal processs shall include the undermentioned:

( a ) Inquiries of direction and of others within the entity.

( B ) Analytical processs.

( degree Celsius ) Observation and review. ”

Appendix D

ISA 330:

“ The hearer shall see whether external verification processs are to be performed as substantial audit processs. ”


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