Audit Sampling Definition

You will see on this table that the smallest samples are still around 100, and the biggest sample is still around 1000. The same general principles apply as before – if you plan to divide the results into lots of sub-groups, or the decisions to be made are very important, you should pick a bigger sample. You plan to divide the sample into many different groups during the analysis (e.g. different age groups, socio-economic levels, etc). Selections are taken from the population at fixed intervals, such as every 20th item. This tends to be a relatively efficient sampling technique. The auditor splits the population into different sections and then selects from each section.

As the next section discusses, the actual number of items examined may be less than the dollar sample size because the same item may be selected more than once. Expected population exception rate .EPER is the exception rate anticipated to exist in the population. For example, if the auditor uses 2% for EPER and the recorded population value is $100,000, the implication is that the auditor expects the recorded value to be misstated by $2,000. If the auditor’s estimate of the expected misstatement is a dollar amount, it should be converted to a percentage. EPER is directly related to sample size and must be significantly less than TR.

Sampling units should be selected for the sample based on random number selection techniques. The intended audience is computer audit specialists , statistical sampling coordinators , and all Services and Enforcement employees who request CAS services regarding statistical sampling.

To evaluate the results, overstatements should first be segregated from understatements . Once the items are segregated, however, the process used to estimate the monetary misstatement is the same for both types of exceptions. The starting point for an auditor performing this process would be tables like the one inExhibit 2. Because MUS is based on attribute sampling, the sample size may be determined by the same basic procedures as for a statistical sample size for tests of controls. A common approach uses sample size tables published by the AICPA. Four inputs are required to determine the sample size, but the first two inputs are discussed together because of their close relationship. Audit sampling is when you take a look at only some of the payments in order to check for an aspect of the entire account.

audit sample size guidance

When sampling the same accounts for multiple years, it is permissible to combine the accounts into one population. The combined result should be allocated in a reasonable method that is determined prior to the selection of the sampling units. Using the spreadsheet reduces the chance of auditor error as compared to manual computations. A more significant advantage is that the spreadsheet allows considerable flexibility in specifying the inputs used to determine sample size and generates precise information to be used in evaluating the results. Population dollar value and tolerable misstatement.The population dollar value is the amount recorded on the books for the account being audited.

How To Calculate A Sample Size Population

This application will be used on all IRS initiated statistical samples and to test the validity of all taxpayer proposed statistical samples. Ensure the fair and equitable treatment of taxpayers examined by using statistical sampling techniques. Finally, block selection is when you select all of your samples from a certain time period or range of the population. For example, if the population is 360, and that population came from 30 transactions each month, you might decide your sample is most representative of the population if you test all of the transactions from April . In that situation, you are identifying a ”block” of the population, and taking it, or some of it, as your sample. Auditors are often required to assess processes that involve a huge number of transactions. Since they can’t look at it individually, they need to select a sample for their audit.

audit sample size guidance

In this lesson, we’ll discuss sampling and how it relates to auditing. The auditor now has the information necessary to make a decision regarding the population value using the following decision rule. If both the adjusted overstatement and understatement estimates are less than tolerable misstatement, conclude that the recorded population value is not materially misstated. Otherwise, conclude that the recorded value is materially misstated.

Types Of Sample Selection

It’s a dirty little secret among statisticians that sample size formulas often require you to have information in advance that you don’t normally have. For example, you typically need to know how much the answers in the survey are likely to vary between individuals (if you knew that in advance then you wouldn’t be doing a survey!).

Determining ARIA requires significant auditor judgment and is beyond the scope of this article. There is an inverse relationship between ARIA and required sample size. This pattern continues until a total of 100 dollars are identified.

  • Auditors are often required to assess processes that involve a huge number of transactions.
  • Because MUS is not designed to test for understatement, an auditor noting such large understatements should consider additional audit procedures.
  • Surveys where you plan to use fancy statistics to analyse the results, such as multivariate analysis .
  • For example, if the population is 360, and that population came from 30 transactions each month, you might decide your sample is most representative of the population if you test all of the transactions from April .
  • You don’t plan to divide the sample into different groups during the analysis, or you only plan to use a few large subgroups (e.g. males / females).

Coordinate and monitor the use of statistical sampling by providing mechanisms for distributing technical information and providing technical assistance. Identify and develop the tools necessary for implementing statistical sampling in examinations. Explore and identify areas where statistical sampling may be used to improve the quality and effectiveness of examinations, investigations, and compliance projects. Drafting guidance on statistical sampling areas for issuance by the DFO.

Sciencing_icons_sampling Sampling

Exhibit 1 indicates an adjusted understatement estimate of $4,293.00. There is a high proportion of errors in the sample or the population. This condition occurs when the number of sample units examined is of sufficient size and the number of sample units with errors is high. This condition also occurs when the 95% one-sided, lower confidence limit of the estimated number of errors in the population is large compared to the total number of population sampling units.

audit sample size guidance

The method, also known as dollar-unit sampling or probability-proportional-to-size sampling, has been used for many years and is widely accepted among auditors. Establish the confidence level to be applied to the sample results. The Institute of Internal Auditors notes that confidence levels usually range between 90 and 99 percent. The term confidence level refers to an auditor’s degree of requirement that the sample will reflect the true values in the population.

Stratified Sampling

When using systematic sample selection, any item larger than the sampling interval must be selected at least once, and very large items may be selected more than once. Consequently, the number of items selected may be less than the sample size. If an exception is noted for an item that is selected multiple times, it is treated as an independent observation for each time selected. In any audit situation where it is reasonable to examine 100 percent of the items under consideration, statistical sampling techniques should not be used. Audit sampling is the use of an audit procedure on a selection of the items within an account balance or class of transactions. The sampling method used should yield an equal probability that each unit in the sample could be selected. The intent behind doing so is to evaluate some aspect of the information.

For example, if a random starting point of 521 is selected, the first item in the sample would be account 2. The second item would be dollar 3,521 (521 + 3,000), corresponding to account 4. Furthermore, the EPER should be the auditor’s best estimate of the exception rate in the population, which should not be influenced by the resulting sample size. Thus, if the tolerable misstatement cannot be changed, the auditor must perform audit procedures on the indicated sample size in order to gather sufficient evidence to support the opinion on the financial statements.

Audit Testing And Sample Sizes

Proper use of statistical sampling substantially increases the quality of IRS examinations. In fact, when you take a look at only some of the payments in order to check for an aspect of the entire account, you’re performing an audit sampling. There are three important concepts to understand when we talk about why sampling is so important in auditing. Absolute assurance is when you are absolutely sure about an audit finding. To be so certain in our A/P example, you would have to look at each of the 57,000 payments. The only way to provide absolute assurance in an audit is to test every transaction. Using the spreadsheet in Exhibit 1 to illustrate the sample selection process, assume that the recorded balance in accounts receivable is $300,000, consisting of 300 customer accounts.

Often used in financial auditing to test for understatement. The proposed population adjustment will be determined, such that, 95 percent of the time, it will not be greater than the actual adjustment obtainable by a 100 percent examination of the population. This applies regardless of whether the adjustment favors the government or the taxpayer. While the previous rules of thumb are perfectly acceptable for most basic surveys, sometimes you need to sound more “scientific” in order to be taken seriously. In that case you can use the following table. Simply choose the column that most closely matches your population size. Then choose the row that matches the level of error you’re willing to accept in the results.

However, in order to reduce our sample size to one, we must have tested general computer controls and inquired about explicit override policies and procedures that may impact the functioning of the automated control. A nonrandom approach of selecting sample items based on the auditor’s reasoning or suspicions. Often used to select examples of deficiencies to support the auditors’ contention that the system is weak. Define the characteristics of items to be tested to determine the testing population size.

This page may be printed for workpaper documentation. The type of exception must be considered because it has important implications for the estimate of monetary misstatement in the population.

The higher the confidence level required, the larger the sample size. If an auditor has a high degree of confidence in the effectiveness of the control environment–usually established through observation, interviews and procedural walk-throughs–the lower the confidence level he will select.

Instead, MUS requires the auditor to partition the 7.6% total upper exception limit into layers. The first layer uses the 3.0% upper limit that would apply if no exceptions had been found. Even if no exceptions were found in a sample size of 100, the auditor must still conclude that there is a 5% risk that more than 3.0% of the dollars in the population contain exceptions. The first layer represents a basic allowance for sampling risk that will decrease as the sample size increases.