Audit Risk

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Audit Risk'

The risk that an auditor will not discover errors or intentional miscalculations (i.e. fraud) while reviewing a company's or individual's financial statements. There are two general categories of audit risk – risk regarding assessment of the financial materials and risk regarding the assertions produced by evaluation of the financial materials.

Companies request an audit in order to provide confidence to investors that their financial statements and reporting are accurate. In order to insure against potential litigation arising from missed financial improprieties, such as material misstatements, auditors will typically carry malpractice insurance.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Audit Risk'

Large public companies typically engage one of the Big Four accounting firms – PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Ernst & Young and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu – for their internal audits. The Big Four was previously the Big Five, but Arthur Andersen fell out of the group after being indicted on counts of obstruction of justice for its role in the Enron scandal.

According to a 2008 Government Accountability Office report, the Big Four firms audit 98% of U.S. companies with annual revenues over $1 billion. Smaller companies are more likely to engage one of the "mid-range" firms, such as Grant Thornton or BDO Seidman.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Auditing Evidence

    The information collected for review of a company's financial ...
  2. Detection Risk

    The chance that an auditor will not find material misstatements ...
  3. Deficiency

    Conceptually, the numerical difference between the amount of ...
  4. Cook The Books

    A buzzword describing fraudulent activities performed by corporations ...
  5. Audit

    1. An unbiased examination and evaluation of the financial statements ...
  6. Auditor's Report

    Recorded in the annual report, the auditor's report tests to ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. What are some examples of inherent risk?

    In financial and managerial accounting, inherent risk is defined as the possibility of incorrect or misleading information ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How is minimum transfer price calculated?

    A company that transfers goods between multiple divisions needs to establish a transfer price so that each division can track ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What Book Value Of Equity Per Share (BVPS) ratio indicates a buy signal?

    Book value of equity per share (BVPS) is a ratio used in fundamental analysis to compare the amount of a company's shareholders' ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is the effective interest method of amortization?

    The effective interest method is an accounting practice used for discounting a bond. This method is used for bonds sold at ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What does an unfavorable variance indicate to management?

    In managerial accounting, an unfavorable variance is discovered when a company's management performs a comparison between ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Is there a way to include intangible assets in book-to-market ratio calculations?

    The book-to-market ratio is used in fundamental analysis to identify whether a company's securities are overvalued or undervalued. ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Investing Basics

    12 Things You Need To Know About Financial Statements

    Discover how to keep score of companies to increase your chances of choosing a winner.
  2. Brokers

    How To Avoid Falling Prey To The Next Madoff Scam

    Due diligence does work, but the loose reporting standards for hedge funds make extra care and attention necessary.
  3. Personal Finance

    A Look At Accounting Careers

    More than just crunching numbers, this career blends detective work with trouble shooting.
  4. Professionals

    An Inside Look At Internal Auditors

    Find out why these number crunchers are part of every chief officer's dream team.
  5. Professionals

    Examining A Career As An Auditor

    Stricter government regulations have put auditing professionals in demand.
  6. Options & Futures

    Uncovering A Career In Forensic Accounting

    Does a job as a financial sleuth sound interesting to you? Dig in to learn more.
  7. Economics

    Calculating Net Realizable Value

    An asset’s net realizable value is the amount a company should expect to receive once it sells or disposes of that asset, minus costs from its disposal.
  8. Insurance

    Who Needs Extortion Insurance?

    Insurance can help mitigate the financial damage of an extortion plot, but it’s important to read the fine print before taking out one of these policies.
  9. Professionals

    7 Cybersecurity Tips for Advisors

    The digital age has created a new breed of thief who can break into client files at any time, but there are ways to minimize risk exposure.
  10. Insurance

    Do You Need Kidnap & Ransom Insurance?

    Americans working abroad – and high-profile individuals traveling frequently in kidnapping hot spots – should consider this type of protection.

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. American Dream

    The belief that anyone, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into, can attain their own version ...
  2. Multicurrency Note Facility

    A credit facility that finances short- to medium-term Euro notes. Multicurrency note facilities are denominated in many currencies. ...
  3. National Currency

    The currency or legal tender issued by a nation's central bank or monetary authority. The national currency of a nation is ...
  4. Treasury Yield

    The return on investment, expressed as a percentage, on the debt obligations of the U.S. government. Treasuries are considered ...
  5. Bund

    A bond issued by Germany's federal government, or the German word for "bond." Bunds are the German equivalent of U.S. Treasury ...
  6. European Central Bank - ECB

    The central bank responsible for the monetary system of the European Union (EU) and the euro currency. The bank was formed ...
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!