Audit Risk

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.



comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Benchmark Bond

    A bond that provides a standard against which the performance of other bonds can be measured. Government bonds are almost always used as benchmark bonds. Also referred to as "benchmark issue" or "bellwether issue".
  2. Market Capitalization

    The total dollar market value of all of a company's outstanding shares. Market capitalization is calculated by multiplying a company's shares outstanding by the current market price of one share. The investment community uses this figure to determine a company's size, as opposed to sales or total asset figures.
  3. Oil Reserves

    An estimate of the amount of crude oil located in a particular economic region. Oil reserves must have the potential of being extracted under current technological constraints. For example, if oil pools are located at unattainable depths, they would not be considered part of the nation's reserves.
  4. Joint Venture - JV

    A business arrangement in which two or more parties agree to pool their resources for the purpose of accomplishing a specific task. This task can be a new project or any other business activity. In a joint venture (JV), each of the participants is responsible for profits, losses and costs associated with it.
  5. Aggregate Risk

    The exposure of a bank, financial institution, or any type of major investor to foreign exchange contracts - both spot and forward - from a single counterparty or client. Aggregate risk in forex may also be defined as the total exposure of an entity to changes or fluctuations in currency rates.
  6. Organic Growth

    The growth rate that a company can achieve by increasing output and enhancing sales. This excludes any profits or growth acquired from takeovers, acquisitions or mergers. Takeovers, acquisitions and mergers do not bring about profits generated within the company, and are therefore not considered organic.
Trading Center