The advances of computer aided audit tools have made sampling redundant in many situations, as it becomes possible to test 100% of a population. However, there are still many situations where the only option is to pick an audit sample, and test these items to gain some comfort over the population as a whole. Despite sampling being unavoidable during most audits, it is one area that many auditors struggle with.
When it comes to picking the audit sample there are many factors to consider, such as what sampling method to use (statistical vs. non statistical sampling), how big the sample should be, what the required comfort level is, etc. There can also be some fairly complex maths involved if you don’t have access to sample size calculators or tables.
This website is all about sampling in the audit. We’ll talk about choosing the most appropriate sampling method, picking the audit sample, testing the audit sample and then evaluating the results of the audit sample. Our goal is to help auditors understand sampling within the audit process, to ensure that the work they are performing is valid.
There is no point in spending time picking an audit sample, testing the sample and not having sufficient appropriate audit evidence (e.g. the audit sample may not be representative of the population).
The biggest risk is that the auditor doesn’t know that the results of their testing are not valid, and they rely on those results to form an audit opinion. There is also a risk of “over-auditing” by picking an audit sample that is too large – the goal should be to pick and test the smallest audit sample possible that will lead to statistically valid results.
Although geared up towards financial statement audits and internal audits much of the information contained in this site is appropriate to sampling in general. If you’re interested in sampling please feel free to browse this site and we hope that you find its contents useful!
In a few of our posts, we have mentioned Audit Software as a great way of automating sampling to make it quicker and easier, and also improve the quality of samples and prevent errors.
This post “Types of Audit Software” really helpfully explains the various different types of audit software available, and what each is best suited for. Generalized Audit Software, as discussed in this post is what you’ll be looking for if you want to use it for sampling.