Performance materiality (PM)
- is a quantitative value
- which ensures that the aggregate amount of uncorrected and undetected misstatements
- shall not exceed the materiality level for the financial statements as a whole.
Refer below to understand this statement with an example.
Factors Considered for Calculating Performance Materiality:
Performance Materiality (PM) is calculated as a percentage of materiality.
The Percentage is subjective and dependent on several factors including
- Knowledge obtained from the prior year audit of the same entity,
- Understanding of the client and its industry,
- Auditor Professional Judgement,
- Misstatements or errors noted during the previous year audits etc.
Said differently, Audit team shall choose a percentage which helps in all the aggregate misstatements not exceeding the PM.
In addition to theoretical aspects, we have added performance materiality examples in this article to help in good understanding of the concept PM.
A basic idea of Materiality and what is the requirement to perform audit are prerequisite for a clear understanding of the Performance materiality Concept.
Later on, we can dive into the concept of Performance materiality.
Table of contents
- Factors Considered for Calculating Performance Materiality:
- Further Understanding:
- Do you want to understand this with an example?
- Why and What of Materiality?
- Let us apply the concept of Materiality to our real life scenario.
- First Point that drives the use of Performance Materiality:
- Second Point that drives the use of Performance materiality
- Performance Materiality Calculation:
An auditor plans and perform audit to give opinion in respect of the following
- Whether Financial statements represent a true and fair view (or)
- Records/account balances are correct
So, audited information shall be free from Misstatements.
Note: Misstatements are incorrect information in the books or totally false information. Therefore, it’s an error.
Do you want to understand this with an example?
“Always Trouble” Company recorded house-warming party of Director in the Company books. This is a personal expenditure and recording it in the company books of account is incorrect.
It’s a misstatement. In other words, we can say this an error in the accounting.
Why and What of Materiality?
Have you been wondering why determining Materiality is a prerequisite for performing Audit?
Here’s the answer:
The short answer is it helps in determining the nature, timing, and extent of the Audit.
The Long Answer is
The Auditor will not be able to perform the testing for 100% of the transactions in the books of accounts. This is practically impossible. Here comes Sampling as a rescue technique. Testing a representative portion of the Population is the sampling process, and hence the results from testing are applicable for the whole population. So, sampling technique avoids performing testing for the whole population. Materiality amount indirectly supports in the process of determining the number of Samples. we will learn more on this next section.
Note: Sampling is applicable only for homogeneous population.
How about an example here?
For instance, assume a company “Failure Partners” having a turnover of $10 Million in the current financial year. The number of invoices raised by the company for the sales is 1 Million. This info is for only one of the several account balances which are under audit. Assume there are some 100 GL accounts in the books of company. Then the number of invoice or similar supporting documents equals to 100 Million (Approximately).
Can the Auditor be able to test each voucher and inspects the relevant supports for all the account balances?
The answer would be no. In other words, it’s not possible for audit team to vouch and trace all those amounts to supports. So, sampling procedure helps auditor by reducing the extent of testing and thereby auditor obtains the reasonable assurance that the financial information represent a true and fair.
Also Read: Trade vs Non Trade Payable
Let us apply the concept of Materiality to our real life scenario.
Do we worry if we lose just $1 or $100? The answer would be $100, right?
Now, we will think of this in audit terms. Will auditor worries if the company does not record an expense of $100 or $10,000? The answer would be absolutely $10,000.
The higher the number, the greater will be the risk for Auditor.
So, Auditor determines Materiality for each of the company under audit. This helps to filter out the material account balances that are of audit importance. Even if there are errors in the account balances which are immaterial, it will not affect the audit opinion on the financials or financial information under audit. Hence, auditor will not concern about those immaterial balances
From the above, we gained a good understanding of the Materiality and its application during the audit. Now, lets understand the performance materiality concept. Below two points help us in understanding the need of performance materiality. Later on, we will understand the performance materiality definition.
First Point that drives the use of Performance Materiality:
Performance Materiality is a key metric in determining the number of samples that needs to be tested.
Dividing the Population (which means account balance which Auditor is testing) by a threshold is the first step for sample calculation. Here the threshold that’s employed is Performance Materiality. Based on the Multiple values of PM, the Auditor will decide the number of samples that are tested.
Are you wondering why shouldn’t we take Materiality here instead of performance materiality?
Read on the Calculations section below to understand this.
The number of Samples to test will also depend on other factors like risk of the account balance tested and whether Internal Controls in the entity are designed and operating effectively. Said differently if the risk is lower and controls at the entity process are operating effectively then the number of samples considered for testing will be lower. The actual number depends on auditor professional judgement or can be driven by applicable statue.
As we are trying to understand the use of PM, we will apply multiple of PM as the only factor for deriving sample size and assuming the other factors does not contribute much to the sample size calculation.
Assume the following data for a entity “Losses Hub Company”:
- Materiality is $40,000
- Performance Materiality is $26,000
- Account Balance Population is $14,000
Note: Auditor determines materiality depending on benchmark such as revenue, net profit or cash flows. Therefore, Materiality is a percentage on those benchmark which is most appealing to the entity as per Auditor Professional Knowledge.
We will determine the multiple of threshold which is the first step of sampling process
Scenario I: Multiple of PM’s = $14,000/$26,000 = 0.5384 ~ 1 (Round up Value)
What if we use Materiality instead of PM?
Scenario II: Multiple of M’s = $14,000/$40,000 = 0
In the Second Scenario, the Multiple of Materiality is 0. The Auditor will not perform an
audit of that GL balance. However, in the first scenario Auditor will test it as the PM Multiple is 1.
So, having a lower denominator will help the Auditor to perform more testing. It results in
a lower risk of misstatements in the Audit. Testing of higher samples will provide more reliable audit evidence.
Pro Tip: It’s always a good practice to round up the Performance Materiality Multiple for
performing testing. So, even if the value is 0.2, it’s better to round up the number to one and do an Audit
Second Point that drives the use of Performance materiality
We shall understand the types of misstatements first. There are two types of misstatements.
- Detected Misstatements
- Undetected Misstatements
Detected misstatements could be corrected or uncorrected.
Corrected Misstatements are the ones that management agreed to correct as adjustments (also called as True ups) made after books are closed.
Example: Auditors finds that the company records the next year’s expenses in the current year. Audit team informs the management about the error, and the finance manager corrects it by posting the entry as prepaid expenses. Therefore, there is no audit risk for these misstatements because it’s a corrected misstatement.
Uncorrected Misstatements are the ones that management is aware, but not willing to correct them.
What could be such an instance of uncorrected Misstatements?
For instance, we will continue with the same above example with an amount as $5K. Management believes that it is of immaterial value and is reluctant to correct it. The audit team’s Point of view is that it shall be corrected with due regard to its nature. Such errors are called uncorrected misstatements
Undetected Misstatements: Similarly to the above, these are also misstatements which does not come to the attention of auditors. But, auditors will not be able to detect all the Misstatements (either Error or Omission). Such misstatements are called undetected misstatements.
Audit team will not be able to test 100% population. Sampling procedures are adopted. As such, there are chances of not picking transactions with errors or misstatements. This results in detected misstatements.
Now, we will come back to the second point for the use of Performance Materiality.
There could be a chance that the Undetected Misstatement exceeds Materiality. Therefore, Auditors need a buffer point to be conservative while giving assurance that the Financials are true and fair. Performance materiality gives that buffer.
Having a lower threshold will result in more sample testing, thereby leaving lesser room for undetected misstatements. Said Differently, Testing more samples results in higher chance of aggregate of such undetected misstatements not exceeding the Materiality. So, Performance materiality helps Auditor to ensure that the undetected misstatements are minimal.
How about an example here?
For example, consider the following:
Materiality is $40,000
Uncorrected misstatements and undetected misstatements are $10,000 and $35,000.
Total Misstatements are $45,000, which is higher than Materiality. If the Auditor uses Performance Materiality (Lower level of the threshold for testing) instead of Materiality, then Auditor might have detected more misstatements. To conclude, irrespective of whether those being detected/undetected or corrected/uncorrected, sampling based on performance materiality results in less probability of having undetected misstatements.
Now let us read the Performance materiality definition with due consideration of above example
PM ensures that the aggregate amount of uncorrected and undetected misstatements shall not exceed the materiality level for the financial statements as a whole.
The above example helps in understanding the PM definition. In other words, we can conclude that performance materiality reduces the auditor risk.
Above all, audit is to assure the users of financial information that there are no material misstatements in financials. So, Performance materiality helps in achieving this objective.
Performance Materiality Calculation:
Calculation of the Performance materiality is on a percentage of materiality. However, arriving that percentage is a subjective matter and depends on the following:
- Prior year Misstatements
- Nature and Extent of such misstatements
- Results of Risk assessment performed
- Auditor’s understanding of the entity and its environment
We will understand the PM Calculation with an example. Let us assume that XYZ Company has net income of $100 M. From understanding of the Company and previous year audits, its determined that net income of the company is appropriate benchmark.
Net Income = $100M
Material Percentage = 2%
Materiality = $100M *2% = $2M
Note: Auditors Professional Judgement is a key consideration to determine the applicable percentage on the Materiality benchmark. Also another key factor for Performance Materiality calculation is the industry in which the entity operates. For instance, 2% of Net income is appropriate for trading industry. However, 1% of Net income might be appropriate for IT industry. So, there is no fixed formula to determine this percentage. It all depends on the factors mentioned above.
Auditor determines that tolerable misstatements shall not exceed 20% of materiality. Tolerable misstatement is the monetary amount set by auditor in such a way that it does not exceeds aggregate of actual misstatements. So, the Performance Materiality is 80% of materiality.
Therefore, Performance materiality is $2M*80% = $1.6M
Performance Materiality acts as first level of safety measurement for audit team to be alert of the misstatements or errors. Performance Materiality number is always less than the Materiality.
All the Misstatements might not be detected as part of performance of audit procedures. So, there might be a chance of all misstatements both detected and undetected together might exceed the Materiality number. Therefore, a threshold lower than that of Materiality is used for sampling procedures and results in testing higher number of samples.
We hope this article helped in understanding the Performance materiality, its definition and calculations. Let us know your questions in the comments.