Absolute assurance in audit is the level of assurance whereby audit concludes that no misstatement is in financial statements. This level of assurance implies that the auditor is sure 100% that the financial statements are free from material misstatements.
Absolute assurance in auditing cannot be reached due to the following reasons:
- The audit process is based on sampling. During the audit, auditors sometimes audit part of transactions or balances and conclude the results on the whole transaction or balances. This leaves some risk that the items not included in the sample may include misstatements (sampling risk).
- Internal control of the organization on which the auditor bases some of his conclusions may have weaknesses which may lead to undetected material misstatements.
- The financial statements are prepared on estimations and judgement which makes it impossible to have the conclusive single figures in some transactions or balances.
- The audit evidence is persuasive rather than conclusive.
In auditing is only possible to provide reasonable assurance, which is the highest level of assurance which can be provided in the audit. In reasonable assurance, the audit collects sufficient and appropriate audit evidence to reduce the risk of material misstatement in the financial statement to a low acceptable level.