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Reason why ‘completeness’ is a major objective in the audit of liabilities.

It is always emphasized that one of the major audit objectives in the audit of liabilities is that of ‘completeness’ and that auditors should ensure that their audit works adequately cover this objective.

The assertion of completeness is critical for liabilities such as trade creditors and accrual salaries and wages because such liabilities are usually an audit area of significant risk as it is usually easier for a company to understate liabilities (intentionally or in error) than it is to overstate assets. This is because it is harder to identify items that are not there (i.e. gain comfort that the figure of creditors is complete) than it is to prove that a listed item is genuine (i.e. that exists).

Finally, Auditors are more concerned that liabilities may be understated rather than overstated. Management may decide to understate liabilities deliberately to improve something like the current and solvency ratios.

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