Empirical Analysis of Danish Companies and Users of the Financial Statement View on Materiality

Nick Brix Kjelmann

Student thesis: Master thesis


Materiality is determined by the auditor’s supposition and professional judgment of when a misstatement reasonably can be expected to impact the economic choices of users taken on the foundation of the financial statements. The determination of materiality can therefore not be considered as an uncomplicated mechanical formula, but involves the auditor’s professional judgments.
The purpose of this thesis is first to clarify whether the current weighting of criteria for determining materiality in the audit of financial statements matches the needs of companies and users of the financial statement. Secondly, discuss whether the concept of materiality can be further improved by implementing additional measures. On the basis of this, a questionnaire survey was conducted to examine how users of the financial statement assess the existing quantitative benchmarks and related percentages as well as the qualitative factors, including the priority of these.
Survey answers from 197 Danish companies and users of the financial statement shows that 79 % of those had prior knowledge of the concept of materiality, and that the respondents gain knowledge of the concept of materiality through either high education or an auditor. For the majority of the companies and users of the financial statement the determination of materiality should continue to impact both quantitative benchmarks and qualitative factors. Additionally, the results showed that respondents were satisfied with the current benchmarks and related percentages as these were evaluated highest in relation to a possible upward or downward adjustment of the current percentages. In relation to the qualitative factors, the company’s internal factors were assessed and prioritized to be of greatest importance to the respondents. Particularly qualitative factors such as the company's nature, internal control and accounting policies were considered very significant, while socio-economic factors were assessed to be least significant. Finally the results shows that the respondents wants more transparency and communication in the context of the materiality assessment, as the majority of respondents demand clearer and uniform guidelines as well as disclosure of the auditor's applied materiality level.

EducationsMSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages81
SupervisorsJørgen Valther Hansen