• Materiality: Expenditure such as motor vehicle expenses may be so small that no conceivable error may affect the true and fair view of the accounts as a whole.

  • The number of items in a population. If these are few (for example land and buildings) 100% check may be economical.

  • Reliability of other forms of evidence: Analytical review (e.g. wages relate closely to number of employees, budgets, previous years) -Proof in total (VAT calculations). If other evidence is very strong, then a detailed check of population (100% of a sample may be necessary).

  • Cost and time consideration: Can be relevant in choosing between evidence seeking methods.

  • A combination of evidence seeking methods is often the optimal solution.

When not to sample

  1. When populations are small. In cases it is more economical and effective to test the entire population.

  2. For transactions, or balances, though few in number are of great significance in terms of materiality.

  3. Any situation where the auditor is put on enquiry as a result of earlier tests or information received. E.g. where the auditor has received some indication of material fraud in a certain accounting area.

  4. For statutory disclosure items such as directors salaries where a full audit check will be desirable despite the relative materiality of the items concerned.

  5. For non-homogeneous populations where sorting of the information will have to take place before sampling can be attempted.