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[The following paragraph was effective for audits of financial statements for periods beginning on or after January 1, 1989. It was amended, effective for audits of fiscal years beginning on or after December 15, 2010. See PCAOB Release No. 2010-004.

Return to the current version.]


As discussed in section 312, Audit Risk and Materiality in Conducting an Audit, paragraph .36, the auditor evaluates the reasonableness of accounting estimates in relationship to the financial statements taken as a whole:

Since no one accounting estimate can be considered accurate with certainty, the auditor recognizes that a difference between an estimated amount best supported by the audit evidence and the estimated amount included in the financial statements may be reasonable, and such difference would not be considered to be a likely misstatement. However, if the auditor believes the estimated amount included in the financial statements is unreasonable, he should treat the difference between that estimate and the closest reasonable estimate as a likely misstatement and aggregate it with other likely misstatements. The auditor should also consider whether the difference between estimates best supported by the audit evidence and the estimates included in the financial statements, which are individually reasonable, indicate a possible bias on the part of the entity's management. For example, if each accounting estimate included in the financial statements was individually reasonable, but the effect of the difference between each estimate and the estimate best supported by the audit evidence was to increase income, the auditor should reconsider the estimates taken as a whole.