This blog is written by Mr. Ahmed Yar Khan, Manager Audit and Assurance Services. Please read this blog of pure technical nature and provide your valued comments.

Audit Risk Model Inherent Risk, Control Risk & Detection Risk


Audit Risk is the risk that an auditor expresses an inappropriate opinion on the financial statements.


Audit risk is the risk that an auditor issues an incorrect opinion on the financial statements. Examples of inappropriate audit opinions include the following:

  • Issuing an unqualified audit report where a qualification is reasonably justified;
  • Issuing a qualified audit opinion where no qualification is necessary;
  • Failing to emphasize a significant matter in the audit report;
  • Providing an opinion on financial statements where no such opinion may be reasonably given due to a significant limitation of scope in the performance of the audit.


Audit Risk   =   Inherent Risk   x   Control Risk   x   Detection Risk

Audit risk may be considered as the product of the various risks which may be encountered in the performance of the audit. In order to keep the overall audit risk of engagements below acceptable limit, the auditor must assess the level of risk pertaining to each component of audit risk.


Explanation of the 3 elements of audit risk is as follows:

Inherent Risk

Inherent Risk is the risk of a material misstatement in the financial statements arising due to error or omission as a result of factors other than the failure of controls (factors that may cause a misstatement due to absence or lapse of controls are considered separately in the assessment of control risk).

Inherent risk is generally considered to be higher where a high degree of judgment and estimation is involved or where transactions of the entity are highly complex.

For example, the inherent risk in the audit of a newly formed financial institution which has a significant trade and exposure in complex derivative instruments may be considered to be significantly higher as compared to the audit of a well-established manufacturing concern operating in a relatively stable competitive environment.

Control Risk

Control Risk is the risk of a material misstatement in the financial statements arising due to absence or failure in the operation of relevant controls of the entity.

Organizations must have adequate internal controls in place to prevent and detect instances of fraud and error. Control risk is considered to be high where the audit entity does not have adequate internal controls to prevent and detect instances of fraud and error in the financial statements.

Assessment of control risk may be higher for example in case of a small sized entity in which segregation of duties is not well defined and the financial statements are prepared by individuals who do not have the necessary technical knowledge of accounting and finance.

Detection Risk

Detection Risk is the risk that the auditors fail to detect a material misstatement in the financial statements.

An auditor must apply audit procedures to detect material misstatements in the financial statements whether due to fraud or error. Misapplication or omission of critical audit procedures may result in a material misstatement remaining undetected by the auditor. Some detection risk is always present due to the inherent limitations of the audit such as the use of sampling for the selection of transactions.

Detection risk can be reduced by auditors by increasing the number of sampled transactions for detailed testing.


Audit risk model is used by the auditors to manage the overall risk of an audit engagement.

Auditors proceed by examining the inherent and control risks pertaining to an audit engagement while gaining an understanding of the entity and its environment.

Detection risk forms the residual risk after taking into consideration the inherent and control risks pertaining to the audit engagement and the overall audit risk that the auditor is willing to accept.

Where the auditor’s assessment of inherent and control risk is high, the detection risk is set at a lower level to keep the audit risk at an acceptable level. Lower detection risk may be achieved by increasing the sample size for audit testing. Conversely, where the auditor believes the inherent and control risks of an engagement to be low, detection risk is allowed to be set at a relatively higher level.

Ahmed Yar Khan