SUMMARY

This paper examines the materiality guidance for eight of the largest U.S. public accounting firms. Knowledge of how materiality guidance is integrated into a firm's methodology is important for accounting and auditing researchers as well as for practitioners, regulators, and educators. Our results show a high level of consistency across the firms in terms of the quantitative benchmarks (e.g., income before taxes, total assets or revenues, and total equity) used to determine overall materiality, the related percentages applied to those benchmarks, the percentages applied to overall materiality for determining tolerable misstatement, and what constitutes a clearly trivial misstatement. We also find that the firms' guidance for evaluating detected misstatements, including qualitative factors and firm guidance for group audits, is consistent across firms. However, there are differences in how the firms consider the possibility of undetected misstatements when evaluating detected misstatements. The results of this study provide important insights into implementation of standards and valuable information for future research and education.

Data Availability: The data used are proprietary to the firms and are not available for distribution.

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