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Empirical evidence from an inter-industry descriptive analysis of overall materiality measures

Published Online:pp 247-267

This study presents an empirical cross-industry descriptive analysis of overall quantitative materiality measures. We examine the behaviour of four commonly used quantitative materiality measures within and across industries with respect to their size, relative size and stability, over ten years. The sample consists of large- and medium-sized European companies, representing 24 different industry categories for the years 1998 through 2007 (a total sample of over 36,000 data points). Our results show that these four materiality measures are variable with respect to size and stability over time, both across industries and to a lesser extent within industries. There are similarities to, and differences from, the results of US-based research two decades earlier. Our results suggest that fruitful avenues for future research may exist both cross-sectionally and longitudinally-cross-sectionally, in investigating the relationship between industry membership, characteristic business processes in a specific industry, and materiality measures; longitudinally, in identifying the main drivers that contribute to the volatility of these materiality measures over a period of time.


auditing, Europe, risk, materiality, industry


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