Can auditor provide absolute assurance if ideal situation is given?


We must be clear that auditor is neither expected nor required by the International Standards on Auditing to provide absolute assurance i.e. auditor is not expected even to put an effort to be able to provide absolute assurance.

Auditor is unable to provide absolute assurance because of inherent limitations of audit therefore, auditor is at most can provide reasonable assurance by expressing opinion in the written auditor’s (audit) report.

Even for the sake of discussion whether absolute assurance is possible under ideal situations, it will require that inherent limitations of audit must be removed and every factor that limits the auditor from expressing absolute assurance must be resolved. Only then absolute assurance can be imagined. So before even if someone dreams about absolute assurance he must first realize about inherent limitations of audit and thinks about terminating such limitations. To learn about inherent limitations of audit and understanding why auditor is so limited to reasonable assurance please refer to QnA What is meant by inherent limitations of audit and what are those?

However, users while deriving confidence out of auditor’s opinion do not expect absoluteness as even the financial statements are not absolute and above that the decisions related to their future economic benefits is not absolute. So even trying for absoluteness is too much to ask for as it is really not required.