Discuss and provide relevant exampl

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Discuss and provide relevant exampl


Sampling techniques are essential tools in the auditor’s toolkit, facilitating the efficient and effective examination of large populations to draw conclusions about their characteristics. Two primary approaches to sampling in auditing are statistical and non-statistical sampling. While both methods serve the overarching goal of obtaining audit evidence, they differ significantly in their methodologies, applications, and interpretations of results. This article aims to elucidate the distinctions between statistical and non-statistical sampling, providing relevant examples to illustrate their respective concepts and applications in auditing.

Statistical Sampling:

Statistical sampling involves the use of mathematical principles and techniques to select samples from a population in a systematic and random manner. The objective of statistical sampling is to provide auditors with a quantifiable level of confidence in the results obtained from the sample and allow for the extrapolation of those results to the entire population. Statistical sampling is typically applied in situations where auditors seek to achieve a high level of precision and reliability in their sample results.


Consider an auditor conducting an inventory audit for a large manufacturing company. The auditor decides to use statistical sampling to select a random sample of inventory items for testing. By applying statistical formulas and calculations, the auditor determines the appropriate sample size based on factors such as population size, desired confidence level, and tolerable error rate. The auditor then selects inventory items randomly from the warehouse to ensure representativeness and evaluates the sample results using statistical techniques to draw conclusions about the accuracy and completeness of the entire inventory.

Non-Statistical Sampling:

Non-statistical sampling, also known as judgmental sampling, relies on the auditor’s judgment, experience, and expertise to select samples based on subjective criteria. Unlike statistical sampling, non-statistical sampling does not involve random selection or quantifiable measures of sampling risk. Instead, auditors use their professional judgment to determine sample size and select items they believe are most relevant to achieving audit objectives. Non-statistical sampling is typically applied in situations where auditors seek flexibility and adaptability in sample selection and evaluation.


Suppose an auditor is conducting a compliance audit for a small retail store to assess adherence to internal control procedures. The auditor decides to use non-statistical sampling and selects a sample of sales transactions for testing based on factors such as transaction value, customer type, and transaction date. The auditor exercises judgment in selecting transactions that are likely to be representative of the store’s sales activities and potential areas of risk. The auditor then evaluates the sample results qualitatively, considering factors such as consistency, completeness, and compliance with established procedures, to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of internal controls.

Differences and Considerations:

Objective vs. Subjective Selection:

Statistical sampling relies on objective criteria and random selection, while non-statistical sampling relies on the auditor’s judgment and discretion.

Quantifiable Measures vs. Qualitative Assessments:

Statistical sampling provides quantifiable measures of sampling risk and precision, whereas non-statistical sampling involves qualitative assessments of sample results based on auditors’ professional judgment.

Efficiency vs. Flexibility:

Statistical sampling offers efficiency and precision but may require specialized knowledge of statistical techniques. Non-statistical sampling offers flexibility and adaptability but may be susceptible to bias and subjectivity.


In conclusion, statistical and non-statistical sampling represent two distinct approaches to sampling in auditing, each with its own set of characteristics, advantages, and considerations. Understanding the differences between these two approaches is essential for auditors to select the most appropriate sampling method based on audit objectives, resources, and the nature of the population being examined. By leveraging the strengths of both statistical and non-statistical sampling, auditors can gather evidence effectively, draw reliable conclusions, and provide stakeholders with confidence in the integrity of financial reporting.