9-25 a. The justification for a lower preliminary judgment about materiality for overstatements is directly related to legal liability and audit risk. Most auditors believe they have a greater legal and professional responsibility to discover overstatements of owners' equity than understatements because users are likely to be more critical of overstatements. That does not imply there is no responsibility for understatements.
b. There are two reasons for permitting the sum of tolerable misstatements to exceed overall materiality. First, it is unlikely that all accounts will be misstated by the full amount of tolerable misstatement. Second, some accounts are likely to be overstated while others are likely to be understated, resulting in net misstatement that is likely to be less than overall materiality.
c. This results because of the estimate of sampling error for each account. For example, the likely estimate of accounts receivable is an understatement of $7,500 + or - a sampling error of $11,500. You would be most concerned about understatement for accounts receivable because the estimated understatement of $19,000 exceeds the tolerable misstatement of $18,000 for that account.
d. You would be most concerned about understatement amounts since the total estimated understatement amount ($30,000) exceeds the preliminary judgment about materiality for understatements ($20,000). You would be most concerned about accounts receivable given that the total misstatement for that account exceeds tolerable misstatement for understatement.