Financial statements are the product of company management. An independent auditing firm performs extensive testing of the balances and disclosure reported. Auditors seek to obtain sufficient evidence
that the statements are presented fairly because no material misstatements are present according to U.S. GAAP. When the risk of a material misstatement has been reduced to an acceptably low level, reasonable assurance can be provided. Thus, decision makers can feel safe using the information. Absolute assurance is not humanly possible because all statements contain many estimations and the auditors do not have time (or the need) to examine every transaction. Management can, in some cases, also conceal problems from the auditors. Thus, decision makers need to understand that only reasonable assurance of no material misstatements is possible when examining a set of financial statements.
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