View Complete Reference

Cleary, R and Thibodeau, JC (2005)

Applying Digital Analysis Using Benford‘s Law to Detect Fraud: The Dangers of Type I Errors

Auditing - A Journal of Practice & Theory 24(1), pp. 77-81.

ISSN/ISBN: 0278-0380 DOI: 10.2308/aud.2005.24.1.77

Abstract: At first glance the application of digital analysis using Benford’s Law holds great promise as a fraud detection process. However, a closer look at the underlying statistical assumptions reveals that auditors seeking to use Benford’s Law must be aware of the costs of the potential Type I errors that can occur during the analysis stage. For example, statistical considerations indicate that there is a far greater chance of making a Type I error if the Benford’s Law analysis is completed on a “digit-by-digit” basis, as compared to the “test-by-test” basis typically employed by statisticians. In this paper, we explain the merits of each choice in terms of statistical concepts and practical audit process considerations.

@article{, author = {Cleary, Richard and Thibodeau, Jay C.}, title = {Applying Digital Analysis Using Benford's Law to Detect Fraud: The Dangers of Type I Errors}, journal = {AUDITING: A Journal of Practice \& Theory}, volume = {24}, number = {1}, pages = {77--81}, year = {2005}, doi = {10.2308/aud.2005.24.1.77}, URL = {}, }

Reference Type: Journal Article

Subject Area(s): Accounting