Stockholders, creditors, and private investors often need assurance that the financial statements accurately represent the true financial position of a company.
Your stockholders, creditors, or private investors have different levels of risk tolerance, so we provide three levels of assurance to meet your needs.
Audit - Highest Level of Assurance
An audit provides the highest level of assurance. An audit is a methodical review and objective examination of the financial statements, including the verification of specific information as determined by the auditor or as established by general practice.
Our work includes a review of internal controls, testing of selected transactions, and communication with third parties. Based on our findings, we issue a report on whether the financial statements are fairly stated and free of material misstatements.
An Audit allows you to...
Here's what you get...
You get the highest level of assurance because we go outside your company to obtain more information. Typically, we'll have written communication with:
We also perform physical inspections by observing your inventory counting methods and perform test counts. We document and test each operating cycle, including sales and cash receipts, expenses and cash disbursements, and payroll. Our audit papers include a detailed work program to document the examinations and testing performed, as well as the client's supporting work papers.
Audits Not Just for Public Entities
All public companies are required to have an annual audit, but some nonpublic entities must undergo an annual audit as well. These include local governments, not-for-profit agencies and other organizations receiving government grants.
Moreover, some financial institutions require audits of nonpublic companies based on the financing amount and/or the bank's assessment of the company's risk. Also, companies with absentee ownership (such as those owned by investment firms, or individuals who no longer run the business) may order audits as checks of their management teams.
Review - Limited Assurance
Less extensive than an audit, but more involved than a compilation, a review engagement consists primarily of analytical procedures we apply to the financial statements, and various inquiries we make of your company's management team. If the financial statements or supporting information appear inconsistent or otherwise questionable, we may need to perform additional procedures.
A review doesn't require us to study and evaluate your company's internal controls or verify data with third parties or physically inspect assets. Rather, a review report expresses limited assurance in the form of the statement: "We are not aware of any material modifications" for the financial statements to be in conformity with the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Reviewed financial statements must include all required footnotes and other disclosures.
Why might a business request a review engagement? It can be a good middle ground, providing the advantages of a CPA's technical expertise without the work and expense of an audit.
Compilation - Lowest Level of Reporting
In compiling financial statements for a client, we present information that is the "representation of management" and expresses no opinion or assurance on the statements. Compilations don't require inquiries of management or analytical procedures. Instead, we rely on our knowledge of accounting principles and a general understanding of your business. We read the financial statements and consider whether they appear appropriate in form and free from obvious material misstatements.
Banks often require compilations from an independent CPA as part of their lending covenants.
Preparation - Lowest Level of Service
When preparing financial statements for a client, we present information that is the "representation of management" and express no option or assurance on the statement. Preparation engagements don't require inquiries of management, analytical procedures or reading the financial statements to consider whether they appear appropriate in form and free from obvious material misstatements. Financial statements in a preparation engagement must have a disclaimer on them such as "These financial statements have not been subjected to an audit or review or compilation engagement, and no assurance is provided on them." The CPA does not issue a report on the financial statements.
Management and owners may find a preparation engagement useful to provide information in the form of financial statements for internal use.
Which Level Should You Use?
Each level of financial statement services may suit specific circumstances, depending on requirements from your client's bank or other parties, as well as meet budgetary needs.
Understanding each report's unique strengths and weaknesses can help you choose the most appropriate one. Please call if you have questions about which type of report is right for you.