Accurate and understandable financial statement are necessary to gauge how well your business has performed and to assess the strength of its financial position. Below is an overview of the types of financial statement engagements we can provide along with an overview of assurance services.
If you decide to have a CPA prepare your financial statements, he can do so in any frequency that is most useful for you. Typically, this service is performed in conjunction with bookkeeping or transaction processing services and can be monthly, quarterly or annually. The financial statements are prepared in accordance with an acceptable financial reporting framework. If you’re not sure which reporting framework to use, your CPA can explain the pros and cons of each and the best fit for your business.
The financial statement preparation service is primarily intended for your own use to have current information on the financial standing of your business and to make decisions accordingly. In essence this service is no different from what an in-house controller or CFO would provide to management in a larger company.
You can share your financial statements with outside parties but on each page, your CPA will include a notice that “no assurance is provided” on the financial statements.
Because your CPA will prepare your financial statements directly from the records you provide, the CPA will not verify the accuracy or completeness of the information and is not required to issue a formal report on the financial statements.
Intended for use by lenders and other outside parties who may appreciate the business’s association with a CPA without requiring a level of assurance on the accuracy of financial statements
Typically appropriate when initial or lower amounts of financing or credit are sought or significant collateral is in place
CPA issues compilation report
Compilation of financial statements is a service where the role of the CPA is more apparent to outside parties, and as such, the requirements for performing this service are more explicit. For example, if the CPA is not independent from ownership, management and other circumstances in their relationship to you and your business, she is required to disclose the impairment to her independence in her compilation report. The compilation report is the first page before the actual financial statements and is written by the CPA on her firm’s letterhead.
The CPA is also required to read the financial statements in light of the financial reporting framework being used and consider whether the financial statements appear appropriate in form and are free from obvious material misstatements.
Intended to provide lenders and other outside parties with a basic level of assurance on the accuracy of financial statements.
Typically, a Review is appropriate as a business grows and is seeking larger and more complex levels of financing and credit.
The review service is one in which the CPA performs analytical procedures, inquiries and other procedures to obtain “limited assurance” on the financial statements and is intended to provide a user with a level of comfort on their accuracy. The review is the base level of CPA assurance services.
Similar to a compilation, the CPA is required to determine whether he is truly independent. If he determines that he is not independent, the CPA cannot perform the review engagement.
In a review engagement, your CPA is required to understand the industry in which you operate — including the accounting principles and practices generally used in the industry. Your CPA is also required to obtain knowledge about you — including your business and the accounting principles and practices that you use — sufficient to identify areas in the financial statements where it is more likely that material misstatements may arise.
A review is substantially narrower in scope than an audit. A review does not contemplate obtaining an understanding of your business’s internal control; assessing fraud risk; testing accounting records through inspection, observation, outside confirmation or the examination of source documents or other procedures ordinarily performed in an audit.
In a review engagement, the CPA will issue a formal report that includes a conclusion as to whether, based on the review, he is aware of any material modifications that should be made to the financial statements in order for them to be in accordance with the applicable financial reporting framework.
A review typically is appropriate as a business grows and is seeking larger and more complex levels of financing and credit. It is also useful when you, as the business owner, are seeking greater confidence in your financial statements for the purpose of evaluating results and making key business decisions.