What are Audit Assertions?
Audit assertions involve procedures usually used by the auditors to test a company’s guidelines, policies, internal controls, and financial reporting processes. These assertions are the explicit or implicit representations and claims made by the management of a company during the preparation of financial statements of their company.
The audit assertions are primarily regarding the correctness of the different elements of the financial statements and the disclosures of a company. Audit Assertions are also referred to as Financial Statement Assertions and Management Assertions.
Different Categories of Assertions
Audit assertions can be broadly listed into three general categories of assertions which are listed below:
- Account Balances – These assertions are generally pertaining to the end of period balance sheet accounts such as assets, liabilities and equity balances.
- Classes of Transactions – These assertions are usually used for income statement accounts.
- Presentation and Disclosure – These assertions deal with presentation and disclosure of different accounts in the financial statements.
Audit Assertions Related to Account Balances
The audit assertions list pertaining to Account balances can be further sub-categorized into the following:
#1 – Existence
This refers to the fact that the assets, the liabilities and the equity balances mentioned in the books actually exist at the end of the accounting period. This assertion is critical for the asset accounts because it is a reflection of the strength of the company.
#2 – Completeness
This refers to the fact that the assets, the liabilities and the equity balances, which were supposed to be recognized, have been recorded in the financial statements. It is to be noted that leaving out any of the aspects of an account can lead to the wrong representation of the financial health of the company.
#3 – Rights & Obligations
This pertains to the confirmation of the fact that the entity has the right to ownership of the assets and the obligations for the liabilities recorded in the financial statements of the entity.
#4 – Valuation
This type of assertion is related to the proper valuation of the assets, the liabilities, and the equity balances. Valuation of the balance sheet items must be correct as overvalued or undervalued accounts will result in the wrong representation of the financial facts. It is important that the valuation is done properly to reflect a true and fair position of the financial position of the company.
Audit Assertions Related to Classes of Transactions
The audit assertions list pertaining to classes of transactions can be further sub-categorized into the following:
#1 – Occurrence
This refers to the fact that all the transactions recorded in the financial statements have actually occurred and are related to the stated entity.
#2 – Completeness
This is pertaining to the fact that all the transactions which were supposed to be recognized have been recorded in the financial statements completely and comprehensively.
#3 – Accuracy
This refers to the fact that all the transactions have been recognized accurately at their correct amounts. For instance, any adjustments required have been correctly reconciled and accounted for in the statements.
#4 – Cut-off
This refers to the fact that all the transactions have been recorded in the appropriate accounting periods. Transactions like prepaid and accrued expenses have to be recognized correctly in the financial statements.
#5 – Classification
This type of assertion is to confirm that all the transactions have been classified and presented properly in the financial statements.
Audit Assertions Related to Presentation and Disclosure
The audit assertions list pertaining to Presentation and Disclosure can be further sub-categorized into the following:
#1 – Occurrence
This audit assertion refers to the presentation of all the transactions and the disclosure of all the events in the financial statements and confirms that they have occurred and are related to the entity.
#2 – Completeness
This is pertaining to all transactions, events, balances and other matters that should be disclosed in the financial statements and confirms their appropriate disclosure.
#3 – Classification & Understandability
This audit assertion type is related to the comprehensiveness of the disclosed events, balances, transactions and other financial matters. It confirms that all have been classified correctly and presented clearly in such a manner that helps in the understanding of the information contained in the financial statements.
#4 – Accuracy & Valuation
This assertion confirms that the transactions, balances, events and other similar financial matters have been correctly disclosed at their appropriate amounts.
Relevance and Uses of Audit Assertions
The understanding of the audit assertions is very important from the point of view of investors because almost every financial metric that is used to evaluate a company’s stock is verified through these assertions. The audit assertions are carried out to verify the financial figures that are computed using data from the company’s financial statements. If in case the figures are inaccurate, then that would obviously result in a misrepresentation of the financial metrics, which includes the price-to-book ratio (P/B) or earnings per share (EPS).
These are few of the financial metrics which are being commonly used by analysts and investors to evaluate the company stocks. During the process of an audit of a company’s financial statements, the main idea of an auditor is to check and confirm the reliability of the facts and the figures recognized in the financial statements and capture the facts truly and fairly in the audit assertions.
This has been a guide to what is Audit Assertions. Here we discuss the top three general categories and lists of assertions in Audit (Account balances, classes of transactions, presentation, and disclosure). You may learn more about our articles below on accounting –