What is the Audit Report?
Once an external auditor finishes the auditing of a company, he goes ahead and formulates a report where he consolidates all the findings, observations and how he thinks the financial statements of the company are reported; this report is called audit report.
Audit Report is a written opinion of the reliability of the financial statements of the business and is provided by the chartered accountants auditing the company.
The format of the audit report is fixed as per the generally accepted auditing standards. But certain changes are allowed to be made as per the requirement of the auditor which depends upon the audit work circumstances.
Audit Report Opinion Types
Let us discuss the following types.
#1 – Clean Opinion
An auditor gives an unqualified opinion, also known as unqualified opinion if according to him the financial statements are true and fair and there is no material misstatement in them.
#2 – Qualified Opinion
This type of audit report opinion is given by the auditor if in the financial statements there is no material misrepresentation but they are not prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).
#3 – Adverse Opinion
This is the worst type is the adverse opinion that an auditor can give. It reflects that the financial statements of an entity are materially misstated, misrepresented, and do not reflect its correct financial performance.
#4 – Disclaimer of Opinion
In case the auditor fails to frame an opinion about the financial statements of the company then he gives a disclaimer of opinion. The reason for the disclaimer can be the lack of audit evidence or the restriction by the client to examine all the records etc.
The auditor issues the audit report to the users of the entity’s financial statements. All the investors and lenders require a clean report before investing in the business. It is mandatory for the public companies to attach the audit report with the financial statements before filing it with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The audit report includes the following contents.
#1 – Title: The title should be an ‘Independent Auditor’s Report’.
#2 – Addressee: It should be mentioned to whom the auditor’s report is given to. For example in the case of a company auditor’s report is addressed to the members of the company.
#3 – Management Responsibility: After Addressee the management responsibility towards the financial statement is to be written which includes the responsibility of management towards the preparation and presentation of financial statements.
#4 – Auditor’s Responsibility: After management responsibility auditor’s responsibility is to be written which includes their responsibility to issue an unbiased opinion on the financial statements.
#5 – Opinion: Then the auditor is required to write his own audit report opinion on the truth and fairness of the financial statements specifying the basis of such opinion.
#6 – Basis of Opinion: The basis of the fact is to be stated.
#7 – Other Reporting Responsibility: After all the above points if there is any other reporting responsibility that exists then the same is required to be mentioned such as Report on Other Legal and Regulatory Requirements.
#8 – Signature: Then the signature is to be done by the engagement partner of the audit firm and below that the name of the engagement partner and the audit firm is to be written.
#9 – Place and Date: Then finally the place of signature and the date of signing are to be mentioned.
Suppose there is a company named XYZ in the U.S. As per the law prevailing in the U.S., XYZ is required to appoint an outside auditor who has to review its financial statements so as to ensure the accurateness of the financial statements.
After reviewing the financial statements of the company, the auditor will then issue the auditor’s report reflecting the opinion of the auditor about the accuracy of the financial statements along with its conformity to GAAP.
Advantages of the Audit Report
- The management is different from the auditor so the auditor is independent to give his decision. So the auditor’s report can provide the knowledge about the integrity and honesty of the management i.e. whether the management of the company is true toward the company’s shareholders or not.
- It provides assurance on the financial statements as it is issued by the professional having an unbiased opinion as he is not a part of the management of the company. This report helps the users of the financial statements to get assured of the truth and fairness of the financial statement.
- It helps the stakeholders to get knowledge about the operational and financial position of the company. It helps the stakeholders to know the future prospects of the company as an auditor is required to report in its audit report if there are some issues with the company which can affect its going concern. The problem affecting going concern can be the financial or non-financial problems that can make the company face
Disadvantages/Limitation of Audit Reports
- Sometimes management does not provide auditor full access to the audit evidence. As per the auditing standards management should provide all the information that is demanded by the auditor but in real life, the management may prevent the auditor to get access to the sensitive information as they may have doubts on the confidentiality of the auditor. These kinds of problems may affect the quality of the auditor’s opinion.
- It is required that the auditor should be independent of their client. But sometimes the client may influence the auditor which results in the issuance of the incorrect report by the auditor.
- Time constraint is again an issue faced by the auditor. In real practice, the auditor does not get enough time to perform their audit procedures, as a result, there is a chance that errors and frauds remained undetected.
- The opinion of the auditor mostly covers the financial statements prepared for the period of 12 months or 1 financial year. This report is then used by the stakeholders, management, investors, the board of directors, the government body, lenders and other parties having their interest in the business.
- This is used by the investors to assess the financial performance of the entity as on the basis of that only they will decide whether to invest in that company or not.
- This is used by the Government agency to assess accuracy and completeness of tax declaration and to check that there is no tax evasion.
- It is used by the Shareholders and the board of directors for assessing the transparency of the financial statement and integrity of the management.
For the companies, it is mandatory to get their financial statements audited. As discussed above, the auditor after performing audit procedures issues an audit report which can be one out of the four types of opinions depending upon the nature of material misrepresentation or misstatement detected by the auditor and if no misstatement is detected then the auditor issues a clean report.
This has been a guide to what is the Audit Report and its definition. Here we discuss the importance of audit reports, along with examples, advantages & disadvantages. You can learn more about from the following articles –