Audits are the highest level of financial statement service that a CPA firm can offer. HMW CPAs & Associates, LLC audits primarily government agencies and non-profits. We have licensed municipal auditors on our staff both as Partner and Managers, as well as several junior audit staff.
Audits are usually performed because an outside third party requires an auditor’s opinion on the financial statements. Audits are performed for the purpose of expressing an opinion about whether the financial statements are fairly presented and that they conform with generally accepted accounting principles or another financial reporting framework.
Audits are the most comprehensive of all the attest services. Auditing procedures include testing accounting records and examining evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Evidence is obtained through inquiries, analytical procedures, physical inspection, observation, and through independent confirmation. Additionally, audits require an understanding of the entity and its internal controls.
There are certain assurances that audits are not designed to provide. An audit does not provide assurance on or aim to identify deficiencies in internal control. The work performed as part of an audit does give us an understanding of how your company and financial reporting function. This means we may be able to identify issues related to internal controls, processes, inefficiencies, cash flows problems as well as company and industry trends. As a result, the work performed during an audit may allow us to provide you with general business advice based on the insights gained during the engagement.
Reviews are usually performed to satisfy third parties that want to be assured that the financial statements are not materially misstated. They provide a lesser degree of assurance to financial statement users than an audit. Also, unlike an audit, there is no expression of an opinion on the financial statements, testing of controls or financial data. Reviews essentially consist of inquiries of company personnel and analytical procedures applied to financial data.
Compilations provide the lowest level of assurance of the financial statements services. They are often required by outside third parties as well as internally by companies.
In a compilation we assist management in presenting their financial information as financial statements in the proper form. Compilations also require us to acquire an understanding of the client’s industry and to obtain specific knowledge about the client. Additionally, we read the financial statements and ensure they are free from obvious material errors. They provide no expression of an opinion on the financial statements.
PREPARATION OF FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
A Preparation engagement can also be performed on your financial data. This service takes your existing financial data, formats it and looks for obvious errors. The CPA provides no assurance on the financial statements, and each page must contain a footer stating that no assurance was provided.
AGREED UPON PROCEDURES
Agreed upon procedures are performed when the parties involved concur that they want the accountant to perform a specific procedure or set of procedures. They can be useful when you or a third party wants some comfort about a specific area such as inventory or cash, but do not need the assurance and related time and expense of a full audit or review. Agreed upon procedures can deal with a diverse variety of subject matter such as the quality of collateral or due diligence related to a business acquisition. In all cases, agreed upon procedures are solely the responsibility of the parties who specify them and they never provide an opinion on the subject matter or financial statements.