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.
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
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 Assurance
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.
Banks often require compilations from an independent CPA as part of their lending covenants.
Which Report Should You Use?
Each type of financial statement report 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.