Audit, Review & Compilation
An audit is performed in accordance with auditing standards generally accepted in the United States of America which apply to all CPAs performing an audit of financial statements. Those standards require that the CPA plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement. An audit includes examining, on test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. An audit also includes assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall financial statement presentation.
A review includes primarily applying analytical procedures to managementís financial data and making inquiries of company management. A review is substantially less in scope than an audit, the objective of which is the expression of an opinion regarding the financial statements taken as a whole. Accordingly, no opinion is expressed as to whether the financial statements, taken as a whole, present fairly the financial position and results of operation of the entity being reviewed.
A compilation is not an audit or a review and, accordingly, the CPA does not express an opinion or provide any assurance about whether the financial statements are in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. This is the most basic level of financial statement preparation that a CPA will provide. A compilation can be performed with or without full footnote disclosure, which significantly reduces the cost of the service. As is the case with a review, no opinion is expressed as to whether the financial statements, taken as a whole, present fairly the financial position and results of operation of the entity being compiled.