Matthew Dauer
June 14, 2022

What is Auditing?

Auditing typically refers to financial statement audits or an objective examination and evaluation of a company’s financial statements – usually performed by an external third party.

What is the purpose of an Audit?

Audits are third party members who check the financial statements to see if the statements are presented in a good fashion and if they comply with the companies' framework. Having an Auditors opinion will improve a company's credit. With good credit, companies are in a good position in terms of getting lenders, creditors and even investors.

Importance of Auditing

Audit is an important term used in accounting that describes the examination and verification of a company’s financial records. It is to ensure that financial information is represented fairly and accurately.

Also, audits are performed to ensure that financial statements are prepared in accordance with the relevant accounting standards. The three primary financial statements are:

  1. Income statement
  2. Balance sheet
  3. Cash flow statement

Financial statements are prepared internally by management utilizing relevant accounting standards, such as International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) or Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). They are developed to provide useful information to the following users:

  • Shareholders
  • Creditors
  • Government entities
  • Customers
  • Suppliers
  • Partners

Financial statements capture the operating, investing, and financing activities of a company through various recorded transactions. Because the financial statements are developed internally, there is a high risk of fraudulent behavior by the preparers of the statements.

Without proper regulations and standards, preparers can easily misrepresent their financial positioning to make the company appear more profitable or successful than they actually are.

Auditing is crucial to ensure that companies represent their financial positioning fairly and accurately and in accordance with accounting standards.

Types of Audits

There are three main types of audits:

Internal audits

Internal audits are performed by the employees of a company or organization. These audits are not distributed outside the company. Instead, they are prepared for the use of management and other internal stakeholders.

Internal audits are used to improve decision-making within a company by providing managers with actionable items to improve internal controls. They also ensure compliance with laws and regulations and maintain timely, fair, and accurate financial reporting.

2. External audits

Performed by external organizations and third parties, external audits provide an unbiased opinion that internal auditors might not be able to give. External financial audits are utilized to determine any material misstatements or errors in a company’s financial statements.

When an auditor provides an unqualified opinion or clean opinion, it reflects that the auditor provides confidence that the financial statements are represented with accuracy and completeness.

External audits are important for allowing various stakeholders to confidently make decisions surrounding the company being audited.

3. Government audits

Government audits are performed to ensure that financial statements have been prepared accurately to not misrepresent the amount of taxable income of a company.

Audit selections are made to ensure that companies are not misrepresenting their taxable income. Performing a government audit may result in a conclusion that there is:

  1. No change in the tax return
  2. A change that is accepted by the taxpayer
  3. A change that is not accepted by the taxpayer

The key difference between an external auditor and an internal auditor is that an external auditor is independent. It means that they are able to provide a more unbiased opinion rather than an internal auditor, whose independence may be compromised due to the employer-employee relationship.

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Thanks for reading

Matthew Dauer