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What is an Accountant's Opinion?

Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 08 August 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Along with a financial report, the accounting firm that performs a review of an organization’s finances often includes what is known as an accountant’s opinion. Essentially, the accountant’s opinion focuses on the specific criterion that is applied to the review. This basically outlines the range of what type of evaluations the accountant will do with the data provided. Often a few remarks are made concerning the form, structure, and the quality of the data provided to the accountant as well.

Sometimes referred to as an accountant’s letter, the accountant’s opinion provides documentation that can attest to several important matters. For example, the opinion will confirm that the independent accountant has in fact contracted with the organization for the purpose of reviewing the financial records and accounting procedures of the entity.

Generally, this acknowledgment will also include specific data regarding what the accountant will do with the data provided. As an example, the purpose of the audit may be in preparation for the sale of the company. This means the outside accounting firm may have been contacted so the company could ensure that their records were up to usual and standard accounting practices.

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Accountant’s opinions are usually concise and to the point. Within the scope of what the accounting firm has been asked to audit or review, the opinion may offer specific recommendations for areas where the organization needs to improve their accounting processes. The opinion will also often point to specific sections within the body of the financial report that require immediate review by the organization.

One thing that the accountant’s opinion is not designed to do is provide counsel to the organization on how to address and correct and issues with their process. While the accounting firm is often willing to talk with the customer further about how to enhance the quality of the client’s record keeping, the accountant’s opinion proper will simply identify areas that need work and allow the customer to determine what the next step should be in making those corrections.

An accountant’s opinion is a very helpful document, in that the opinion can be used to call attention quickly to matters that the client should address. Intended to be a clear and precise document, the accountant’s opinion is not meant to be a forum for advice or counsel, just for hard facts of the current condition. This allows the customer to move more quickly on making corrections or improvements on in-house procedures, rather than having to wade through the whole report before dealing with any accounting issues.

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