All organizations, whether private, public, or non-profit, need to prepare financial statements on their performance to provide fiscal accountability and accuracy to their stakeholders and people with an interest in the company. These statements enable management to make business decisions, enable creditors to evaluate loan applications, and provide individuals with information to make investment decisions.
Financial statements provide information from an organization’s accounting documents about their economic resources and obligations on a specific date, as well as their financial activities over a period of time. These statements are usually prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), which are the standards issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), but they may also be prepared on other comprehensive basis of accounting, such as cash basis or tax basis, depending on the needs of the users.
Compiled financial statements offer lowest level of assurance. One of the main reasons these are used in lieu of other statements is for the timely release of financial information about an organization. Compiled statements are a presentation of various financial reports and documentation, which is the representation of management or owners of an organization. Compilation standards allow the organization to omit note disclosures as long as there is no intent to mislead the users. This is the only type of financial statement that allows omitted disclosures.
An accountant will compile the information supplied by the client into a proper financial presentation. This is the only financial statement that a non-certified accountant can prepare. The accountant will read the statements and issue a report. If the organization has elected to omit any disclosures, this must be included in the accountant’s report of the financial statements, as well as if the disclosures had been included; they might have influenced the user’s conclusions.
The accountant preparing the compiled financial statements are not required to verify or confirm the records and do not need to analyze the statements for accuracy. However, an accountant engaged to compile financial statements is required to obtain a general understanding of the organization’s business transactions, its accounting records, qualifications of their accounting personnel, the accounting basis on which the financial statements are presented, and the form and content of the financial statements. If any obvious material misstatements or missing information is noted, the accountant must discuss these items with the organization’s management for clarification or adjustment to the statements, or withdraw from the engagement if management refuses to provide additional or revised information.
In compiled financial statements, the organization, not the accountant, is responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the financial documents. Since the statements were not audited or reviewed, they are not certified by a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). No opinion or assurance is expressed in the report as to whether the compiled statements are free of material misstatements or false/missing information or if they are found to be accurate, complete and fairly presented to meet the requirements of the US GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles).