The general standards are summary guidance on the qualifications an auditor should have. The qualifications mentioned in the general standards are adequate technical training, independence in mental attitude, and due professional care. The standard of adequate technical training means that the auditor is proficient as an auditor due to their training. The standard of independence means that the auditor must maintain an independent mental attitude with regard to the entire audit assignment. The third general standard means that the auditor must exercise due professional care when carrying out the audit examination and preparing the audit report.
Next are the three standards of field work. The first field work standard states that the work must be adequately planned, and that any assistants must be supervised fully. The second standard of field work requires that a proper study and evaluation of the existing internal controls of the company being audited be done in order to determine the extent of the tests which auditing procedures are to be limited to. The third standard of field work states that sufficient competent evidential matter must be gathered by using inspection, observation, confirmations, and inquiries, in order to obtain a reasonable basis for an opinion on the financial statements being examined.
Finally, there are the four standards of reporting. First, the audit report must state whether or not the financial statements are presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. Also, the audit report must state whether or not those principles were observed on a consistent basis in the current period in relation to the prior period. The third standard of reporting says that the disclosures contained in the financial statements are presumed to be reasonably adequate unless a statement to the contrary is included in the audit report. The fourth standard of reporting deals with expressing an opinion. The audit report will either contain the expression of an opinion on the financial statements taken as a whole, or a statement that an opinion cannot be expressed. If an opinion cannot be expressed, the report must state the reasons why not. In any situation with an auditorís name being associated with financial statements, the report needs to indicate clearly the nature of the examination by the auditor and the degree of responsibility the auditor is taking.
Following these generally accepted auditing standards is done to ensure that any users of the financial statements in question can rely on the auditorís opinion. Adhering to GAAS also provides a level of protection for the auditor against complaints or legal action.
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