In a compilation engagement, the objective is to assist management in presenting financial information in the form of financial statements. This is completed without undertaking to provide any assurance that there are no material modifications that should be made to the financial statements, so they will conform to the acceptable financial reporting framework. Because of the even more limited scope of compilation procedures, the CPA’s report will not express an opinion or provide any assurance regarding the financial statements.
A compilation involves (1) gaining a general understanding of your business, accounting principles used, and financial reporting system and (2) presenting financial information in the accepted format of proper financial statements. The CPA expresses no assurance about the accuracy of the financial statements presented. The report attached to the financial statement emphasizes that the service is a compilation.
While independence is required at the other levels of service, the CPA does not have to be independent of your organization to perform a compilation. The report must state that the accountant is not independent.
Further options lie within the compilation level of service. The compilation report may be a full disclosure report with complete footnote explanations of certain amounts and policies contained in the financial statements, or these otherwise required disclosures may be omitted. Omission of this information is not permissible under the other levels of service.
It is important to find the proper balance between the cost of the CPA’s services and the level of assurance the users of the financial statements require.