An increasing number of companies are posting financial statements, including the auditor’s report onto their websites or allowing shareholders to receive the annual report in electronic from in place of a hard copy version. In these circumstances auditors check that the electronic version of the financial statements is identical in content to the manually signed accounts. (In the UK guidance for auditors to perform procedures as suggested above has been issued in this matter.)
Some of the major firms are now including a disclaimer paragraph in an attempt to restrict liability to third parties. An example of such paragraph (shown after the opinion paragraph) based on PricewaterhouseCoopers audit report is as follows:
‘We do not, in giving this opinion, accept or assume responsibility for any other purpose or to any other person to whom this report is shown or in whose hands it may come, save where expressly agreed by our prior consent in writing.’
IAPS 1014 Reporting on Compliance with International Financial Reporting Standards
The purpose of this IAPS is to clarify when financial statements are in full compliance with IAS/IFRS and proposes additional guidance when the auditor expresses an opinion on financial statement prepared in accordance with:
Both IAS/IFRS and national standards
Relevant national standards but disclosure notes in the financial statements which explain the extent of compliance with IAS/IFRS.
The issue is of increasing relevance as more countries become required to comply with IAS/IFRS and claim compliance. (E.g. Australia and the EU as from January 2005).