To allow users to understand audit report, AICPA professional standards provide uniform wording for the auditor’s report, as illustrated in the auditor’s standard unqualified audit report in Figure 3-1. Different auditors may alter the wording or presentation slightly, but the meaning will be the same.
The auditor’s standard unqualified audit contains seven distinct parts, and these are labeled in bold letters in the margin beside Figure 3-1.
1. Report title. Auditing standards require that the report be titled and that the title include the word independent. For example, appropriate titles include “independent auditor’s report,” “report of independent auditor,” or “independent accountant’s opinion.” The requirement that the title include the word independent conveys to users that the audit was unbiased in all aspects.
1、报告标题：审计准则要求审计报告应有标题，而且标题中应包含“独立”一词。 恰当的标题诸如“独立审计报告”、“独立审计师报告”或“独立会计师审计意见”。 要求在标题中包含“独立”一词，其用意是向财务报表使用者传达该审计在所有方面均无偏见。
2. Audit report address: The report is usually addressed to the company, its stockholders, or the board of directors. In recent years, it has become customary to address the report to the board of directors and stockholders to indicate that the auditor is independent of the company.
3. Introductory paragraph.The first paragraph of the report does three things: First, it makes the simple statement that the CPA firm has done an audit. This is intended to distinguish the report from a compilation or review report. The scope paragraph (see part 4) clarifies what is meant by an audit.
Second, it lists the financial statements that were audited, including the balance sheet dates and the accounting periods for the income statement and statement of cash flows. The wording of the financial statements in the report should be identical to those used by management on the financial statements. Notice that the report in Figure 3-1 is on comparative financial statements. Therefore, a report on both years’ statements is needed.
第二，它列出了已审计的财务报表，包括资产负债表日期、利润表和现金流量表的会计期间。 报告中财务报表的措词应与管理层在财务报表中使用的措词一致。 请注意，图3-1中的报告是针对比较财务报表的。因此，需要出具一份有关两个年度财务报表的审计报告。
Third, the introductory paragraph states that the statements are the responsibility of management and that the auditor’s responsibility is to express an opinion on the statements based on an audit. The purpose of these statements is to communicate that management is responsible for selecting the appropriate generally accepted accounting principles and making the measurement decisions and disclosures in applying those principles and to clarify the respective roles of management and the auditor.
4. Scope paragraph. The scope paragraph is a factual statement about what the auditor did in the audit. This paragraph first states that the auditor followed U.S. generally accepted auditing standards. For an audit of a public company, the paragraph will indicate that the auditor followed standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. Because financial statements prepared in accordance with U.S. accounting principles and audited in accordance with U.S. auditing standards are available throughout the world on the Internet, the country of origin of the accounting principles used in preparing the financial statements and auditing standards followed by the auditor are identified in the audit report.
The scope paragraph states that the audit is designed to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the statements are free of material misstatement. The inclusion of the word material conveys that auditors are responsible only to search for significant misstatements, not minor misstatements that do not affect users’ decisions. The use of the term reasonable assurance is intended to indicate that an audit cannot be expected to completely eliminate the possibility that a material misstatement will exist in the financial statements. In other words, an audit provides a high level of assurance, but it is not a guarantee.
The remainder of the scope paragraph discusses the audit evidence accumulated and states that the auditor believes that the evidence accumulated was appropriate for the circumstances to express the opinion presented. The word test basis indicate that sampling was used rather than an audit of every transaction and amount on the statements. Whereas the introductory paragraph of the report states that management is responsible for the preparation and content of the financial statements, the scope paragraph states that the auditor evaluates the appropriateness of those accounting principles, estimates, and financial statement disclosures and presentations given.
5. Opinion paragraph. The final paragraph in the standard report states the auditor’s conclusions based on the results of the audit. This part of the report is so important that often the entire audit report is referred to simply as the auditor’s opinion. The opinion paragraph is stated as an opinion rather than as a statement of absolute fact or a guarantee. The intent is to indicate that the conclusions are based on professional judgement. The phrase in our opinion indicates that there may be some information risk associated with the financial statements, even though the statements have been audited.
The opinion paragraph is directly related to the first and fourth generally accepted auditing reporting standards. The auditor is required to state an opinion about the financial statements taken as a whole, including a conclusion about whether the company followed U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.
One of the controversial parts of the auditor’s report is the meaning of the term present fairly. Does this mean that if generally accepted accounting principles are followed, the financial statements are presented fairly, or something more? Occasionally, the courts have concluded that auditors are responsible for looking beyond generally accepted accounting principles to determine whether users might be misled, even if those principles are followed. Most auditors believe that financial statements are “presented fairly” when the statements are in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, but that it is also necessary to examine the substance of transactions and balances for possible misinformation.
审计报告中有一个争议的地方就是“公允列报”这一用词的含义。 这是否意味着如果遵循了公认会计原则，那么财务报表算是公允列报了吗？还是有更多的含义？ 有些情况下，法院已作出判定认为，即使遵循了这些公认会计原则，审计师也有责任超越公认会计原则来确定财务报表使用者是否有可能被误导。大多数审计师相信，当财务报表符合公认会计原则时，财务报表就是被“公允列报”了，但是审计师也有必要检查交易和余额的实际情况，以防可能发生的信息错报。
6. Name of CPA firm. The name identifies the CPA firm or practitioner who performed the audit. Typically, the firm’s name is used because the entire CPA firm has the legal and professional responsibility to ensure that the quality of the audit meets professional standards.
6、 注册会计师事务所的名称：该名称可以辨别执行本次审计工作的注册会计师事务所或审计从业人员。 特别是，使用事务所的名称是因为整个会计师事务所具有承担法律和执业的责任，以确保审计的质量符合执业准则。
7. Audit report date. The appropriate date for the report is the one on which the auditor completed the auditing procedures in the field. This date is important to users because it indicates the last day of the auditor’s responsibility for the review of significant events that occurred after the date of the financial statements. In the audit report in Figure 3-1, the balance sheet is dated December 31, 2007, and the audit report is dated February 15, 2008. This indicates that the auditor has searched for material unrecorded transactions and events that occurred up to February 15, 2008.