A certificate is written confirmation of the accuracy of the facts stated therein and does not involve any estimate or opinion. Certificates are often required by government authorities in support of statements or other information prepared by an enterprise. Such certificates represent that the auditor has verified certain figures and is satisfied with their accuracy.
An audit report, statement usually made after an inquiry, examination, or review of specified matters under-report and includes the reporting auditor’s opinion thereon. While issuing an audit report, an auditor is responsible to ensure that his opinion is in due accordance with facts and that it is arrived at by the application of due care and skill.
Content of Reports and Certificates for special purposes:
In some cases, reports and certificates are specified by law and cannot be changed. However, in other cases, the reporting auditor is free to draft his report or certificate in a manner he likes. While drafting such a report or certificate, the auditor should consider the following:
- Identification of specific elements, items covered by the report or certificate.
- Stating how the audit was conducted,e.g., by the application of generally accepted auditing practices, or any other specific test.
- Limitations on scope, if any, should be mentioned.
- Fundamental assumptions on which the special-purpose statement is based should be indicated.
- Information and explanations obtained during work should be included.
- The title of both whether it is a report or certificate should indicate its nature.
- The extent to which reliance has been placed on the report of another auditor, who has carried out an audit of general-purpose financial statements.
- Where a report requires the interpretation of the statute, the reporting auditor should indicate the fact that he is merely expressing his opinion on the matter.
- An audit report or certificate should ordinarily be a self-contained document and should not confine itself to a mere reference to another report or certificate.
- The extent of responsibility assumed by the reporting auditor should be indicated.
Difference between Report & Certificate:
- The report is an expression of opinion on the true and fair view of financial statements and books of account whereas certificate is a confirmation of correctness and accuracy of subject matter for which certificate is being issued.
- The report is based on practitioner professional judgment whereas the certificate is based on actual facts and figures.
- In the report, the scope of the audit is wide and generally covers an opinion on the complete set of financial statements but the scope of the certificate is narrow and restricted to subject matter only.
- An audit report is generally issued annually as per the requirements of the statute on other hand certificates are issued as per the specific requirements of law.
- In an audit report, the auditor’s responsibility in case of any misstatement is not being identified, is subject to his negligence in the performance of his duties but in case of the wrong certification, an auditor is held liable irrespective of due diligence.