Accountants use audit reports to publish the data they collect during their fieldwork of a company or organization. A widely used report template is the standard audit report, which must include seven elements to be complete. These basic elements are report title, introductory paragraph, scope paragraph, executive summary, opinion paragraph, auditor's name and auditor's signature.
The report title must include date of the audit and the addressee of the report. The date of the report is usually the accountant's last day of fieldwork, and the addressee is usually the board of directors or stockholders of the organization. It is also important to include the work independent in the title to set it apart from internal audits within an organization.
This is usually a boilerplate text that states an audit has been carried out, identifies the financial documents used to perform the audit and places the important caveat that the company's management team is responsible for the accuracy of the financial statements. It also determines what time frame is covered by the audit.
This paragraph says the audit followed the rules and methods set by the Generally Accepted Audit Standards and was designed to provide reasonable assurances that the claims made by the financial statements are accurate. It also indicated the test methods used by the auditors to test the accounting methods used by the company.
This section includes a summary of the audit's findings. The content of this summary is determined by what the auditor considers to be important for the executive echelons of the company. Unlike the next section, the executive summary does not provide much opinion but focuses instead on expressing clearly the findings of the audit.
The opinion paragraph is used to report on the financial situation of the company or individual audited and the methods and procedures used to reach a conclusion. It then offers the auditor's opinion on the financial health of the organization and its conformity or nonconformity with the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
The auditor must identify himself as the author of the audit by printing his name at the end of the audit. If the auditor works for a specific firm, he must also include the name of the company or certified accountant he works for.
The auditor is held accountable for the results of his audit up to the date stated in the audit's title. This accountability is acknowledged by the signature of the auditor below his name.