LO5 – Explain the purpose and content of the report that describes management's responsibility for financial statements.
The final piece of information often included with the annual financial statements is a statement describing management's responsibility for the accurate preparation and presentation of financial statements. This statement underscores the division of duties involved with the publication of financial statements. Management is responsible for preparing the financial statements, including estimates that underlie the accounting numbers. An example of an estimate is the useful life of long-lived assets in calculating depreciation.
The independent auditor is responsible for examining the financial statement information as prepared by management, including the reasonableness of estimates, and then expressing an opinion on their accuracy. In some cases, the auditor may assist management with aspects of financial statement preparation. For instance, the auditor may provide guidance on how a new accounting standard will affect financial statement presentation or other information disclosure. Ultimately, however, the preparation of financial statements is management's responsibility.
An example of a statement describing management's responsibility for the preparation and presentation of annual financial statements is shown below.