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[The following paragraph was effective for fiscal years ending on or after November 15, 2007. It was amended, effective for audits of fiscal years beginning on or after December 15, 2010. See PCAOB Release No. 2010-004.

Return to the current version.]

3.         The auditor's objective in an audit of internal control over financial reporting is to express an opinion on the effectiveness of the company's internal control over financial reporting. Because a company's internal control cannot be considered effective if one or more material weaknesses exist, to form a basis for expressing an opinion, the auditor must plan and perform the audit to obtain competent evidence that is sufficient to obtain reasonable assurance 5/ about whether material weaknesses exist as of the date specified in management's assessment. A material weakness in internal control over financial reporting may exist even when financial statements are not materially misstated.