The following auditing standard reflects references to standards before their reorganization. The reorganized auditing standard is available here.
AU Section 411
The Meaning of Present Fairly in Conformity With Generally Accepted Accounting Principles fn *
Supersedes SAS No. 5)
Source: SAS No. 69; SAS No. 91; SAS No. 93.
See section 9411 for interpretations of this section.
Effective for audits of financial statements for periods ending after March 15, 1992, unless otherwise indicated.
An independent auditor's report contains an opinion as to whether the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, an entity’s financial position, results of operations, and cash flows in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles. An identification of the country of origin of those generally accepted accounting principles also is required (see section 508.08h).
The purpose of this section is to explain the meaning of "present fairly" as used in the phrase "present fairly . . . in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles." In applying this section, the auditor should look to the requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission for the company under audit with respect to the accounting principles applicable to that company.
The independent auditor's judgment concerning the "fairness" of the overall presentation of financial statements should be applied within the framework of generally accepted accounting principles. Without that framework, the auditor would have no uniform standard for judging the presentation of financial position, results of operations, and cash flows in financial statements.
[The following paragraph is effective for audits of fiscal years beginning on or after December 15, 2010. See PCAOB Release No. 2010-004
. For audits of fiscal years beginning before December 15, 2010, click here
The auditor's opinion that financial statements present fairly an entity's financial position, results of operations, and cash flows in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles should be based on his or her judgment as to whether (a) the accounting principles selected and applied have general acceptance; (b) the accounting principles are appropriate in the circumstances; (c) the financial statements, including the related notes, are informative of matters that may affect their use, understanding, and interpretation (see paragraph 31 of Auditing Standard No. 14, Evaluating Audit Results); (d) the information presented in the financial statements is classified and summarized in a reasonable manner, that is, neither too detailed nor too condensed (see paragraph 31 of Auditing Standard No. 14, Evaluating Audit Results); and (e) the financial statements reflect the underlying transactions and events in a manner that presents the financial position, results of operations, and cash flows stated within a range of acceptable limits, that is, limits that are reasonable and practicable to attain in financial statements. fn 1
Generally accepted accounting principles recognize the importance of reporting transactions and events in accordance with their substance. The auditor should consider whether the substance of transactions or events differs materially from their form.
The auditor should be aware that the accounting requirements adopted by regulatory agencies for reports filed with them may differ from generally accepted accounting principles in certain respects. Section 544, Lack of Conformity With Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, paragraph .04 and section 623, Special Reports provide guidance if the auditor is reporting on financial statements prepared in conformity with a comprehensive basis of accounting other than generally accepted accounting principles.