Accounting Principles Board Opinion No. 20, Accounting Changes, paragraph 16 [AC section A06.112], states: "The presumption that an entity should not change an accounting principle may be overcome only if the enterprise justifies the use of an alternative acceptable accounting principle on the basis that it is preferable." If management has not provided reasonable justification for the change in accounting principles, the auditor should express an exception to the change having been made without reasonable justification. An example of a report qualified for this reason follows:
Independent Auditor's Report
[Same first and second paragraphs as the standard report]
As disclosed in Note X to the financial statements, the Company adopted, in 20X2, the first-in, first-out method of accounting for its inventories, whereas it previously used the last-in, first-out method. Although use of the first-in, first-out method is in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America, in our opinion the Company has not provided reasonable justification for making this change as required by those principles. fn 17
In our opinion, except for the change in accounting principle discussed in the preceding paragraph, the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of X Company as of December 31, 20X2 and 20X1, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the years then ended in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.
[Paragraph renumbered by the issuance of Statement on Auditing Standards No. 79, December 1995.]