AS 2710: Other Information in Documents Containing Audited Financial Statements

Interpretations of AS 2710: AI 20
Guidance on AS 2710: Staff Audit Practice Alert No. 4


.01        An entity may publish various documents that contain information (hereinafter, "other information") in addition to audited financial statements and the independent auditor's report thereon. This section provides guidance for the auditor's consideration of other information included in such documents.

.02        This section is applicable only to other information contained in (a) annual reports to holders of securities or beneficial interests, annual reports of organizations for charitable or philanthropic purposes distributed to the public, and annual reports filed with regulatory authorities under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 or (b) other documents to which the auditor, at the client's request, devotes attention.

.03        This section is not applicable when the financial statements and report appear in a registration statement filed under the Securities Act of 1933. The auditor's procedures with respect to 1933 Act filings are unaltered by this section (see AS 6101, Letters for Underwriters and Certain Other Requesting Parties and AS 4101, Responsibilities Regarding Filings Under Federal Securities Statutes). Also, this section is not applicable to other information on which the auditor is engaged to express an opinion.1 The guidance applicable to auditing and reporting on certain information other than financial statements intended to be presented in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles is unaltered by this section (see AS 2701, Auditing Supplemental Information Accompanying Audited Financial Statements, and AS 3305, Special Reports).

.04        Other information in a document may be relevant to an audit performed by an independent auditor or to the continuing propriety of his report. The auditor's responsibility with respect to information in a document does not extend beyond the financial information identified in his report, and the auditor has no obligation to perform any procedures to corroborate other information contained in a document. However, he should read the other information and consider whether such information, or the manner of its presentation, is materially inconsistent with information, or the manner of its presentation, appearing in the financial statements.2 If the auditor concludes that there is a material inconsistency, he should determine whether the financial statements, his report, or both require revision. If he concludes that they do not require revision, he should request the client to revise the other information. If the other information is not revised to eliminate the material inconsistency, he should communicate the material inconsistency to the audit committee and consider other actions, such as revising his report to include an explanatory paragraph, including an appropriate title, describing the material inconsistency, withholding the use of his report in the document, and withdrawing from the engagement. The action he takes will depend on the particular circumstances and the significance of the inconsistency in the other information.

.05        If, while reading the other information for the reasons set forth in paragraph .04, the auditor becomes aware of information that he believes is a material misstatement of fact that is not a material inconsistency as described in paragraph .04, he should discuss the matter with the client. In connection with this discussion, the auditor should consider that he may not have the expertise to assess the validity of the statement, that there may be no standards by which to assess its presentation, and that there may be valid differences of judgment or opinion. If the auditor concludes he has a valid basis for concern he should propose that the client consult with some other party whose advice might be useful to the client, such as the client's legal counsel.

.06        If, after discussing the matter as described in paragraph .05, the auditor concludes that a material misstatement of fact remains, the action he takes will depend on his judgment in the particular circumstances. He should communicate the material misstatement of fact to the client and the audit committee, in writing, and consider consulting his legal counsel as to further appropriate action in the circumstances.

[.07]  [Paragraph deleted.]  

Footnotes (AS 2710 - Other Information in Documents Containing Audited Financial Statements):      

1 Mere reading of other information is an inadequate basis for expressing an opinion on that information.

2 In fulfilling his responsibility under this section, a principal auditor may also request the other auditor or auditors involved in the engagement to read the other information. If a predecessor auditor's report appears in a document to which this section applies, he should read the other information for the reasons described in this paragraph.