What is a Business Audit?
A business audit is a documented evaluation of a company’s financial statements to check and evaluate if they are materially correct and go along with the standards, assumptions, and pieces of evidence that are used to conduct the audit.
Financial statements capture the investing and financial activities of an organization through recorded transactions. There is a high risk of fraudulent behaviour by the people who prepare statements because they are developed internally.
The results of a business audit are reported in a written opinion format and the language in the opinion defines an audit. Some of the topics reported by an auditor are as follows:
Financial statements are reported by an auditor to state if a business is free or not from material misstatements. The word “material” in this context refers to missing information or error that impacts readers opinion of the financial statements. Then an audit is designed to find the errors of financial statements.
In most audits, the auditor accesses the effectiveness of internal controls. Businesses put these controls in a place, to produce accurate financial statements and prevent the assets from being stolen. The auditor needs to disclose any weaknesses in internal control.
There are a set of rules, according to which the financial statements are prepared. For-profit businesses Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) is used while non-profit and other government firms use a different set of accounting rules in the U.S.
Auditing helps evaluate the effectiveness of internal controls of an organization. Having an effective system of internal controls is crucial for achieving business objectives. preventing or avoiding fraud, obtaining reliable financial information of business operations or minimizing costs and misusing assets iv very important to business operations.
The Types of Audits
There are 4 main types of audits for business:
Internal audits are generally performed by the employees of a company and are not distributed outside the company. They are only prepared for the use of internal stakeholders and management.
Internal audits help to improve decision-making within the organization by providing managers actions to improve internal controls. They ensure compliance with laws and regulations and helps to maintain fair, timely and accurate reporting.
Internal audits can be utilized by management teams to identify inefficiencies or flaws within the organization before external auditors review financial statements.
To ensure that the financial statements are prepared accurately and not misrepresent the taxable amount of the company, government audits are performed.
Misstating the taxable income of a company whether international or not is considered tax fraud. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is now using statistical formulas and ML to find taxpayers at high risk of committing tax fraud.
A Government Audit may result in the following conclusions:
- No change in the Tax return.
- A change that is not accepted by the taxpayer.
- A change that is accepted by the taxpayer.
External audits are performed by third parties or external organizations to provide an unbiased opinion that might not have been given by internal auditors. It is an inspection conducted by professionals outside the company. This is an independent audit program that eliminates any conflict of interest that may arise between the auditor and the company.
Businesses are provided with a financial audit review report which follows General Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) by the external auditor. This report consists of result opinions on whether a company passed the audit or not.
The external audit consists of the following opinions:
- Clean opinion- where everything is clear and checks out.
- Adverse opinion- where the business records are found out to be misrepresented by the auditor.
- Qualified opinion-where certain financial statements are disagreed by the auditor.
- Disclaimer of opinion-where no opinion is provided by the auditor on certain financial records.
When the tax authorities come across potential errors in business tax returns, then an IRS Audit occurs. An IRS Audit typically inspects tax returns files in the last three years to detect fraud or check for substantial errors.
Too many deductions, claiming losses for multiple years in a row, and reporting high-income levels are a few of the many factors that may trigger an IRS Audit.
There are less than one per cent chances for businesses to be selected for IRS Audits. However, is a business that is selected for an IRS Audit should have a tax professional, an accountant or a business attorney present during the audit.
Benefits of Business Audits for your company
Small Business Audits benefits your company in the following ways:
- Send a signal to investors and lenders- having audited financial statements help in gaining the confidence of investors and lenders in your company leading to a rise in business capital.
- Make tax time easier- filing business taxes at the year-end will be so easy when the company has a self-audited financial statement. This makes the task of an accountant simple and saves the money that is required to pay them.
- Identify Threats- conducting a business audit helps in spotting employee theft, fraud, and operating inefficiencies. This in turn increases business profitability and increases the profit margin.
- Receive Certification- regular business audits helps some business receive certifications and these help business with low operating costs and increase business revenue.
Ultimately Business Audits are quality control mechanisms that are conducted to improve the efficiency of Business. Although business audits require time and money, they often help to boost the bottom line of the Business.
Auditing is a means of managing a company’s system and evaluating the effectiveness of internal controls of an organization. Conducting Business Audits is vital for any company to achieve business objectives, preventing misappropriation of results or fraud and obtaining reliable financial reporting on its operations. Both internal and external auditors help the auditing system of an organization in important ways.