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Discuss the procedures to be applied in performing going concern reviews

ACCOUNTING
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Discuss the procedures to be applied in performing going concern reviews

The Essential Guide to Performing Going Concern Reviews

In the realm of financial auditing and accounting, the concept of a going concern is pivotal. It refers to the assumption that an entity will continue its operations for the foreseeable future and is not in danger of liquidation. Performing a going concern review is therefore a critical task, involving a comprehensive evaluation of an entity’s ability to continue functioning as a going concern. This article outlines the procedures and best practices involved in conducting these reviews effectively.

 Understanding the Importance of Going Concern Reviews

The going concern review is not just a formal auditing procedure; it is fundamental to financial reporting and analysis. This review assesses whether a business can continue its operations without the threat of liquidation for at least the next twelve months. It provides stakeholders, including investors, creditors, and employees, with confidence in the financial stability and future prospects of the entity.

Initial Assessment and Planning

The review begins with a thorough planning phase, where auditors and financial analysts gather a preliminary understanding of the entity’s business model, industry sector, and overall financial health. This initial assessment provides a foundation for a more detailed analysis and identifies potential areas of concern.

 Analyzing Financial Statements

A critical step in the going concern review is the detailed analysis of the entity’s financial statements. This includes:

– Evaluating liquidity ratios such as current ratio and quick ratio to understand the entity’s ability to meet its short-term obligations.
– Assessing solvency ratios like debt to equity to gauge long-term financial stability.
– Reviewing profit and loss statements for trends in revenue, expenses, profits, and losses.
– Examining cash flow statements to evaluate the entity’s cash flow health and its capacity to generate cash to meet obligations.

 Investigating Non-Financial Factors

Apart from financial data, non-financial factors also play a significant role in assessing going concern. These may include:

– Legal and regulatory compliance issues that could impact the entity’s operations.
– Market and industry conditions affecting the entity’s business.
– Technological changes that could disrupt the business model.
– Management’s capabilities and plans for the business’s future.

 Considering External Factors

External factors, such as economic conditions, market trends, and geopolitical events, can significantly influence an entity’s ability to continue as a going concern. These factors must be analyzed to understand their potential impact on the entity’s operations and financial health.

Evaluating Management’s Plans

An integral part of the review process is evaluating the plans and strategies of the entity’s management. This includes:

– Reviewing business plans and forecasts to assess their feasibility.
– Analyzing management’s strategies for addressing identified financial and operational challenges.
– Assessing the likelihood of successful implementation of these plans.

 Communicating with Management and Those Charged with Governance

Open and effective communication with the entity’s management and governance bodies is crucial. Auditors should discuss their findings, concerns, and the basis for their conclusions regarding the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern.

Considering the Impact of COVID-19 and Other Global Events

In the context of recent global events like the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to consider their impact on the entity’s operations and financial stability. The review should take into account any specific challenges posed by such events and the entity’s response to them.

 Documentation and Reporting

All findings, analyses, and conclusions should be comprehensively documented. The final report should provide a clear, objective assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, including any uncertainties or risks identified.

Follow-Up and Continuous Monitoring

The going concern assessment is not a one-time exercise. Continuous monitoring of the entity’s financial and operational health is essential, especially if the initial review identified areas of concern.

Conclusion

The going concern review is a complex, multi-faceted process that demands a deep understanding of accounting principles, financial analysis, and business operations. It is essential for auditors and financial analysts to approach this review with rigor and objectivity, understanding that their conclusions have significant implications for the entity and its stakeholders. As economic and business landscapes evolve, the procedures for going concern reviews must also adapt, ensuring that they remain relevant and effective in assessing an entity’s long-term viability.