Discuss the reporting implications of the findings of going concern reviews

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Discuss the reporting implications of the findings of going concern reviews


The outcome of a going concern review can have significant implications for financial reporting. Auditors and financial professionals conducting these reviews must consider the potential impact on various aspects of financial statement presentation and disclosure. The findings of a going concern review can influence the opinion rendered by auditors, shape the narrative of financial reports, and trigger specific disclosure requirements. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to understanding the reporting implications of going concern reviews, ensuring compliance with relevant standards, and effectively communicating financial statement users.

Reporting Implications and Considerations:

The results of a going concern review can lead to several reporting scenarios, each with its own set of implications and considerations. Here, we outline the key aspects to be addressed in the financial reporting process:

1. Unqualified Opinion with Going Concern Emphasis:

When the going concern review indicates no significant doubts about the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, auditors will render an unqualified opinion. However, if there are matters that nonetheless require disclosure, the auditor may issue an unqualified opinion with an emphasis of matter paragraph.
Emphasis of matter paragraphs are included in the audit report to highlight issues that, in the auditor’s judgment, are of such importance that they are fundamental to users’ understanding of the financial statements. In this case, the paragraph would draw users’ attention to the disclosures relating to the going concern assumptions.

2. Qualified Opinion or Adverse Opinion:

If the going concern review identifies significant uncertainties or conditions that may cast substantial doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, the auditor may issue a qualified opinion or, in more severe cases, an adverse opinion.
A qualified opinion indicates that, except for the effects of the matter(s) to which the qualification relates, the financial statements present fairly in all material respects. An adverse opinion states that the financial statements, in the auditor’s opinion, do not present fairly due to the matter(s) in question.

3. Modifications to the Opinion Paragraph:

In cases where substantial doubt about the going concern assumption exists, the auditor should modify the opinion paragraph of the audit report to reflect this uncertainty. The modification draws users’ attention to the existence of a material uncertainty related to events or conditions that may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern.

4. Disclosure Requirements:

Auditors should ensure that the financial statements include appropriate disclosures regarding going concern uncertainties. These disclosures provide users with information about the nature of the uncertainties, the potential impact on the entity’s financial position and liquidity, and management’s plans to mitigate these risks.
Disclosure requirements may vary based on accounting frameworks and jurisdictions. Common standards, such as International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) or U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), provide specific guidance on the nature and extent of disclosures.

5. Management’s Responsibilities:

Management is responsible for preparing financial statements that comply with the applicable financial reporting framework, including the disclosure of going concern uncertainties. Auditors should communicate the identified risks and uncertainties to management and ensure they are appropriately addressed in the financial statements.
Management may also be required to provide additional disclosures or representations regarding their assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern.

6. Subsequent Events and Going Concern:

Auditors should consider subsequent events up to the date of the audit report, as they may impact the going concern assumption. Positive or negative subsequent events could affect the conclusions drawn during the review process.
Disclosures related to subsequent events should be considered, especially if they alleviate or exacerbate the going concern uncertainties.

7. Going Concern and Special Purpose Frameworks:

In certain situations, financial statements may be prepared using special purpose frameworks, such as cash basis or tax basis accounting. Auditors should consider the impact of going concern on these frameworks, as the reporting implications may differ from those under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

8. Impact on Key Financial Metrics:

The reporting implications of going concern reviews can extend beyond the audit report and disclosures. They may also influence key financial metrics and ratios used by investors and creditors, such as earnings per share, return on assets, or debt-to-equity ratios.
Users of financial statements should be mindful of the potential impact of going concern uncertainties when interpreting these metrics and making decisions based on them.

Best Practices in Reporting:

To ensure transparency and compliance in reporting the findings of going concern reviews, here are some best practices to consider:

Clear and Concise Reporting:

Auditors should present their findings clearly and concisely in the audit report. Avoid excessive jargon or complexity that may hinder users’ understanding of the going concern matters.

Timely Disclosure:

Ensure that going concern disclosures are included in the financial statements on a timely basis. Delayed or omitted disclosures could result in a misstatement of the financial position and performance of the entity.


Maintain consistency in reporting going concern matters across periods. This enables financial statement users to identify trends and make informed comparisons.

Collaborative Approach:

Foster a collaborative environment between auditors, management, and those charged with governance. Open communication ensures that going concern matters are appropriately identified, assessed, and disclosed.

Professional Judgment:

Auditors should exercise professional skepticism and judgment when evaluating the impact of going concern matters. Consider the relevance and materiality of the uncertainties and their potential effect on financial statement users.

Conclusion and Recommendation:

The reporting implications of going concern reviews are far-reaching and require careful consideration by auditors and financial professionals. By following the applicable reporting standards and best practices, auditors can provide valuable insights to stakeholders while ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements. Transparent and comprehensive reporting of going concern matters contributes to the reliability and credibility of financial statements, enabling investors, creditors, and other users to make informed decisions.

Enhancing Financial Reporting Quality:

To further enhance the quality and transparency of financial reporting, auditors can take additional steps such as providing educational resources to financial statement users, promoting the understanding of going concern concepts, and advocating for consistent application of reporting standards. Additionally, ongoing monitoring and surveillance by regulatory bodies can help ensure compliance and maintain the integrity of the financial reporting process.

F2inal Thoughts:

The reporting implications of going concern reviews are critical in providing a true and fair view of an entity’s financial position and performance. Auditors, as trusted advisors, play a pivotal role in assessing and communicating the financial health of entities. By diligently applying the reporting considerations outlined in this article, auditors can contribute to the overall resilience and sustainability of the financial ecosystem, fostering confidence and informed decision-making among stakeholders.