Navigating the Waters of Accounting: Attest vs. Non-Attest Services

Navigating the Waters of Accounting: Attest vs. Non-Attest Services

In the dynamic realm of accounting, understanding the distinctions between attest and non-attest services is crucial for businesses seeking financial clarity.

While accountants can provide both attest and non-attest services, they aren’t the same thing, and each has its own purposes, procedures, and implications.

Let’s look at attest vs. non-attest services and why the difference matters for your financial needs.

Attest Services: Providing Assurance

Attest services provide assurance on financial information, often comparing data to a set of controls or a strict regulatory framework. Attestation requires a professional to give their opinion and assurance on the data provided in regard to how well it aligns with the given standards.

Common attest engagements include audits, reviews, and compilations. Audits, for instance, go beyond mere examination—they offer a thorough investigation, ensuring the accuracy and reliability of financial statements. This level of assurance is invaluable for stakeholders and regulatory bodies.

Non-Attest Services: General Accounting

On the other hand, non-attest services cover a broad spectrum of accounting tasks that do not involve providing assurance or comparing data to a set of controls. These services may include bookkeeping, tax preparation, and consulting.

While these accounting services are essential for businesses maintaining accurate and complete financial records and compliance, they don’t provide assurance in the way that attest services do.

Key Differences Between Attest and Non-Attest Services

The primary difference between attest vs. non-attest services lies in the level of assurance provided. Attest services offer a higher level of confidence in financial information, providing stakeholders with a more comprehensive understanding of a company’s financial health. Non-attest services, while crucial for day-to-day operations, do not offer the same level of assurance and are often more focused on specific accounting functions.

Regulatory Frameworks for Attest vs. Non-Attest Services

Attest services are often subject to strict regulations and standards, such as Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS) or International Standards on Auditing (ISA). While still guided by accounting principles, non-attest services may not be subject to the same stringent regulations.

Considerations for Businesses

Businesses need to carefully evaluate their needs and objectives when deciding between attest and non-attest services. If stakeholders require more confidence in financial statements, attest services are essential. On the other hand, non-attest services cater to everyday accounting needs, aiding in compliance and operational efficiency.

We Provide Attest and Non-Attest Services

Scharf Pera & Co., PLLC provides professional attest and non-attest services to help businesses get the assurance they need and make informed decisions that align with their financial goals. Whether seeking assurance or managing day-to-day operations, let us help you move toward financial success–contact us today.


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Our firm has been helping both individuals and businesses create bright futures for their finances since 1977.