Attestation is a type of assurance service provided by a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Although not as extensive as an audit, attestation offers the assurance that the financial information an audit provided is accurate and reliable.
Businesses can also benefit from attestation services when they need to ensure their financials have aligned with a particular goal or compliance measure according to internal or external standards.
What can attestation services include, and why does your business need them?
What Attestation Services Can Include
Attestation services are provided according to standards published by the American Institute of Certified Public Accounts (AICPA). Attestation can be done in addition to an audit to verify the information in the audit, or it can be a separate service.
Since the CPA who conducted the audit cannot attest to their own work, attestation services are done by a separate organization, entity, or person to avoid conflicts of interest and ensure data accuracy.
As such, attestation services include an independent, third-party review of a company’s financials to identify discrepancies and confirm validity. They can also include verifying reports on financial forecasts for a business.
Attestation vs. Auditing
Attestation is a type of audit, although it is not as rigorous as a complete financial audit. Whereas an audit finds and presents data, attestation is meant to authenticate that data.
For many businesses, attestation services go one step further than a traditional audit because they can compare information to a set of rules or protocols to determine if the company met its goals or identify gaps in compliance.
Unlike auditing, attestation can also verify issues within the information, such as financial data that does not conform to a company’s protocol or monetary discrepancies.
You can think of attestation as a second opinion of a financial statement or audit. The CPA conducting the review will provide a conclusion regarding their professional opinion of the information’s accuracy, which you can then use moving forward.
When Your Business May Need Attestation Services
Your business may need attestation services if you:
- Are selling your company or merging with another company
- Have recently gotten an audit and need to confirm its data
- Are in the process of getting a loan
- Receive funding from an angel investor
- Are a government contractor
These are just a few situations where a company would require attestation services. Attestation is also not limited to finances—these services can also authenticate non-fiscal documents, statements, and other information for a business.
In some cases, attestation may not be required, but a company will seek these services for assurance and peace of mind when making important decisions or when they want to ensure their financial statements are presented accurately.
Find Out More by Contacting Us
Attestation services are necessary to verify financial information and protect the best interests of businesses when making decisions. If your company requires assurance services, contact Scharf Pera & Co., PLLC, to find out more about our attestation services and how they can support the authentication of your company’s financials.