Management’s going concern assessment may be significantly affected by the current economic environment. For example, a company may have a profitable track record or prior success at refinancing. However, market conditions have changed as a result of COVID-19 – e.g. financing may be significantly more difficult and more costly to obtain now. Similarly, US GAAP financial statements are prepared on a going concern basis unless liquidation is imminent. Disclosures are required if events and circumstances raise substantial doubt about the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern. Although the terminology varies slightly, both GAAPs share the same objective of informing users of the financial statements early about the company’s potential financial difficulties.

Management should carefully consider the requirements of IFRS Standards and reevaluate their historical approach to the going concern analysis; it may no longer be sufficient given the current economic environment. For example, under US GAAP, the look-forward period for a company with a December 31, 20X0 balance sheet date and financial statements issued on March 31, 20X1 is the 12-month period ended March 31, 20X2. By contrast, the going concern assumption is the opposite of assuming liquidation, which is defined as the process when a company’s operations are forced to a halt and its assets are sold to willing buyers for cash.

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The going concern concept is not clearly defined anywhere in generally accepted accounting principles, and so is subject to a considerable amount of interpretation regarding when an entity should report it. However, generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS) do instruct an auditor regarding the consideration of an entity’s ability to continue as a going concern. As part of its assessment, management includes the potential impacts of climate-related risks. For some companies, climate-related risks could give rise to events or conditions that may cast significant doubt on their ability to continue as a going concern. These events may arise from physical risks such as the destruction of a manufacturing plant in a hurricane, or crop destruction due to forest fire, flood, drought or some other climate event.

It’s given when the auditor has doubts about the company and the assumption that it is a going concern. A qualified opinion can be a concern to investors, lenders and other stakeholders. A financial auditor is hired by a business to evaluate whether its assessment of going concern is accurate. After conducting a thorough review (audit) of the business’s financials, the auditor will provide a report with their assessment.

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We’ve been pretty clear about that all year in what we’re doing and where we’re going. In this example it is clear that the going concern basis is inappropriate in the entity’s circumstances. Many candidates fall into the trap of relying on ‘discussions with management/directors’ and ‘obtaining a written representation’. Similarly ISA 580, Written Representations recognises that while written representations do provide necessary audit evidence, they do not provide sufficient appropriate audit evidence on their own about any of the matters with which they deal. An entity is assumed to be a going concern in the absence of significant information to the contrary. An example of such contrary information is an entity’s inability to meet its obligations as they come due without substantial asset sales or debt restructurings.

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The reason the going concern assumption bears such importance in financial reporting is that it validates the use of historical cost accounting. Going concern value is a value that assumes the company will remain in business indefinitely and continue to be profitable. This differs from the value that would be realized if its assets were liquidated—the liquidation value—because an ongoing operation has the ability to continue to earn a profit, which contributes to its value.

Mitigation of a qualified opinion

Each one has its own benefits to consider, so it’s wise to evaluate which is best for you and your business. Our licensed insolvency practitioners will take the time to understand the problems your company is facing before recommending the best course of action going forward based on your own unique circumstances. Administration is a temporary state for a company to be in rather than a long-term solution; once a company enters administration it is safeguarded from legal action while an exit out of administration is sought. Depending on the financial position of the company and its likely potential for future success, this may well involve a sale out of administration which would allow trade to continue and jobs to be saved. This is widely seen as the preferred route for shareholders and stakeholders alike. Alternatively, there is the option to close the company if unlikely to recover from financial difficulty.


If so, the auditor must draw attention to the uncertainty regarding the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, in their auditor’s report. Separate standards and guidance have been issued by the Auditing Practices Board to address the work of auditors in relation to going concern. Management must also consider the likelihood, magnitude and timing of the potential effects of any adverse conditions and events.

I have consistently discussed why I am bullish on oil, gas, and even coal, as I do not believe that a forced energy transition will be beneficial. Although 2023 was a challenging year for dividend stocks, I am very satisfied with the way things went. I was able to use some major sell-offs to buy my favorite long-term investments, and I believe I’m well-positioned for what may come next. Candidates should generate the audit procedures specifically from information contained in the scenario to demonstrate application skills Jasmine Co in the September/December 2018 Sample exam demonstrates this approach. Member firms of the KPMG network of independent firms are affiliated with KPMG International.

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