Going concern: recommendations to strengthen the financial reporting ecosystem

Going Concern

The audit procedures performed to evaluate the significant elements of management’s plans and evidence obtained, if applicable. So, if management’s plans are expected to work,does the company have to explicitly state that management’s plans will alleviatesubstantial doubt? Management’s plans should be considered only if is it probable that they will be effectively implemented. Also, it must be probable that management’s plans will be effective in alleviating substantial doubt. Development of non-authoritative guidance for reporting Going Concern matters in the auditor’s report. The auditor’s evaluation of a company’s ability to continue as a going concern is an important part of an audit under PCAOB standards and federal securities law. The going concern assumption is a fundamental principle in the preparation of financial statements.

What is an implication of the going concern assumption?

If a company is a "going concern" the implication is that these things have been done properly. Correct classifications of liabilities are also an implication of the going concern assumption. If a company does not correctly classify its current and concurrent assets it could appear to be more liquid than it really is.

Listing the value of long-term assets may indicate a company plans to sell these assets. However, some courts considering cases in which the plaintiff alleges that the auditors should have issued a going concern disclosure have looked beyond these allegations and assessed what information was available to the plaintiff during the relevant period.

Going Concern Auditing Summary

A basic concept in financial reporting is the assumption that an entity will continue in existence long enough to use its existing assets and discharge its liabilities in the normal course of doing business (i.e., the going concern assumption). Macro- and microeconomic forecasting play a significant role in evaluating the reasonableness of this assumption. Certainly, there may very well be an increase in the number of emphasis-of-matter paragraphs and we can expect more disclosure in the financial statements about the risks and uncertainties. An entity’s financial statements would not look substantially different from everyone else’s financial statements if they’re done appropriately, because I think there are going to be many in that category.

What is an example of going concern?

Examples of Going Concern

A state-owned company is in a tough financial situation and is struggling to pay its debt. The government gives the company a bailout and guarantees all payments to its creditors. The state-owned company is a going concern despite its poor financial position.

However, generally accepted auditing standards do instruct an auditor regarding the consideration of an entity’s ability to continue as a https://www.bookstime.com/. Accountants use going concern principles to decide what types of reporting should appear on financial statements. Companies that are a going concern may defer reporting long-term assets at current value or liquidating value, but rather at cost. A company remains a going concern when the sale of assets does not impair its ability to continue operation, such as the closure of a small branch office that reassigns the employees to other departments within the company. In most such cases, where evidence of the availability of, or access to, real-time financial data concerning the entity is presented, courts should seriously weigh whether justifiable reliance on the absence of a going concern disclosure in audited financial statements can be established. If such an analysis is made, it can be expected that successful negligence claims based on the absence of a going concern disclosure will be few and far between. Indeed, such claims might only succeed on a fraud or recklessness theory, where it could be shown that the auditor was aware of “storm warnings” that should have led to further inquiry and, perhaps, a going concern disclosure.

Management Decisions about Going Concern Accounting

Lenders are in a position to evaluate a prospective borrower’s financial condition and ability to repay the loan, and they generally have their own procedures for doing so. Lending institutions have analysts who evaluate a borrower and its financial condition. They conduct significant research and analysis and, most often in tenuous situations, require collateral sufficient to liquidate the debt. They have departments that audit the existence and value of the collateral before the loan is funded and periodically afterwards. They also evaluate the entity’s cash flow because they expect to get paid from the entity’s operating cash flow. Auditors and management are required to make this determination using generally accepted accounting principles during an audit. If the auditor determines that the company is no longer a going concern, assets normally reported at cost on the balance sheet will instead be reported at a calculated liquidation value.

  • Consequently, the auditor tended not to provide a going concern audit opinion over the company’s audit client tenure, audit lag and liquidity ratio.
  • If a business is not a going concern, it means it’s gone bankrupt and its assets wereliquidated.
  • The requirement to assess a company’s ability to continue as a going concern is a relatively new requirement – dating back to 2017.
  • This is particularly true in cases where the plaintiffs are institutional investors who have the capacity to analyze financial data concerning large public companies on a continual basis.
  • There are several forms of financial ratios that indicate the company’s results, financial risks, and operational efficiency, such as the liquidity ratio, asset turnover ratio, operating profitability ratios, business risk ratios, financial risk ratio, stability ratios, and so on.
  • On the other hand, Lennox asserted that the opinion shopping influenced the going concern audit opinion.

AuditorsAn auditor is a professional appointed by an enterprise for an independent analysis of their accounting records and financial statements. An auditor issues a report about the accuracy and reliability of financial statements based on the country’s local operating laws. A going concern is an accounting assumption that a business will continue its operations for the foreseeable future. In our experience, if there are such material uncertainties then a company usually provides disclosure as part of the basis of preparation note in the financial statements. All relevant information available up to the date the financial statements are issued must be considered when assessing whether an organisation is a going concern. An entity should take into account all available information about the future, which generally is at least, but is not limited to, twelve months from the date the financial statements are issued. The auditor is required by the Securities and Exchange Commission to disclose in the financial statements of a publicly traded company whether going concern status is in doubt.


COVID-19 and related measures to slow the spread of the virus have had a significant impact on the Australian and global economy, supply chains and financial markets, and resulted in increased levels of volatility and uncertainties. The effects of this health crisis are continuing to unfold and the ultimate extent of the economic impacts worldwide are unknown.

  • Management needs to assess whether there is substantial doubt about the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern for that 12-month period.
  • A negative judgment may also result in the breach of bank loan covenants or lead a debt rating firm to lower the rating on the company’s debt, making the cost of existing debt increase and/or preventing the company from obtaining additional debt financing.
  • Fixed AssetsFixed assets are assets that are held for the long term and are not expected to be converted into cash in a short period of time.
  • Understanding how and why auditors make going concern determinations can help you figure out which deals are worth it.

The hypothesis test was assessed by using the logistic regression on the significance level of (α) 5 percent. The hypothesis was accepted if the significance value is less than 5 percent. The hypothesis test in the present study applied the logistic regression analysis technique because the dependent variable in the study was binary or dichotomy and the independent variable was the combination of non-metric and metric.

Opinion shopping to the going concern audit opinion

KPMG explains how an entity’s management performs a going concern assessment and makes appropriate disclosures. Q&As, interpretive guidance and illustrative examples include insights into how continued economic uncertainty may affect going concern assessments. This latest edition includes illustrative application of going concern’s most significant complexities.

The court concluded that because the acquirers decided to proceed anyway, the trustee could not demonstrate that a going concern disclosure would have dissuaded them. The company will be required to write down the value of its assets if liquidation value is lower than the current value on the balance sheet. The write-down process includes taking a loss on the income statement, so net income already doing badly will get even worse.

A next-level client experience is all about options

On the other hand, Masyitoh and Adhariani found out that the liquidity did not affect the issuance of going concern opinion by the auditor. After the implementation of SSARS No. 25, adverse conclusions will be permitted. The auditor’s conclusion as to whether he or she should include an explanatory paragraph in the audit report. If disclosures with respect to an entity’s ability to continue as a going concern are inadequate, the auditor also should document the conclusion as to whether to express a qualified or adverse opinion for the resultant departure from generally accepted accounting principles. The fact that the entity may cease to exist as a going concern subsequent to receiving a report from the auditor that does not refer to substantial doubt, even within one year following the date of the financial statements, does not, in itself, indicate inadequate performance by the auditor.

Going Concern

After conducting a thorough review of the business’s financials, the auditor will provide a report with their assessment. 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. If such were not the case, an entity would essentially be acquiring assets with the intention of closing its operations and reselling the assets to another party. The going concern principle is the assumption that an entity will remain in business for the foreseeable future. Conversely, this means the entity will notbe forced to halt operations and liquidate its assets in the near term at what may be very low fire-sale prices.

AS 2415: Consideration of an Entity’s Ability to Continue as a Going Concern

Such a disclosure can hasten the entity’s demise by impairing its ability to obtain credit, in turn causing current and potential customers to hesitate to enter into transactions with it. The end result can be that the entity must dispose of its operating assets outside the normal course of business to meet its obligations, eventually causing it to go out of business and liquidate. We don’t expect that to be common at all, but that is one requirement of the standards. In FASB’s standards, management is responsible for determining whether preparing the financial statements on a going concern basis is appropriate for the entity. FASB’s standards require that management look out for a reasonable period of time, which is 12 months beyond the date when the financial statements are issued.

  • SAS 132 requires the auditor to inquire of management concerning their knowledge of such conditions or events.
  • An absentee owner usually has access to the entity’s records and can speak to management.
  • Despite this, some fund managers may be required to sell the stock to maintain an appropriate level of risk in their portfolios.
  • Warning signs include falling market share, poor creditworthiness, employee turnover, low liquidity, lawsuits, excessive business loss, and inability to innovate.
  • Often management is going to be using cash flow forecasts in that evaluation, and that’s a significant factor in helping them determine whether their plans can alleviate substantial doubt.
  • Table II shows the frequency distribution of the going concern audit opinion and the non-going concern audit opinion every year.

Have they extended that evaluation period out to the reasonable period of time? Remember, management’s evaluation is valid at the point at which they make that evaluation based on known information.

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