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However, the court held that if an accountant that holds superior expertise renders an opinion as a deliberate affirmation of the matters stated in a report, then the accountant's opinion can constitute a positive assertion of fact.
Plaintiffs have asserted that the accountant's negligence resulted in harm to them because of their reliance on the accountant's opinion. The courts have held accountants to a high degree of responsibility for opinions rendered as the result of audits of financial statements.
The report must contain (i) a statement that the AFS were examined in connection with the audit of the full financial statements, (ii) a complete description of the opinion rendered on the full financial statements including any explanatory language, and (iii) a statement of the independent accountant's opinion that the content of the AFS complies with Item 305.
The example in the Tax Clinic item, "Annual Filing Requirements for Employee Fringe Benefit Plans," TTA, May 1990, at 288, indicated that a funded employee welfare benefit plan, such as a funded uninsured medical plan, covering fewer than 100 participants (as of the beginning of the plan year), must file form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, together with an independent qualified public accountant's opinion.
Sufficient, relevant documentation should exist to support both management's report and the accountant's opinion. Such documentation may be in various forms; policy or accounting manuals, questionnaires, flowcharts and narratives are all possible ways to document controls.