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How do I know if I have an audit or a review?

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If your organization hired an independent accountant or accounting firm to review and verify your financial records, they would have generated an official report.  This report will contain an auditor’s opinion letter, which states in the first sentence whether the report is an audit or a review. The opinion letter is usually found at the beginning of the report, directly following the table of contents and before the financial statements. It may be titled “Independent Auditors’ Report.”

If your organization hired an accountant to prepare your IRS Form 990 only or to assemble your financial statements in a formatted compilation, these are not the same services as an audit or review.  A compilation may not have an opinion letter or notes, and it is less detailed than an audit or a review.

If you aren't sure whether your organization received any kind of report from an independent accounting firm, you can look for the answer in your organization’s IRS Form 990 for that year. In Part XII, “Financial Statements and Reporting” of the full form 990 (as of 2013), question 2a asks if the organization’s financial statements were compiled or reviewed by an independent accountant. Question b asks if the organization’s financial statements were audited.

If your organization did not file a full Form 990, and you are still unsure whether or not you have an audit or a review, check with your organization’s Executive Director, Board Chair, Treasurer, or other person responsible for the organization’s financial activities.



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