Characteristics of an Assurance Report

What information will an assurance report contain?

Because there is little guidance as to what assurance statements should contain and who should provide them, it is best to be aware of the various characteristics of these statements.

Assurance statements usually differ on the following characteristics.  Listed below are eleven characteristics (types of information) that can occur in assurance statements.  After reviewing each characteristic and the type of information it provides, you can view a number of assurance statements and locate the characteristics.

Characteristics of an External Assurance Report Answers the Question(s)…
Name of assurance provider Who performed the review? Names will be quite different among companies and across countries. For example, Transalta’s statement was Independent Assurance Report, Danisco’s was Independent Auditor’s report on Danisco’s Sustainability Report, Centrica’s was External Assurance Statement and Commentary, and Exxon Mobil’s was Assurance Statement.

Scope of the review What the assurer reviewed?  Which operations are included?
Procedures used in the review What was done during the review?
Standard(s) Used to perform the review What professional or well-accepted standards were followed to ensure a high quality review was performed?
Standard used to assess the reporting Did the review determine if the report adheres to a standard?
Statement of independence of the assurer How objective is the assurer?
Statement of the qualifications of the assurer Does the assurer have the experience and education to provide a high quality review?
Opinion What decision was made after the review was completed?
Observations and recommendations from the assurer What suggestions for improvement were made after the review was completed?
Organization’s response to assurance observations and recommendations What will the company do to improve its performance?