What is the difference between Emphasis of Matter paragraph and Other Matter paragraph?

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Auditor is required to express his opinion in the form of a written report called auditor’s report. Although auditor’s responsibility and also the purpose of auditor’s report is to convey primarily the auditor’s opinion on financial statements but if auditor believes that there is a matter that must be brought to attention of user of financial statements then he do so by adding either or both of additional paragraphs called emphasis of matter and other matter paragraph.

Auditor adds emphasis of matter paragraph in the auditor’s report pertaining to matter that is already adequately disclosed or presented in the financial statement and in auditor’s judgement it is necessary to bring the matter to user’s attention and thus emphasizing it by referring to that matter in the financial statements.

On the other hand auditor adds other matter paragraph in the auditor’s report pertaining to matter other then those presented or disclosed in the financial statements and in auditor’s judgement it is necessary to bring the other matter to user’s attention by giving necessary details.

In short the purpose of both paragraph is to draw user’s attention to important piece of information that can help understand financial statements better. The distinguishing factor between two paragraphs is that one (emphasis of matter) is about the matters already disclosed in the financial statements and the second (other matter) is about matters that are not disclosed in the financial statements.

Some important points to note regarding both are:

  1. Inclusion of emphasis of matter or other matter paragraphs in a report with unmodified opinion does not qualify the opinion i.e. inclusion of any or both will not result in modification of auditor’s opinion. However, these paragraphs can be used even if opinion is modified.
  2. These paragraphs are included after opinion paragraph in the auditor’s report.
  3. If auditor intends to add both paragraphs in the same report then after opinion paragraph emphasis of matter paragraph will be added and subsequently other matter paragraph.
  4. If emphasis of matter and/or other matter paragraph is to be added then auditor shall discuss the wordings of paragraph with those charged with governance.

To learn in detail about the circumstances in which emphasis of matter paragraph is added to the auditor’s report read: What is Emphasis of Matter paragraph and when is it used?

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