What is an Accountant's Letter?

Malcolm Tatum

As a document that is prepared by an independent accountant, the accountant’s letter acts as a precursor to the prepared financial report that details the current condition of the financial condition of a given company or organization. Here are some basics of the accountant’s letter, including examples of what is included within the body of this document.

An accountant working.
An accountant working.

Often referred to as an accountant’s opinion, the purpose of the accountant’s letter is to provide specific documentation for the scope of the audit conducted by the accounting agency. Generally, accountant’s letters do not get into the specifics that are covered within the body of the report that will soon follow. However, it is not unusual for an accountant’s letter to make reference to certain sections of the report, if the accountant feels this would be helpful to the organizations being audited.

Learning how to compile an accountant's letter is a fundamental part of an accountant's training.
Learning how to compile an accountant's letter is a fundamental part of an accountant's training.

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Since the text of the accountant’s letter is focused on the task at hand, it is outside the range of this sort of document to make any type of recommendations or projections regarding the financial future of the organization. While accountants are always happy to sit down with clients and discuss potential options for the future, it is not the business of most accountants to offer advice on investing or building a financial portfolio.

Instead, the focus is often more along the lines of pointing out areas within the financial record keeping processes of the organization that need to be improved. Often, this constructive feedback on how to improve the internal accounting processes of an organization will make the accounting process easier for everyone involved, and possibly lead to a better utilization of available resources as well.

The accountants letter is always signed by the independent public accountant who oversaw or conducted the audit of the accounting books and records of the organization. In some cases, a seal accompanies the signature, attesting to the identity of the accountant.

One of the main purposes behind the accountant’s letter is to provide a smaller document that quickly calls attention to areas where the organization needs to make enhancements to their accounting process. The letter may also include suggestions for resources that will help with those goals. In addition, the accountant’s letter is essentially a certification that the data used for the audit is considered proprietary and confidential. The letter will verify that no one who is not covered by a covenant of confidentiality has been allowed access to the data, and that the data will continue to be considered proprietary information.

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