cross-post from www.ulvog.wordpress.com.
SSARS 19, which goes into effect the end of 2010, specifies titles and addressing for compilation and review reports.
Comp report title
For compilation reports, the title should* reflect what kind of report is issued, specifically a comp. SSARS 19 suggests two examples in paragraph 2.17a: “Accountant’s Compilation Report” along with “Independent Accountant’s Compilation Report”.
Since I don’t perform any non-independent comps, I’ll add the word “independent” to all my reports.
If you have some non-independent reporting situations, it seems to me that you have two options: First, add or delete the “independent” based on the circumstance of each engagement. Second, you could drop the use of the word “independent” on every comp report as a routine step. The first approach might be more accurate and useful. However, seems you will set yourself up for a glitch someday when you forgot to drop the word and thus could be criticized (for example, taking heat from a peer reviewer, internal inspector, or jury).
Review report title
For review reports, the title should* reflect that it is a review and should* contain the word independent. So the title of a review report suggested by SSARS 19 is “Independent Accountant’s Review Report” in 3.28a.
For both comps and reviews, the reports should* “be addressed as appropriate in the circumstances of the engagement”. Neither SSARS 19 nor the 2010/11 Compilation and Review Alert give detail on what this means.
It seems obvious to me that in addition to identifying the organization, there would be an appropriate salutation, such as Dear Board members, or To the Stockholders, or Dear Owners. SSARS 19 uses the word addressee, while the Compilation and Review Alert uses the word salutation. I suggest you determine a framework as a firm and consistently apply that policy. It seems to me the change here is moving from a report to correspondence. Don’t know if that is the actual thought process, but that is how I am conceptualizing it.
(see extended discussion of reason for change on 11-19-11 at this post)
I have provided the comp and review reports I will be using with SSARS 19.
* – be aware the use of the word “should” is a loaded expression, meaning what follows in SSARS 19 or follow on pronouncements is a presumptively mandatory requirement. I used that “should” word intentionally! The “should” is in SSARS 19. If this is a new comment to you, it would be wise to quickly read paragraph 1.11 of SSARS 19.
Update: I have written a 3-hour online CPE course called Compilation and Review: Practice Issues (Third Edition) available at the CCH Learning Center website. From the course description:
This course was prepared to enable participants who are experienced accountants to improve their knowledge of the issues affecting their compilation and review practices.
Course discussed in more detail at this post.