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Negative Confirmation Overview, Types, When To Use

Negative confirmations can be more efficient for John to use, especially when dealing with a large number of customers. However, they provide less robust evidence than positive confirmations because a lack of response can also be due to other reasons, such as the customer overlooking or disregarding the request. Let’s consider an example of an auditor named John who is auditing a manufacturing company named Best Manufacturing Inc. As part of his audit procedures, John needs to verify the accounts receivable balance at year-end.

  1. Sending out a negative confirmation as opposed to a positive confirmation, which requires a response, can save time that would be spent tracking replies and following up with unresponsive recipients.
  2. Typically, the company receiving a negative confirmation is believed to have stringent internal requirements and business practices.
  3. ” With scant information to go on, doctors quickly form a hypothesis, using additional questions, diagnostic testing and medical-record information to support their first impression.
  4. In such a scenario, the value of the confirmation is nil, as the fraudster would act in their self-interest and conceal their behavior.
  5. However, peer reviewers have found that auditors sometimes fail to
    make this required projection and concomitant evaluation.
  6. The auditors may want to use blank-form positive confirmations,
    which ask that respondents fill in balance or other data, to minimize
    the possibility of say yes behavior.

Auditors must combine and project to the population being examined
any misstatements either revealed in the investigation of responding
positive requests or identified in the process of applying alternative
procedures to nonresponses. Peer review teams sometimes find that
practitioners do not properly compare extrapolated misstatement with
tolerable misstatement. If no response is received from the customers, the auditor assumes the balances are correct. This assumption is based on the premise that customers would promptly notify the auditor if the information in the confirmation letter was not in accordance with their records. An auditor performs audits with utmost professional skepticism, which preserves their independence and qualifies the audit. With that in mind, choosing the right approach will depend on the level of audit risk an auditor is willing to take regarding material misstatement.

When To Use Negative Confirmation?

Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master’s in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Deviation from standard practice will result in alerts, bringing cognitive errors to consciousness, thus reducing the likelihood of misdiagnosis and medical error.

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But if there are no discrepancies, the recipient should provide a response confirming the accuracy. Negative confirmation looks much better as it does not require us to follow up when there is no response. Consider how AS 2310, The Confirmation Process, should be revised to reflect changes in technology, as well as to align more closely with the PCAOB’s risk assessment standards. Future generations of generative AI, pretrained with data from people’s electronic health records and fed with information about cognitive biases, will be able to spot these types of errors when they occur. This tendency is heightened in a medical system where physicians face intense time pressures. Studies indicate that doctors, on average, interrupt patients within the first 11 seconds of being asked “What brings you here today?

Example of Negative Confirmation

This technique is widely used in auditing and financial accounting to minimize the confirmation process’s time and effort. Negative confirmation is an audit procedure that we perform to confirm the client’s balances. Like positive confirmation, we perform negative confirmation by using formal letters or documents to request the response from the recipients. While positive confirmation requires supporting information despite the accuracy of the original records, negative confirmation requires a response only if there is a discrepancy.

Start with a free account to explore 20+ always-free courses and hundreds of finance templates and cheat sheets. Negative confirmations are a professional way of saying “don’t respond to me unless there is a problem.” Negative confirmation letters are often sent out with 401(k) plans that have an auto-escalation feature. With auto-escalation, the percentage of an employee’s paycheck contributed to each pay period is automatically increased every year.

Since auditors independently scrutinize companies on behalf of the company’s shareholders, they seek validation from the right sources to prove the legitimacy of the supporting evidence presented by the company’s management. This confirmation is different from positive confirmation due to the positive confirmation required the response no matter the confirmed information agrees or does not agree. Negative confirmation is an audit procedure that use to confirm the balance between the client’s records and third-party records. We hope this article has provided a clear understanding of negative confirmation and its uses in finance management.

No firm with an audit
practice wants to wait until a peer review to discover any problems. Negative confirmation is a method used in auditing to seek indirect verification of a financial account’s accuracy or balance. Instead of contacting all account holders for direct confirmation, auditors only require a response from those who find discrepancies in their records.

The AICPA also observed that
recipients might lack the financial sophistication to provide reliable
responses or might simply ignore the requests. For example, auditors
often dont confirm hospital receivables, because response rates are
usually inadequate. Similarly, the federal government and some
companies have a policy of not responding to confirmation requests.

Practical Usage of Negative Confirmations

By incorporating negative confirmations, auditors can efficiently assess the potential risk or discrepancy in financial statements without needing direct responses from every individual customer. It streamlines the auditing process, reduces effort and time, and helps to maintain the integrity of financial records, ensuring accuracy and reliability. Practice observations, as noted in the 1995 report, led to this
change from SAP no. 1. One of these observations was the concern with
recipient say yes behavior in which the confirmation is signed and
returned without actual verification. Say yes behavior may be
suggested from the results of other related substantive testing and
observations when the recipient does not adequately investigate the
accuracy of balances being confirmed.

Negative confirmation is more commonly used if the individual’s or business’s records are generally considered to be highly accurate. Typically, the company receiving a negative confirmation is believed to have stringent internal requirements and business practices. As a result, negative confirmation is much less costly and time-intensive for auditors since they usually only need to send one letter out. For example, municipalities, retail stores, and banks are all typical audit clients where negative confirmations are utilized in the evidence-gathering process.

negative confirmation is applicable for use in the situation where the client’s internal control system is strong and the client’s third party (customers & suppliers) are willing to respond. If the client’s internal control is not strong, the auditor should use positive confirmation or alternative procedures. An auditor can verify the accuracy of the accounts receivable records being examined by determining if the records accurately reflect the transactions that have occurred between the company and its customers. Contacting customers directly helps auditors verify that listed accounts actually exist, that balances shown as owed are correct, and that payments marked as received are true. An auditor should use negative confirmations for an efficient and effective flow of the audit procedures without overutilizing time and resources in one audit area. In a nutshell, an auditor should only get stuck waiting for a response with a valid reason.

On December 1, 2023, the new standard and conforming amendments were approved by the SEC. The new standard and conforming amendments will take effect for audits of financial statements for fiscal years ending on or after June 15, 2025. An auditor who has not requested confirmations in the examination of accounts receivable should document how he or she overcame this presumption. These procedures help reduce the chances of fraud and ensure security for the users of the company’s financial statements. Confirmation is a very popular procedure used by most auditors to confirm the existence and accuracy of accounting balance.






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