Definitions of terms relevant to attestation engagements

Assertion. Any declaration or set of declarations about whether the subject matter is in accordance with (or based on) the criteria.

Criteria. The benchmarks used to measure or evaluate the subject matter.

Engaging party. The party(ies) that engages the practitioner to perform the attestation engagement.

General use. Refers to prospective financial information for use by persons with whom the responsible party is not negotiating directly.

Limited use. Refers to prospective financial information for use by the responsible party alone or by the responsible party and third parties with whom the responsible party is negotiating directly

Responsible party. The party(ies) responsible for the subject matter. If the nature of the subject matter is such that no such party exists, a party who has a reasonable basis for making a written assertion about the subject matter may be deemed to be the responsible party.

Specified party. The intended user(s) to whom use of the written practitioner’s report is limited.

Subject matter. The phenomenon that is measured or evaluated by applying criteria.

Attestation engagement. An examination, review, or agreed-upon procedures engagement performed under the attestation standards related to subject matter or an assertion that is the responsibility of another party. The following are the three types of attestation engagements:

  • Examination engagement. An attestation engagement in which the practitioner obtains reasonable assurance by obtaining sufficient appropriate evidence about the measurement or evaluation of subject matter against criteria in order to be able to draw reasonable conclusions on which to base the practitioner’s opinion about whether the subject matter is in accordance with (or based on) the criteria or the assertion is fairly stated, in all material respects.
  • Review engagement. An attestation engagement in which the practitioner obtains limited assurance by obtaining sufficient appropriate review evidence about the measurement or evaluation of subject matter against criteria in order to express a conclusion about whether any material modification should be made to the subject matter in order for it be in accordance with (or based on) the criteria or to the assertion in order for it to be fairly stated.
  • Agreed-upon procedures engagement. An attestation engagement in which a practitioner performs specific procedures on subject matter or an assertion and reports the findings without providing an opinion or a conclusion on it. The parties to the engagement (specified party), as defined later in this paragraph, agree upon and are responsible for the sufficiency of the procedures for their purposes.


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