Using your logo and company name: More consequential than it seems

As a client service, you prepare and send the paper or digital versions of the engagement report and final financial statements. Whatever the format, certain rules for using your firm’s visual identity apply.

In some written communications, such as notices to reader1, independent auditor’s reports or review engagement reports, using your logo and company name is acceptable and common practice. However, from a risk management perspective, the same cannot be said for the financial statements themselves. Here are five reasons why:

  1. In a compilation engagement, you are simply compiling the financial statements from information provided by your client. Putting your logo and company name on these financial statements may suggest a higher level of involvement than is appropriate, giving your client and readers the wrong impression.
  2. No matter the type of engagement, the financial statements are management’s responsibility.
  3. You go to great lengths to make sure your clients take responsibility for their financial statements, by having them sign an engagement letter and a management representation letter, and approve journal entries.
  4. Assurance standards require that management approve and take responsibility for the financial statements before you finalize the report.
  5. It is logical for your visual identity to appear on the report or communication attached to the financial statements, since your signature is at the bottom of the page.

For digital documents, you need to exercise caution; whether they’re sent by email or another method, you are responsible for ensuring they remain secure and confidential. For more information, read Email: Can efficiency and quality go hand in hand? and the CPA Guide on best practices in IT use [PDF].

1 The Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AASB) has replaced the old Section 9200 with CSRS 4200, effective for compiled financial information for fiscal periods ending on or after December 14, 2021 (with early application allowed). Under the new standard, the only appropriate form of communication that should be included or attached to financial information is a compilation engagement report.  The practitioner shall not represent compliance with this CSRS in the compilation engagement report, unless the practitioner has complied with all requirements of this CSRS relevant to the compilation engagement.