In the United States, publicly listed companies are required to have an audit of their financial statements. After collecting substantial information, an external auditor issues a statement or an opinion with regard to the quality or integrity of the company’s reported financial information. When you receive anything but an unqualified opinion, the audit report indicates that there are issues or irregularities in your financial statement. Related: The Role of Financial Reporting in Corporate Transparency Publicly held companies conduct regular audits for compliance, as well as for the benefit of their lenders, investors, and suppliers. For privately held companies, it may not be necessary to have your statements audited, although some creditors or investors may require it before they do business with you. Audited financial statements can be used in improving internal controls or in assessing the financial health or performance of an entity. Therefore, as a CFO, it’s important to understand the audit opinions provided in the different types of audit reports.