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Are Going Concern Opinions the Kiss of Death?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for epic-failure.thumbnail.jpgOne thing is for sure: clients don’t like getting them. Auditors may even go out of their way to not give one in order to maintain “excellent client service” or whatever the latest buzz phrase is.
Many companies risking the dreaded explanatory paragraph arrived there on their own accord but if a company is legitimately trying to recover from their stay in financial intensive care, auditors may be piling on by issuing the GCO.


Such a qualification can result in tougher-to-get and more expensive financing deals, just when the company is most in need of a break. Indeed, once hit with a going-concern qualification, companies may succumb to a “self-fulfilling prophecy,” say accounting observers. The pariah status such an opinion confers all but forces investors, suppliers, and lenders to turn away, often driving a company on the brink of bankruptcy into a Chapter 11 filing.

CFO’s piece cites the opinion of Al King, former Chairman of the Institute of Management Accountants, who mentions the guidance of auditing rules “don’t allow auditors a wider range of possible warnings.” The situation comes down to one of options: 1) we’re cool or 2) we’re doomed.
That may be a valid point but the idea of an explanatory paragraph that discusses the alignment of the planets along with management’s brilliant plan to save the sinking ship doesn’t seem like the answer.
Nevermind breaking the bad news to your client, who may be living in denial over the state of their company. Or as the Overland Storage situation demonstrated, clients just get their panties in a bunch and start firing auditors. But you still have to the your jobs, amiright?
The GC opinion. Discuss any experiences you have had in comments. Did it involve grown men sobbing like children? Delusional clients? Maybe just gnashing of teeth? Or did the partner fold like a cheap lawn chair in the name of client service?
Living with a Scarlet Audit Letter [CFO]