KEEP-WELL AGREEMENTS, also known as comfort letters, are documents from one party written to another party in regards to contingent liability. Comfort letters have been held by courts to be legally enforceable commitments if they meet certain standards criteria of language. Comfort letters meeting these standards are loss contingencies in that they are construed to guarantee a financial commitment and must be reported under Statement of Financial Accounting Standard 5 as a guarantee. Auditors should review the language of all comfort letters and seek to discover contingent liabilities not disclosed in financial statements in situations where comfort letters exist. Sources of information concerning the contingent liabilities of comfort letters include: management and third parties. Auditors should document within the client representations letter management assurances that loss contingencies have been reported.
ABA (Accredited Business Accountant or Accredited Business Advisor), in the US, is a national credential conferred by Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation to professionals who specialize in supporting the financial needs of individuals and small to medium sized businesses. ABA is the only nationally recognized alternative to the CPA. Most accredited individuals do not perform audits. Generally, they are small business owners themselves. In addition to general accounting work, CPAs are also heavily schooled in performing audits; however, only a small fraction of Americas businesses require an audit. In general, a CPA has majored in accounting, passed the CPA examination and is licensed to perform audits. An ABA has majored in accounting, passed the ABA comprehensive examination and in most states is not licensed to perform audits.
LEAD SCHEDULE, in accounting, is a working paper with columnar headings similar to those in a working trial balance, set up to combine similar ledger accounts the total of which appears in the working trial balance as a single amount.
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