The auditor (an independent certified public accountant) is responsible for seeing that the financial statements issued comply with generally accepted accounting principles. In contrast, the company's management is responsible for the preparation of the financial statements. The auditor must agree that management's choice of accounting principles is appropriate and that any estimates are reasonable. The auditor also examines the company's accounting and internal control systems, confirms assets and liabilities, and generally tries to be sure that there are no material errors in the financial statements.
Though hired by the management, the auditor is supposed to be independent and to serve the stockholders and the other users of the financial statements.
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