Article 2 of 3 in our PRF Audit Option Series
Is a Financial Audit the Better Option for Provider Relief Fund Recipients?
The Provider Relief Fund (“PRF”) was created to reimburse healthcare providers for eligible healthcare related expenditures and lost revenues. The PRF distributions were made available through the CARES Act and are administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”). Healthcare entities that received greater than $750,000 of HHS awards during their fiscal year will be subject to an audit as described in the previously published article, PRF Audit and Reporting Update.
There are two audit options for healthcare entities to consider. To assist you in determining which audit works best for your needs, I am sharing my insights on the pros and cons of each audit. The first option, a single audit, is discussed here. The second option, a financial audit, is detailed below.
Provider Relief Fund Financial Audit Option
A financial audit in accordance with governmental auditing standards is less common; however, with the amount of government awards available to for-profit entities we expect to see an increase in its popularity and use. There may be advantages to electing the financial audit option, which are described below.
Provider Relief Fund Financial Audit Pros:
- An audit of the financial statements is not required. Instead, an entity is required to present a schedule of a specific element of a financial statement in accordance with AU-C section 805, Special Considerations – Audits of Financial Statements and Specific Elements, Accounts, or Items of a Financial Statement.
- Although the external auditor is required to provide a report on internal controls, the report is not an opinion over internal controls and specific testing of internal controls is not required.
- The cost of a financial audit is expected to be less than a single audit due to the limited scope of the engagement.
Provider Relief Fund Financial Audit Cons:
- There is less guidance available to financial audit recipients and external auditors performing financial audits.
- If a healthcare entity receives multiple federal awards in addition to HHS awards, then a single audit may be required for other federal awards received.
Which audit option is right for your healthcare entity?
We are advising our healthcare clients that received PRF funds that the financial audit option is preferable to a single audit. The financial audit is limited to specific PRF distributions used to reimburse healthcare entities eligible healthcare expenditures as well as lost revenues. In comparison, a single audit requires the auditor to report on the full financial statements – i.e., the financial position and operations of a healthcare entity. Additionally, a single audit requires an audit over internal controls and for the auditor to provide opinion over the operating effectiveness of internal controls. Due to the reduced scope of a financial audit, we believe this generally will require less resources and be more cost effective than a single audit.
PRF Audit Due Dates
Audits for both Period 1 and Period 2 PRF distributions are due the earlier of 30 days after the audit issuance date or 9 months after the healthcare entities year-end.
Once you have selected the audit option that best fits your company’s needs, we encourage you to begin preparing for the audit requirement now. To assist with these efforts, download our complimentary checklist.
About the Author
The information contained within this article is provided for informational purposes only and is current as of the date published. Online readers are advised not to act upon this information without seeking the service of a professional accountant, as this article is not a substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice from a professional accountant.