Article 1 of 3 in our PRF Audit Option Series
What are the Pros and Cons of a Single Audit 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, a single audit or a financial audit. 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 single audit option is discussed below.
Provider Relief Fund Single Audit Option
Although a single audit may be a new concept to for-profit entities, single audits in accordance with governmental auditing standards have been around for a more than 30 years and have been performed for not-for-profit entities that have expended greater than $750,000 of federal awards during their fiscal year. We have included links to several resources and practice aids available to entities that elect to choose the single audit option at the end of this article.
A single audit in accordance with governmental auditing standards 2 CFR 200/45 CFR Section 275 requires both a full financial audit as well as an audit of the entity’s internal controls. Additionally, the healthcare entity will be required to present all HHS awards within a Schedule of Expenditures of Federal Awards (“SEFA”). Some of the pros and cons of a single audit are as follows:
Provider Relief Fund Single Audit Pros:
- There is substantial guidance to both entities and external auditors who elect this option, which removes some of the uncertainty around performing a PRF audit.
- If an entity already receives an audit of their financial statements and receives, or expects to receive, multiple federal awards that will result in federal expenditures that exceed $750,000, this option may be a more efficient option instead of performing multiple or separate audits.
Provider Relief Fund Single Audit Cons:
- Generally, this is a pervasive audit of both financial and non-financial information. If an entity has not received an audit in previous years, it will require the auditor to consider opening balance sheet accounts. A full financial statement audit would be in accordance with the basis of accounting used by the healthcare entity and generally would include a balance sheet, statement operations and retained earnings, and cashflow statement.
- A single audit will also require a compliance audit component and the external auditor will be required to provide an opinion on internal controls.
- Management will be required to produce a SEFA and understand the compliance standards associated with producing this report.
- In general, this audit option may be costlier due the requirement to perform a financial statement and compliance audit.
Which audit option is right for your healthcare entity?
In most instances, we are advising our healthcare clients that received PRF funds that the financial audit option is preferable to a single audit. The scope of a single audit is considerably more than the financial audit option, especially for entities that currently do not receive a full financial statement 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.
Additional Single Audit Resources
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.