The annual accounts are by far the most important source of information when it comes to key financial data on a business, which is why they are scrutinised by many internal and external interested parties. Certificates are often requested from independent experts in order to enhance the credibility of the data, although this does not always have to be a comprehensive annual audit. After consulting external addressees it may suffice to conduct an audit examination as defined by IDW PS 900 [German Institute of Auditors, audit standard 900].
An examination does not constitute an annual audit; it is a critical appraisal of the financial statement based on plausibility assessments. This makes it possible to limit the expenditure of time and consequently the costs of external certification services.