What is 'Negative Confirmation'

Negative confirmation is a request by an auditor sent to a sample of a company's customers asking them to respond only if they find a discrepancy between their books and the account recorded on the financial statements of the company being audited. Negative conformation is used when the accounting controls of a company have historically had very few errors and are thus considered to be strong. The company is asked to double-check the numbers and only confirm if there is a discrepancy.

BREAKING DOWN 'Negative Confirmation'

Negative confirmation is simply a professional way for an auditor to say "don't bother me unless there is a problem." Sending out a negative conformation as opposed to a positive conformation, which requires a response, can save time that would be spent tracking replies and hounding companies that are late in responding. The accountant is just making sure both companies have the same numbers.


For example, there could be a negative request to a car manufacturer on the sale of 200 cars, which were sold to a dealership for $6 million. If this was the correct transaction, the manufacturer would not reply; if the cost price was only $5 million, the manufacturer would notify the accountant of the discrepancy in the dealership's books.

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