DEFINITION of 'Opinion Shopping'

The practice of searching for an outside auditor who will provide an unqualified accountant's opinion. Opinion shopping is practiced by some firms in order to receive a positive opinion of the company's financial records. An accountant's opinion (also called auditor's certificate) is intended to show that the company's financials are fairly presented and that they conform to the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). This opinion is important to lenders and investors who rely on independent views of a company's books and records when making decisions.

BREAKING DOWN 'Opinion Shopping'

Opinion shopping is a dubious practice that involves finding an auditor who will overlook any shortcomings in the company's financial reporting. An accountant's opinion can be qualified or unqualified. If the opinion is qualified, the accountant has questions about the company's accounting principles and/or the scope of the information provided. When a company goes opinion shopping, it is seeking an unqualified opinion that finds the company's financial statements to be fairly presented, in all material respects, and in accordance with GAAP. An unqualified opinion is the most common type of accountant's opinion.

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