What is a Piecemeal Opinion

A piecemeal opinion is a report issued by an outside auditor stating an opinion limited to specific line items within a company's financial statements. An auditor may provide a piecemeal opinion in a situation where complete information is not available. Generally Accepted Accounting Principals (GAAP) no longer allow auditors to provide piecemeal opinions which tended to contradict the effect of the overall opinion.

BREAKING DOWN Piecemeal Opinion

When they were allowed, piecemeal opinions had to be extremely specific in order to be credible since many components of a company's financial statements are interrelated. For example, according to former SEC Chief Accountant Carman G. Blough, it might be possible to express a piecemeal opinion on the accuracy of certain items listed on a company's balance sheet, but it would not be possible to express a piecemeal opinion on the balance sheet as a whole because of the balance sheet's relationship with other financial statements, such as the income statement.

External auditors are independent contractors who focus on the fairness of an organization’s financial statement, ensuring it accurately reflects the company's financial situation. External auditors assert whether financial statements are free of material misstatement due to error or fraud.