American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)


The AICPA represents the CPA profession nationally regarding rule-making and standard-setting, and serves as an advocate before legislative bodies, public interest groups and other professional organizations. The AICPA develops standards for audits of private companies and other services by CPAs; provides educational guidance materials to its members; develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination; and monitors and enforces compliance with the profession’s technical and ethical standards.

Recent Developments – Past 90 days

Select News Releases

AICPA issues revised Plain English Guide to Independence
AICPA - 03/24/2015
The AICPA has published an updated version of the AICPA Plain English Guide to Independence to help members understand the independence requirements under the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct and, if applicable, other rule-making and standard-setting bodies in the United States in a less technical manner.

AICPA issues guidance on the auditor's responsibilities associated with online banking
AICPA - 02/17/2015
The AICPA Center for Plain English Accounting published a report titled Online Banking: Considerations in a Financial Statement Audit, which explains how to capture information pertaining to electronic banking, the risks associated with cybercrime and how to comply with AU-C Section 315 requirements to assess the risk of material misstatement.

PEEC issues guidance on breach of independence 
AICPA - 02/17/2015
The AICPA Professional Ethics Executive Committee (PEEC) has published interpretive guidance to assist members in (1) evaluating and addressing the consequences of an independence breach (violation) and the effect on the attest engagement team's integrity, objectivity, and professional skepticism and (2) determining whether actions could be taken to satisfactorily address the consequences of the breach. The interpretative guidance provides specific steps and actions to take when a member becomes aware that an independence breach has occurred. The guidance is expected to be effective on March 16, 2016, with early adoption permitted.

AICPA issues Q&A on attributes of conflict minerals reports
AICPA - 02/09/2015
The AICPA Conflict Minerals Task Force published two new Questions and Answers (Q&A) to provide nonauthoritative guidance to address issues in practice facing those involved with conflict minerals reporting work. These newly developed Q&As include the following: (i) matters that might appear in a representation letter from management in an engagement to perform an IPSA, and (ii) the practitioner's responsibility with respect to gaining an understanding of and testing internal controls in performing an IPSA.

AICPA issues technical Q&A on not-for-profit entities
AICPA - 01/23/2015
The AICPA has published a technical question and answer (Q&A) to provide nonauthoritative guidance about not-for-profit entities with a for-profit subsidiary and the adoption of FASB ASU 2014-02, Accounting for Goodwill. The Q&A addresses whether a not-for-profit's for-profit subsidiary that is considered a private company can elect to amortize goodwill as permitted by ASU 2014-02.

CAQ publishes highlights from November 2014 International Practices Task Force joint meeting with SEC staff
AICPA - 01/22/2015
The AICPA's Center for Audit Quality (CAQ) has published the highlights from the November 18, 2014, International Practices Task Force (IPTF) joint meeting with the SEC staff. Topics discussed at the meeting included: (1) Venezuela Currency Issues, (2) Monitoring Inflation in Certain Countries, (3) Definition of a Foreign Business, (4) Status update of the staff’s Disclosure Effectiveness Initiative, and (5) Staff Observations Regarding the Use of IFRS XBRL Taxonomy by FPIs.

EBPAQC publishes Topix Primer on health and welfare employee benefit plans
AICPA - 12/18/2014
The Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center (EBPAQC) has issued a new primer to provide members with a basic understanding of health and welfare employee benefit plans. This primer provides a general overview of health and welfare plans; discusses defining the plan, including unique aspects of health and welfare plan contributions, funding of benefits, key roles and responsibilities, the annual health care process, unique aspects of health and welfare plan benefit obligations, benefits administration, when an independent audit is required, and applicable laws and regulations; and provides references to additional resources.

AICPA publishes advisory on hiring a quality auditor for employee benefit plan audits
AICPA - 12/03/2014
The AICPA Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center (EBPAQ) has published a plan advisory to provide plan sponsors, administrators and trustees with an understanding of the importance of hiring a quality auditor to perform employee benefit plan financial statement audits, as well as information to help select a quality auditor.

CAQ and AICPA issue joint member alert highlighting independence rules
AICPA - 11/19/2014
The AICPA and the Center for Audit Quality (CAQ) have jointly issued an Alert intended to provide audit firms with an overview of the independence rules of the SEC and PCAOB applicable with respect to financial statement audit and attestation engagements undertaken for the following non-issuers: (i) non-issuer broker-dealers that are registered with the SEC as a broker or dealer; and (ii) where the engagement(s) is subject to the requirements of SEC Rule 206(4)-2 (17 CFR 275.206(4)-2), SEC-registered and state-registered investment advisers, related party custodians, or private funds (e.g., pooled investment vehicles).

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Proposed rules

PEEC issues proposed interpretation concerning firm mergers and acquisitions 
AICPA - 12/10/2014
The AICPA's Professional Ethics Executive Committee (PEEC) is seeking comments on proposed guidance to members in situations where independence with respect to an attest client may become impaired as a result of a firm merger or acquisition. It focuses on two types of relationships that could impair independence: (1) employment or association with an attest client and (2) the provision of non-attest services that would impair independence. [Comments due - May 15, 2015]

AICPA proposes changes to Peer Review Standards
AICPA - 11/18/2014
The AICPA issued an exposure draft titled Proposed changes to the AICPA standards for Performing and Reporting on Peer Reviews – Preparation of Financial Statements Performed under SSARS and the Impact on Enrollment in and the Scope of Peer Review. Under the proposal, a firm is not required to enroll in the AICPA peer review program if it only performs preparation engagements under Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services (SSARS). The exposure draft also proposes when to include preparation engagements in the scope of a peer review when a firm either elects to enroll in the program (e.g., to comply with licensing or other requirements) or is already enrolled due to other engagements it performs. [Comments due - January 2, 2015]

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PwC comment letters

PwC comments on the AICPA's Enhancing Audit Quality discussion paper
AICPA - 11/10/2014
PwC strongly supports the AICPA's goals related to their enhancing audit quality initiatives.

PwC comments on proposed interpretation on breach of independence
AICPA - 09/11/2014
PwC submitted specific comments and suggestions concerning breaches (i.e., violations) of an independence interpretation of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct. Among other things, we do not believe it to be necessary to distinguish between intentional breaches and breaches due to ignorance or negligence as the distinction has no impact on the Interpretation's principles. A member should be allowed to exercise professional judgment to determine what, if any, actions can be taken to address a breach.

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