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

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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).

AICPA releases fact sheet for SSARS No. 21
AICPA - 10/29/2014
The AICPA Accounting and Review Services Committee (ARSC) issued a Fact Sheet, which summarizes the newly-released Statement on Standards for Accounting and Review Services (SSARS) No. 21, Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services: Clarification and Recodification, and the SSARS Clarity Project. SSARS 21 is effective for reviews, compilations, and engagements to prepare financial statements for periods ending on or after December 15, 2015. Early implementation is permitted.

AICPA and CIMA release new Global Management Accounting Principles to drive better organizational decision-making
AICPA - 10/16/2014
The AICPA and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) have released new Global Management Accounting Principles, designed to improve decision-making in the more complex business world dealing with data overload, dispersed workforces, and the fast-paced rate of change.

AICPA issues clarified and recodified Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services
AICPA - 10/16/2014
SSARS No. 21 (1) clarifies and revises the standards for reviews, compilations and engagements to prepare financial statements, (2) includes significant revisions that affect the standards for accountants in public practice who prepare financial statements for their clients, and (3) establishes requirements and guidance when an accountant in public practice is engaged to prepare financial statements but not engaged to perform an audit, review, or compilation of those financial statements.

AICPA and CIMA publish paper on integrated reporting
AICPA - 10/16/2014
The AICPA and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) have formed a joint venture to establish the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation to elevate and build recognition of the profession of management accounting. The CGMA designation is exploring the future of business in a series of new reports for the World Congress of Accountants 2014. The first briefing, titled Integrated thinking: The next step in integrated reporting, covers how integrated reporting can help organizations make better decisions.

CAQ publishes highlights from May 2014 International Practices Task Force joint meeting with SEC staff
AICPA - 10/7/2014
The AICPA's Center for Audit Quality (CAQ) has published the highlights from the May 21, 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) status update of the staff’s study of the disclosure requirements in Regulation S-K as mandated by the JOBS Act, (4) processing 12-month audit waiver requests directly through Corp Fin (versus EDGAR or by transmittal letter), and (5) issues relating to Form 20-F, Item 7b.

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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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