American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)

Website: www.aicpa.org

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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AICPA proposes 6-point plan to improve audits
AICPA - 05/14/2015
The AICPA has published a 6-point plan, as part of the AICPA's Enhancing Audit Quality (EAQ) initiative, which provides a roadmap for the profession's continued journey to audit excellence. The plan concentrates on financial statement audits for (1) private companies, (2) employee benefit plans, and (3) governmental entities in the United States. The 6-point plan captures stakeholder input and the AICPA's strategic thinking intended to improve audit quality. The EAQ initiative, launched in May 2014, addresses quality issues on a holistic, ongoing basis, with special emphasis on specialized audits, such as those of governmental entities and employee benefit plans.

AICPA seeks comments on working draft of new content for AICPA Guide on employee benefit plans
AICPA - 05/06/2015
The AICPA is requesting comments on the working draft of a new chapter, titled Employee Stock Ownership Plans, and an appendix, titled Illustrative Financial Statements—Employee Stock Ownership Plans, of the AICPA Audit and Accounting Guide Employee Benefit Plans. The working draft was prepared by the AICPA’s Employee Stock Ownership Plans Task Force to assist preparers of employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) financial statements in preparing financial statements in conformity with U.S. GAAP and to assist auditors in auditing and reporting on such financial statements in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards.

AICPA issues technical Q&As on 'ALTA Best Practices Framework'
AICPA - 04/23/2015
The AICPA has published a set of technical questions and answers (Q&A) to provide nonauthoritative guidance to practitioners in connection with 'American Land Title Association (ALTA) Best Practices Framework.' The Q&As address the types of engagements a practitioner may perform, the applicability to an attest engagement, the suitability of criteria, the nature of examination or review procedures, and the form and content of the report.

PEEC adopts revised client affiliate interpretation, client definition and campaign treasurer interpretation
AICPA - 04/09/2015
The AICPA’s Professional Ethics Executive Committee (PEEC) has adopted revisions to the “Individual in a Campaign Treasurer or Similar Financial Position” and “Client Affiliates” interpretations under the “Independence Rule” of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct. The revisions provide a limited exception to the “Client Affiliate” interpretation and the “attest client” definition, as it relates to the entity or person that engages the member or member’s firm to perform an attest engagement. The revisions also expand the guidance in the “Individual in a Campaign Treasurer or Similar Financial Position” interpretation to also address the permissibility of serving in a campaign treasurer as well as any other position with similar financial responsibilities as a campaign treasurer, including in circumstances where the campaign organization, governmental entity, or political party is the relevant attest client.

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 - 02/18/2015
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.

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.

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Proposed rules

AICPA’s Ethics Committee proposes revised definition of "affiliate"
AICPA - 04/16/2015
The AICPA's Professional Ethics Executive Committee (PEEC) released an exposure draft that proposes revisions to the definition of "affiliate" to clarify and provide guidance on how to treat multiemployer employee benefit plans under this definition. [Comments due - May 18, 2015]

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]

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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.

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