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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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.

AICPA issues technical Q&As on accounting for employer benefit plans
AICPA - 09/26/2014
The AICPA has published a set of technical questions and answers (Q&As) to provide nonauthoritative guidance about the effects of Accounting Standards Update No. 2013-07, Presentation of Financial Statements—Liquidation Basis of Accounting, on the accounting for primarily single-employer defined benefit pension and defined contribution retirement plans.

AICPA issues technical Q&As on accounting for management representations
AICPA - 09/26/2014
The AICPA published TIS Section 8900.11, Management Representations Regarding Prior Periods Presented That Were Audited by Predecessor Auditor, to provide nonauthoritative guidance on the circumstances under which the auditor must obtain written representations from management when prior period financials were audited by a predecessor auditor.

AICPA issues third-party verification matrix
AICPA - 08/29/2014
The AICPA has developed a matrix that outlines common requests CPAs have been receiving regarding third-party verifications (often referred to as 'comfort letters'). The matrix provides related responses that may be appropriate, depending on whether or not the CPA has performed additional procedures to corroborate the information.

AICPA seeks comments on private-entity audit improvement efforts
AICPA - 08/07/2014
The AICPA released a discussion paper seeking input on its Enhancing Audit Quality initiative, a major effort to coordinate resources and further improve audits of private entities, which are defined as non-SEC registrants, including not-for-profits, employee benefit plans and governmental entities.

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Proposed rules

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]

AICPA Ethics Division issues "Omnibus Proposal of Revised Interpretations"
AICPA - 08/29/2014
The AICPA's Professional Ethics Division issued an exposure draft seeking comments on two proposals affecting members in public practice. One proposal provides for a limited exception to the "Client Affiliate" interpretation under the "Independence Rule," and the "attest client" definition in situations where a member's independence is impaired with respect to a non-client or nonattest client that acquires the member's financial statement attest client. The second proposal calls for the "Campaign Treasurer" interpretation to be applied more broadly and not be limited only to a member serving as a campaign treasurer for a mayoral candidate. [Comments due - October 29, 2014]

AICPA issues exposure draft on proposed changes to performing and reporting on peer reviews
AICPA - 08/18/2014
This Exposure Draft provides background to the proposed changes to the AICPA Standards for Performing and Reporting on Peer Reviews issued by the AICPA Peer Review Board. The proposed changes would result in preparation services performed under the Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services (SSARS) being excluded from both the scope of peer review and the definition of an accounting and auditing practice for the purposes of these standards. [Comments due - October 31, 2014]

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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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