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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XBRL US Center for Data Quality issues draft guidance for XBRL filings
AICPA - 07/16/2015
The XBRL US Data Quality Committee has issued for public comment guidance and rules that are intended to help preparers develop higher quality XBRL filings for submission to the SEC.

AICPA issues guidance on SOC 2 reports and additional subject matter
AICPA - 07/13/2015
The AICPA issued guidance about additional considerations when a service organization requests that the service auditor’s report address either criteria in addition to the applicable trust services criteria or additional subject matter related to the service organization’s services using additional suitable criteria related to that subject matter, or both. The guidance provides (1) examples of engagements to report on subject matter in addition to management’s description of a service organization’s system, and (2) an example of an engagement to report on the same subject matter (no additional subject matter) based on additional criteria.

AICPA issues guidance concerning updates to audit response letters
AICPA - 07/06/2015
Due to the increased frequency of update requests and the lack of guidance regarding these requests, the AICPA’s ABA Business Law Section Audit Responses Committee has prepared the new statement to outline the reasons auditors seek updates of audit response letters and to present the committee’s views on appropriate practices for responding to update requests under the ABA Statement of Policy Regarding Lawyers’ Responses to Auditors’ Requests for Information. The new exhibit is intended to enhance the ability of lawyers to respond efficiently to requests to update their audit response letters—thereby facilitating the audit process and contributing to audit quality.

AICPA issues competency framework on employee benefit plan auditing 
AICPA - 05/25/2015
The AICPA has published the AICPA Competency Framework: Employee Benefit Plan Auditing, which is designed to help CPAs understand the knowledge and skills necessary to perform high-quality employee benefit plan audit engagements. The framework is underpinned by the need for objectivity, integrity and ethical behavior.

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.

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Exposure Drafts

AICPA proposes changes to trust services principles and criteria
AICPA - 06/15/2015
The AICPA’s Assurance Services Executive Committee (ASEC) issued an exposure draft of proposed amendments to TSP section 100, Trust Services Principles and Criteria for Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy. TSP section 100 presents criteria for use by practitioners when providing attestation or consulting services to evaluate controls relevant to the security, availability, or processing integrity of a system, or the confidentiality or privacy of the information processed by the system. The proposed amendments revise and update the criteria related to ‘privacy.' [Comments due - August 15, 2015]

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]

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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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