AICPA seeks feedback on private-entity audit quality initiative

AICPA seeks feedback on private-entity audit quality initiative

In one of the first steps of the new Enhancing Audit Quality (EAQ)
initiative, a major effort to improve auditing of private entities,
the AICPA has released a discussion paper seeking stakeholder perspectives.

Through the two-phased initiative, the AICPA is coordinating
resources to improve performance in audits of private entities,
defined as non-SEC registrants, including not-for-profits, employee
benefit plans, and governmental entities.

“EAQ is a holistic effort to consider auditing of private entities …
through multiple touch points, especially where quality issues have
emerged,” AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, said in a
news release. “Many AICPA committees, boards, and staff contributed to
the EAQ. The goal is to align the objectives of all audit-related
AICPA efforts and collectively improve the quality of audit services
delivered by the profession.”

The EAQ initiative’s first phase will involve planned and proposed
efforts that will immediately drive quality. The second phase will
transform the current Peer Review Program, combining technology and
human oversight in practice monitoring.

In a discussion paper released Aug. 7, the AICPA described its plans
and proposals to address quality issues related to financial statement
audits of private entities. To read the paper and provide comments,
which are due Nov. 7, visit aicpa.org/EAQpaper.
Some efforts that already are underway are included in the discussion paper.

The AICPA Peer Review Board is considering significant steps to
improve the quality of reviewers. These include initial and annual
competency tests, expediting the process of expelling a reviewer, and
enhancing qualification requirements for reviewers of certain
specialized industry engagements, such as employee benefit plan (EBP)
audits. The AICPA also has established a team of experts to perform
oversight of peer reviewers, focusing on audits of certain specialized
industry engagements.

In May 2015, peer reviewers will begin performing more extensive
reviews of audits in certain high-risk industries and specialized
areas. To address the risks posed by low-volume auditors of high-risk
and complex engagements, the AICPA Peer Review Board is considering
requiring the firm, in all cases where material nonconformity with
applicable professional standards is noted, to engage a third party to
perform pre- or post-issuance reviews of those engagements in the future.

The Peer Review Board is also considering:


In the long term, the AICPA plans to evolve peer review so it
provides firms with nearly real-time feedback.

Other EAQ initiatives include:



Ken Tysiac (

ktysiac@aicpa.org
) is a JofA editorial director.

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