Levels of Authority 


    The following outlines the three levels of authority for auditing, attestation, and preparation, compilation and review publications, including levels of authority under Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services (SSARS) No. 21, Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services: Clarification and Recodification (AICPA, Professional Standards).

    Auditing Publications

    AU-C section 200, Overall Objectives of the Independent Auditor and the Conduct of an Audit in Accordance With Generally Accepted Auditing Standards, sets forth the following three types of auditing publications and their authority:
    • Auditing Standards: Authoritative per the “Compliance With Standards Rule” of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct (ET sec. 1.310.001 and 2.310.001).
    • Interpretive Publications: Issued under the authority of the Auditing Standards Board; if the auditor does not apply the auditing guidance included in an applicable interpretive publication, the auditor should be prepared to explain how he or she complied with the Statements on Auditing Standards provisions addressed by such auditing guidance.
    • Other Auditing Publications: No authoritative status; however, other auditing publications may help the auditor understand and apply the Statements on Auditing Standards.


    Attestation Publications

    AT section 50, SSAE Hierarchy, sets forth the following three types of attestation publications and their authority:
    • Attestation Standards: Authoritative per the “Compliance With Standards Rule” of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct (ET sec. 1.310.001 and 2.310.001).
    • Interpretive Publications: Issued under the authority of the Auditing Standards Board; if the practitioner does not apply the attestation guidance included in an applicable interpretive publication, the practitioner should be prepared to explain how he or she complied with the Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements provisions addressed by such attestation guidance.
    • Other Attestation Publications: No authoritative status; however, other attestation publications may help the practitioner understand and apply the Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements.


    Preparation, Compilation and Review Publications

    AR-C section 60, General Principles for Engagements Performed in Accordance With Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services, sets forth the following three types of preparation, compilation and review publications and their authority:
    • Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services (SSARSs): Authoritative per the “Compliance With Standards Rule” of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct (ET sec. 1.310.001 and 2.310.001).
    • Interpretive Publications: Issued under the authority of the Accounting and Review Services Committee; the accountant should consider applicable interpretative publications in the performance of a preparation, compilation, or review service.
    • Other Preparation, Compilation and Review Publications: No authoritative status; however, other compilation and review publications may help the accountant understand and apply the SSARSs. In applying the guidance included in an other preparation, compilation and review publication, the accountant should, exercising professional judgment, assess the relevance and appropriateness of such guidance to the circumstances of the engagement. Other preparation, compilation and review publications that have not been reviewed by the AICPA Audit and Attest Standards staff that contradict an other preparation, compilation and review publication that has been reviewed by the AICPA Audit and Attest Standards staff is inappropriate.





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