ARSC Clarity Project 


    In October 2011, the Auditing Standards Board (ASB) reached a major milestone in its project to redraft all of the auditing sections in Codification of Statements on Auditing Standards (contained in Professional Standards), with the release of Statement on Auditing Standards Nos. 122-124. The clarified auditing standards are designed to make the standards easier to read, understand, and apply.

    The Accounting and Review Services Committee (ARSC) has concluded that by undertaking a similar clarity project, the ARSC would serve the public interest by having all of the professional literature for audits, reviews, and compilations drafted using the same conventions. In addition, the resulting clarified compilation and review standards would be easier to read, understand, and apply.

    In May 2010, the ARSC approved a project to revise all existing compilation and review standards in the Codification of Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services (AR sections of the AICPA’s Professional Standards) substantially using the drafting conventions adopted by the ASB in clarifying the auditing literature.

    The ARSC has determined, however, that there would be certain differences between its clarity drafting conventions and those adopted by the ASB. Specifically, the ARSC has determined to not include specific application guidance with respect to governmental entities and smaller, less complex entities. Accordingly, the ARSC has commenced redrafting the Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services (SSARSs) in accordance with those conventions, which include the following:
    • Establishing objectives for each clarified AR section
    • Including a definitions section, where relevant, in each clarified AR section
    • Separating requirements from application and other explanatory material
    • Numbering application and other explanatory material paragraphs using an A- prefix and presenting them in a separate section that follows the requirements section
    • Using formatting techniques, such as bulleted lists, to enhance readability
    The ARSC’s current timeline with respect to its project to clarify the SSARSs is as follows (please note that the timeline is subject to change):

    The following represents the ARSC’s tentative timeline with respect to issuance of the clarified SSARSs:

    May 2, 2014
    The comment period ends with respect to the following proposed SSARSs:
    • Association With Financial Statements
    • Preparation of Financial Statements
    • Compilation Engagements
    • Framework for Performing and Reporting on Compilation and Review Engagements
     May 20-22, 2014
    ARSC to meet in Baltimore, MD and consider comments received on the 4 proposed SSARSs that had comment periods ending May 2, 2014. 
     August 10-21, 2014 ARSC to meet in Providence, RI and consider drafts of the following proposed SSARSs and consider voting to issue as final clarified SSARSs:
    • Framework for Performing and Reporting on Compilation and Review Engagements
    • Association With Financial Statements
    • Preparation of Financial Statements
    • Compilation Engagements
    • Review of Financial Statements
     November 11-13, 2014 ARSC to meet in Phoenix, AZ and consider a draft of the proposed clarified SSARS Compilation of Prospective Financial Information

    All proposed SSARSs scheduled to be approved at the August 2014 meeting are expected to be effective for calendar 2015 engagements and early implementation is expected to be permitted.
    As the AICPA continues to work towards finalizing the Clarity Project, all current Exposure Drafts are always available in the AICPA.org Research Area.

    Additional Resources and Guidance on the SSARSs Clarity Project

    Archive of December 5 Compilation and Review Webcast Available

    On December 5, the AICPA broadcast an interactive discussion with the Chair (Mike Brand) and Staff Liaison (Mike Glynn) of the AICPA’s Accounting and Review Services Committee, along with the Chair of the AICPA’s Technical Issues Committee (Karen Kerber) about recent developments in compilation and review standards and issues affecting 2013-2014 engagements. Based on the AICPA Compilation and Review Alert, the webcast included:
    • Recent AICPA independence and ethics developments including changes to Ethics Interpretation #101-3
    • Discussion of Financial Reporting Framework for Small and Medium-Sized Entities (FRF for SMEs™)
    • The October 2013 exposure draft of the proposed clarified SSARSs: Association With Unaudited Financial Statements, Preparation of Financial Statements, and Compilation Engagements.
    • The proposed clarified SSARS, Review of Financial Statements
    • Current practice issues including engagement letter requirements
    • Subsequent events, review evidence, analytical procedures in a review engagement
    • Reporting on supplemental information in a compilation and review alert
    • Applicability of the compilation standards when performing controllership or other management services
    • Reporting when there is a different level of service from the prior period
    • Common Peer Review findings
    An archive of the webcast is available at https://university.learnlive.com/Demo.aspx?id=1066.



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