ARSC Clarity Project 

Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services No. 21 Released!

Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services No. 21, Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services: Clarification and Recodification was issued in October 2014. SSARS No. 21 represents the AICPA’s Accounting and Review Services Committees efforts to clarify and revise the standards for reviews, compilations, and engagements to prepare financial statements. SSARS No. 21 includes significant revisions that affect the standards for accountants in public practice who prepare financial statements for their clients.

Learn more about SSARS No. 21, including AICPA resources available today, or access the Executive Summary.


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 expects to complete its project to clarify the SSARSs in 2015 with the exposure and subsequent issuance of a clarified standard addressing compilations of pro forma financial information and prospective financial information.An archive of the webcast is available at


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