Concerns Regarding Comfort Letters/Third Party Verification 

    Increasingly, CPAs are receiving requests from clients, lenders, loan brokers, health insurance providers, adoption agencies, regulators, and various other agencies to confirm client information. In turn, the AICPA has received several inquiries from CPAs on what they often refer to as “comfort letters" and we have developed the following resources:


    Resources for Tax Practitioners
    Resources for A&A Practitioners
     AICPA Third-Party Verification Toolkit

    The AICPA's Tax Section outlines information on the pros and cons of signing third-party verification letters, highlights Circular 230 rules and provides numerous additional resources. The AICPA has gathered resources for A&A practitioners including recently issued technical question and answers, informative articles and resources, and more. This newly developed toolkit provides resources for use both within your firm as well as outside, with clients and potential clients.

    The AICPA would like to know more about the types of third-party verification requests you’re receiving and we’re here to help answer your specific concerns. Please email us at verifications@aicpa.org for more information.

     

     

    General Information 

    AU-C section 920, Letters for Underwriters and Certain Other Requesting Parties (AICPA, Professional Standards), defines a comfort letter as a letter issued by an auditor in accordance with AU-C section 920 to requesting parties in connection with an entity’s financial statements included in a securities offering.

    The requests that CPAs are actually receiving from third parties pertain to verification letters. The requested information may relate to a pending loan, employee medical insurance, child adoption applications, or use-tax certification. Mortgages originated by private mortgage companies, which were resold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and past due, are subject to required quality reviews. Quality review standards may require the mortgage originator to contact CPAs whose comfort letters/third party verification are contained within the loan file to confirm the statements made in such letters.

    AICPA TV 

    Sue Coffey, CPA, CGMA, Senior Vice President - Public Practice and Global Alliance, discusses the AICPA response to member concerns regarding third-party verification letters.

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