Peer Review Guidance

Peer Review Guidance


The Peer Review Team is committed to keeping you up-to-date with the most recent changes to the Standards for Performing & Reporting on Peer Reviews (Standards) and Interpretations.  This page includes highlights of recent guidance changes that will affect administering, planning, performing, reporting on and the acceptance of peer reviews of CPA firms enrolled in the AICPA Peer Review Program.


 Peer Review Guidance Changes Effective January 1, 2017


During 2016, the PRB approved significant changes to the Peer Review Standards, Interpretations and other related guidance that will become effective for reviews commencing on or after January 1, 2017.  Updates to guidance and checklists within the Peer Review Program Manual will be posted one month prior to the effective date in December 2016.

The next two tabs provide summaries of changes affecting review teams and firms, respectively, and is intended to provide you the groundwork to help you prepare for reviews that commence on or after January 1, 2017.  If you have any questions about these changes, please contact a member of the AICPA Peer Review Technical Team at 919-402-4502, Option 3.

Additional information regarding these changes can be found in section 2 of the
October Reviewer Alert.  Additionally, more information can be found in the meeting materials from the May PRB meeting where these changes were discussed and approved. These materials also include an example timeline (page 173 of the PDF) of when certain procedures should be performed in a peer review that commences after January 1, 2017.

Planning
 
  • Acknowledge that you have read Reviewer Alerts
  • Consider prior representation letters in conjunction with prior report and FFC forms (if applicable)
  • New form (PRP Section 4500 or 4600) for testing the design and compliance with the firm's QC System
  • TC Checklist now includes Managing Partner interview questions
 
Execution
 
  • New form (PRP Section 4550 or 4650) for testing the firm's compliance with their QC system
  • Conduct a closing meeting before the exit conference (may be combined in certain circumstances) to discuss preliminary results
  • Determine any systemic causes in collaboration with the firm
  • Prior to exit conference, evaluate firm responses to MFC forms, FFC forms, deficiencies, or significant deficiencies (new SRM questions will assist reviewers)
 
Reporting
 
  • Report is clarified, including more informative title and headings to certain paragraphs
  • Both reviewer recommendations and closing the loop on non-conforming engagements are no longer required
  • Reports with deficiencies or significant deficiencies will include reference to:
        • applicable requirements of SQCS 
        • non-conforming engagements, including any relevant must-select industries or practice areas
 
Representation Letters
 
  • Separate representation letters will be completed for System Reviews and Engagement Reviews (both dated as of report date)
  • Ensure firms include all required representations

Planning
 
  • Firms should no longer use sections 4300 and 4400 (QC Policies & Procedures Questionnaires) to document their system of quality control
        • These sections will no longer be included in the Peer Review Program Manual
  • Firms may use the following resources to assist in the development and maintenance of their system:
 
Execution
 
  • Assist in the determination of systemic causes (if applicable)
  • After the closing meeting, respond to any MFC forms, FFC forms, deficiencies or significant deficiencies and include the following:
        • The firm's actions taken or planned to remediate any engagements identified non-conforming engagements on any FFC form or in the report
        • The firm's actions taken or planned to remediate any findings or deficiencies noted in the firm's system of quality control
        • The timing of the remediation, either taken or planned
 
Reporting
 
  • Peer Review reports will be more organized and informative for firms
  • Reports with deficiencies or significant deficiencies will reference applicable requirement of SQCS and non-conforming engagements identified (including relevant must-select industries or practice areas)
 
Representation Letters
 
  • Separate representation letters will be completed for System Reviews and Engagement Reviews
  • Firms should not remove required representations from their letters, however, additional information may be included if deemed appropriate
 
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