The AICPA has developed a matrix which outlines common requests CPAs have been receiving regarding verifications. This grid provides related responses that may be appropriate, depending on whether or not the CPA has performed additional procedures to corroborate the information. The matrix is available for download here
The AICPA’s technical questions and answers
may provide information on inquiries, examples of information requests, questions, resources on frequently asked questions regarding third party verification letters and offers members access to a free technical hotline.
Included in the technical questions and answers, and the AICPA Technical Practice Aids publication:
TIS Section 9110.19, "Lender Comfort Letters" (Issue Date: July 2012)
Inquiry—No-documentation or low-documentation loans remain
popular options within the lending community, especially in lending to
the self-employed. The information a prospective borrower is asked to
furnish in connection with such loans is limited; however, lenders or
brokers still attempt to assess a borrower’s creditworthiness and verify
the accuracy of information provided to them by the borrower.
Examples of requested information include
- confirmation of a client’s self-employed status.
- verification of income from self-employment.
- profitability of a client’s business.
- the impact on a client’s business if money is withdrawn to fund the down payment on a real estate purchase.
How may an accountant respond to a request from a client, lender, or
loan broker to confirm client information in connection with a pending
Download full question and answer.
Additional AICPA Resources:
- 3rd Party Verification Q&A (October 2013) - In response to frequently asked questions regarding third party verification letters a Q&A has been developed.
- AICPA Webinar Series - The AICPA recently hosted a webinar, "You Want Me to Verify What? Understanding & Responding to Third Party Verification Requests", regarding third-party verification requests. The webinar is available for re-play.
- Journal of Accountancy Article - Entitled "Concerns About CPA Letters to Third Parties", this article is available via the Journal of Accountancy.
- AICPA Insights - Sue Coffey, CPA, CGMA, Senior Vice
President – Public Practice and Global Alliances, has authored a blog
post to help CPAs determine the best course of action for responding to
requests for third-party verification. See "That “Comfort Letter” Request May Really be a Third-Party Verification" for more.
- AICPA Insights - As the economy starts to recover, more small businesses and individuals will be looking to move forward by applying for loans, mortgages or refinancing. The AICPA’s Jina Etienne, CPA, Director of Taxation, American Institute of CPAs discusses the need for CPAs to be ready to respond to a request for a third-party verification (or comfort letter) in this post "Trust But Verify—Another Perspective on Comfort Letters".
- Technical Hotline -The AICPA's Accounting and Auditing Technical Hotline provides members with free, high-quality technical assistance by phone concerning issues related to: accounting principles and financial reporting; auditing, attestation, compilation and review standards. The hotline is available from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern via telephone at 877-242-7212. Additionally, questions may be submitted electronically.
- AICPA Firm Practice Management - PCPS Area - The PCPS Firm Practice Center provides a venue for CPA firms to harness business opportunities and overcome challenges in their firms. PCPS—the AICPA Private Companies Practice Section—provides a rich array of valuable information and resources for firms of all sizes in the area of practice management.
- AICPA Professional Liability Insurance Program - Find out why it’s imperative to find out why lenders and loan brokers are seeking this information and how you should respond. Download the article "Third Party Verification Letters"
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.