The CPA profession is highly regarded for its commitment to excellence and protecting the public. In the face of increased business complexity, we must strive to continue providing quality services. As a result, the AICPA launched the Enhancing Audit Quality initiative in May 2014, followed by the 6-Point Plan to Improve Audits in May 2015. EAQ is a holistic effort to consider auditing of private entities through multiple touch points, especially where quality issues have emerged. The goal is to align the objectives of all audit-related AICPA efforts to improve audit performance.

EAQ Initiative Highlights and Progress 

Auditing is the cornerstone of the CPA profession.  As part of our Enhancing Audit Quality (EAQ) initiative, launched in 2014, we implemented several programs that promote audit quality and support the profession’s ongoing commitment to quality improvement. Overall, these initiatives are designed to provide auditors and audit engagement teams with resources and tools to maintain and enhance their competencies, as well as promote high-quality work.

To demonstrate the progress the profession has made toward greater audit quality since the release of the 6-Point Plan to Improve Audits, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has issued a report detailing the past year’s activities and accomplishments as part of its Enhancing Audit Quality (EAQ) initiative. AICPA Enhancing Audit Quality Initiative, Highlights and Progress 2016, outlines the CPA profession’s work to enhance the quality of private company audits in the areas of Pre-licensure, Standards and Ethics, CPA Learning and Support, Peer Review, Practice Monitoring of the Future, and Enforcement.

Peer Review Areas of Focus 

One tool to improve the consistency of quality is an increased focus by firms and peer reviewers on new industries, industries with new or rising risks, audit areas of increased risk or areas with increased inspection matters in the past.

The AICPA Peer Review Board (PRB) approved the below areas of focus:

  • Independence as it relates to non-attest services provided to attest clients
  • Sufficiency of audit evidence - risk assessment, internal controls, and sampling 
  • Employee benefit plans, including both ERISA and government pensions
  • Municipal security issuers
  • Single audit
  • Crowdfunding and Other Small Business Capital-Raising (Regulation A+)

Read more about the emerging industries and risk areas and find resources for each.

To learn more about the Peer Review Focus Areas: Listen to the archived webcastSurviving the Deep Dive - A Closer Look at the Peer Review Focus Areas.

Employee Benefit Plan Resources 

The Employee Benefit Plan (EBP) financial reporting process typically involves many parties, both inside and outside the sponsor organization. Plan management hires various individuals to perform recordkeeping and reporting functions.

Further details are included in the Employee Benefit Plan Financial Statements flyer.

Access numerous resources related to audits of Employee Benefit Plans.


Susan S. Coffey, CPA, CGMA, AICPA Senior VP - Public Practice and Global Alliances, discusses the discusses the many tools and resources available to assist firms with enhancing governmental and single audit quality.

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Practice Monitoring of the Future 

The AICPA launched a Concept paper on the future of practice monitoring in December 2014.

Access more information on the thought-provoking concept here.

Click the image below to get a close-up of how practice monitoring could look in the future.

Action Plan Summary

Click the image below to see the flyer detailing the AICPA's Six Point Action Plan intended to enhance audit quality.
AICPA Enhancing Audit Quality 6-Point Action Plan (PDF 383KB)