More States Adopt Comprehensive Definition of Attest Services

April 23, 2015

Sign post of state namesIowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Maryland have become the most recent states to adopt the more comprehensive definition of attest, closing a loophole that allowed non-CPAs to perform certain attest services in those states.  Georgia is also poised to adopt important conforming updates to their all-encompassing definition this spring.  Legislation there has passed both houses of the legislature and is awaiting the governor’s signature.

“By adopting, Iowa continues to protect the public by ensuring that only CPAs with the expertise and competency to perform attest services are doing so,” said Cindy Adams, CPA, CGMA, CEO of the Iowa Society of CPAs.  “This update reflects not only the evolving nature of attest services, but also ensures Iowa is consistent with the most recent version of the Uniform Accountancy Act.”

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy updated the definition of attest in the 7th Edition of the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA) in 2014 to close loopholes that allowed unregulated non-CPAs to perform certain attest services using the accounting profession’s standards.  When SAS 70 was reclassified as SSAE 16 in 2011, for example, some existing attest engagements were unintentionally removed from the definition of attest.  Additionally, clients are increasingly asking CPAs to perform attest services on non-financial engagements, including security and privacy controls, greenhouse gases and eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL).

State CPA societies in Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and South Carolina are also working with their legislatures to amend their states’ definition of attest this year.  In South Carolina, legislation has passed both houses and is awaiting reconciliation.

If you have a question about the definition of attest or legislation at the state level, please contact James Cox, AICPA senior manager for state legislation, at 202.434.9261 or