The AICPA Peer Review Program is committed to assisting firms in maximizing audit quality on a regular basis, not just during the firm’s peer review year. To that end, at its January 2017 open session, the Peer Review Board (PRB) discussed the development of a voluntary Peer Review Information Form (PRIF) for firms to submit practice-related information annually, including ranges of certain engagements and responses to some quality control-related questions. During the discussion, concerns were expressed that a volunteer submission of PRIF would limit its effectiveness.
Subsequently, at its May 2017 open session, the PRB considered the implications of applying noncooperation procedures to firms that do not complete the PRIF annually. Since the PRIF utilizes new technology (PRIMA) just launched, which is unfamiliar to firms, the PRB believes an initial annual requirement would create undue confusion and be unfair to firms. Accordingly, the PRB indicated an intent not to require an annual filing until the year following a firm’s next peer review. However, firms may choose to complete the PRIF in the intervening years. The PRB will consider applicable changes to interpretations and other guidance at its open session on August 17, 2017.
With annual submissions via the PRIF, firms and peer reviewers will benefit from a heightened awareness of changes to a firm’s accounting and auditing practice on a year-to-year basis. The PRIF will assist firms by providing links to resources and tools related to quality control and audit and attest services (many are offered at no additional charge) when changes in a firm’s practice may warrant further attention.
Over the longer term, the PRIF will enhance audit quality by identifying which firm traits indicate an increased risk for quality issues. The PRB can better address these challenges by highlighting areas of concern to reviewers and committees and developing additional resources to assist firms.