As previously announced in the Spring edition of State Regulatory Update, the AICPA is considering changes to the administration of the Peer Review Program (Program). The goal of the proposed changes is to increase the quality, consistency, efficiency, and effectiveness of the Program, which includes the administration of peer reviews.
A first step in gathering information from the Program’s key stakeholders was to request input from state CPA societies on a discussion paper that proposed changes to the structure and criteria for administering entities (AEs).
The paper, issued in March, primarily focuses on issues directly impacting the state societies that administer the Program, including staffing, Peer Review Committees, and Report Acceptance Bodies (RAB). The paper did not include certain issues of importance to state boards of accountancy, because the intent was to first seek input from the state societies, then seek input from state boards.
Jim Brackens, AICPA Vice President – Ethics and Practice Quality, and NASBA Board of Directors member Janice Gray (OK) will be participating in breakout sessions at the June NASBA Regional Meetings on the Future of Peer Review Oversight. The breakout session will give state board members an opportunity to hear more about the proposed changes, ask questions, and provide feedback.
Jack Dailey will moderate the session at the Eastern Regional meeting, and Coalter Baker will moderate the session at the West Regional meeting.
As a follow-up to the discussion at the Regional Meetings, the AICPA will be issuing a second discussion paper in early July seeking feedback from state boards. The discussion paper will include issues of importance to state boards, including oversight of the Peer Review Program and access to peer review information.
Through its Enhancing Audit Quality initiative, the AICPA has learned that effective and consistent peer review administration is critical to help ensure the quality of the accounting and auditing services performed by CPA firms. Currently, AEs vary in the number of peer reviews they administer, ranging from approximately 100 to more than 5,000 peer reviews over a three-year period. As a result, though they all comply with AICPA Standards, the AEs differ in structure, policies, composition and involvement of employees and volunteers, use of contractors, RAB frequency, and Peer Review Committee engagement.
Consolidating AEs will provide greater consistency and effectiveness in the Peer Review Program’s administration, will facilitate timelier acceptance of peer review reports, and will lead to enhanced audit quality.