About the Group
ARAG is a group of practitioners and academics formed in collaboration with the American Accounting Association (AAA). The group provides funding and access to personnel in supporting research projects which address private company assurance topics that are of interest to practitioners. In so doing, ARAG seeks to:
- Drive research relative to private company assurance issues that are most pressing to the profession;
- Provide the AICPA with valuable insight into the factors that affect the quality of private company assurance services; and
- Use those insights to support the Enhancing Audit Quality (EAQ) initiative.
How it works
The composition of ARAG is as follows:
- A practitioner who serves as chair;
- Three academic researchers from the AAA Auditing Section; and
- One representative each from the Auditing Standard Board (ASB), Peer Review Board (PRB), Professional Ethics Executive Committee (PEEC), Assurance Services Executive Committee (ASEC) and Accounting and Review Services Committee (ARSC)
On an annual basis, ARAG identifies research topics which are relevant to CPAs in public practice. These are solicited from practitioners serving on various AICPA committees and are focused on private company assurance engagements that are not subject to PCAOB inspection.
ARAG issues a call for interest each year which describes the topics selected for that grant cycle and encourages qualified research teams to apply. This is done through an online submission form, where the principal investigator details the composition of their team and provides a one-page summary of their research plan.
Any accounting educator is eligible to respond to the call for interest.
Teams are selected based upon their qualifications and the perceived feasibility and practical utility of their research plan.
Up to $15,000 is available for each approved research project. Funding is based on the expected expenses of the research team and the achievement of certain milestones.
Where access to firm personnel is provided, the AICPA partners with regional and national firms (none of which are among the largest eight) that volunteer to assist ARAG in facilitating research relative to audit issues most pressing to the profession. AICPA staff serve as the intermediary between the research team and the firm, maintaining the anonymity of the firm and its personnel while assuring that a sufficient sample is made available to the research team.
Where access to peer reviewers is provided, AICPA staff distribute the research instrument to the peer reviewers and/or schedule facilitate interviews between the research team and the peer reviewers. In so doing, AICPA staff serve as the intermediary between the research team and the peer reviewers, maintaining the anonymity of the reviewers while assuring that a sufficient sample is made available to the research team.
It is expected that research teams will seek to publish their results in academic journals. To raise awareness in the profession, the AICPA secures co-publishing rights to the research so that summaries of the results may be made available to members through the Journal of Accountancy, CPA Letter Daily and other channels.