AICPA Offers Governmental and Employee Benefit Plan Audit Certificate Programs

Flexible Learning and Rigorous Testing Will Help Auditors Demonstrate Competency and Quality

April 18, 2016

Susan S. Coffey, CPA, CGMA, Senior Vice President, Public Practice & Global Alliances

NEW YORK (April 18, 2016)
– The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is offering intermediate- and advanced-level certificates to CPAs who perform single audits (audits of governmental entities and grantees) and employee benefit plan audits. The new programs (optional learning and the certificate exam) are designed to help auditors improve and demonstrate competency and quality when conducting these specialized engagements, and are the latest component of the AICPA’s Enhancing Audit Quality initiative.

The single audit certificate programs will offer intermediate- and advanced-level certificates: Intermediate Single Audit Certificate and Advanced Single Audit Certificate.
The employee benefit plans audit certificate programs will offer one intermediate- and three advanced–level certificates: Intermediate Employee Benefit Plans Audit Certificate; Advanced Defined Contribution Plans Audit Certificate; Advanced Defined Benefit Plans Audit Certificate; and Advanced Health and Welfare Plans Audit Certificate.

Delivering certificates through digital badges acknowledges the certificate holder’s achievement by visually declaring his or her commitment to quality and communicating his or her knowledge and expertise for clients and peers to see.

These programs are based on the AICPA Competency Framework: Governmental Auditing and the AICPA Competency Framework: Employee Benefit Plan Auditing (collectively, “Frameworks”), respectively, with a focus on common quality issues in audit practice. To determine what certificate level is appropriate, professionals may review the Frameworks to self-assess or take sample exam questions from each level on the AICPA | CIMA Competency and Learning site.

“The launch of these programs helps fulfill the AICPA’s goal of helping auditors of governmental entities and grantees and employee benefit plan auditors improve audit quality by demonstrating their capability and competence,” said AICPA Senior Vice President for Public Practice and Global Alliances Susan Coffey, CPA, CGMA. “Nearly 80 percent of auditors who took part in a recent AICPA webinar poll expressed interest in a benefit plan audit certificate program. And we believe the certificate programs will generate the same level of enthusiasm among CPAs who are single audit specialists.”

To earn each certificate, professionals must pass a competency-based exam. Individuals may enter the program at either the intermediate or advanced level. There is no requirement to sit for the intermediate certificate exams prior to taking an advanced certificate exam. Due to the flexibility of these programs, professionals have the control of selecting the program(s) at different levels of competency.