New Non-Authoritative AICPA Guidance Provides Clarity for Practitioners Performing Third-Party Assessment Engagements

January 12, 2021

NEW YORK (January 12, 2021) – The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) today issued non-authoritative guidance in the form of Technical Questions and Answers (TQA) for CPA firms performing third-party assessment engagements. The TQAs outline the steps practitioners follow when conducting these engagements.

“It is in the public interest that CPA firms perform third party assessment engagements,” said Jennifer Burns, CPA, chair of the AICPA Third-Party Assessments Working Group and incoming AICPA chief auditor. “These TQAs provide needed clarity on how CPA firms may perform this work today under current AICPA professional standards. Members of AICPA’s Assurance Services Executive Committee (ASEC), Auditing Standards Board (ASB), Professional Ethics Executive Committee (PEEC), related working groups, and AICPA staff were instrumental in providing input on the development of these TQAs and I thank them for their collaboration.”

The TQAs emphasize that practitioners need to comply with the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct and the requirements or instructions of the third-party assessment program. It also addresses two questions:

  • What is a third-party assessment program?
  • Which professional standards is the member required to apply to the third-party assessment engagement?

The guidance clarifies when the practitioner is required to perform the assessment engagement in accordance with AICPA Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements and also states that the Statement on Standards for Consulting Services may be applied. Further, it reminds practitioners of the various independence requirements that apply when performing third-party assessment engagements.

About the AICPA Auditing Standards Board

The ASB is the senior technical committee of the AICPA designated to issue auditing, attestation, and quality control standards applicable to the performance and issuance of audit and attestation reports for non-issuers. Its mission is to develop and communicate comprehensive performance, reporting, and quality control standards and practice guidance to enable auditors of non-issuers to provide high quality, objective audit and attestation services at a reasonable cost and in the best interests of the profession and the beneficiaries of those services, with the ultimate purpose of serving the public interest by improving existing and enabling new audit and attestation services.

About the American Institute of CPAs

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is the world’s largest member association representing the CPA profession, with more than 431,000 members in the United States and worldwide, and a history of serving the public interest since 1887. AICPA members represent many areas of practice, including business and industry, public practice, government, education and consulting. The AICPA sets ethical standards for its members and U.S. auditing standards for private companies, nonprofit organizations, and federal, state and local governments. It develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination, offers specialized credentials, builds the pipeline of future talent and drives professional competency development to advance the vitality, relevance and quality of the profession.