The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) announced the formation of a Governmental Audit Quality Center this week. The Center, which is now accepting member applications, is a firm-based, voluntary membership center designed to promote the importance of quality governmental audits and the value of such audits to purchasers of governmental audit services.
Also this week, the AICPA unveiled a new dedicated Web site www.bvfls.aicpa.org for its members who specialize in Business Valuation (BV) and Forensic & Litigation Services (FLS).
Governmental audits include a wide variety of audit or attestation engagements, including audits of federal, state, and local governments; not-for-profit organizations, such as colleges and universities, hospitals, and charitable organizations; and certain for-profit entities, such as housing projects and colleges and universities, which participate in government programs or receive governmental financial assistance.
The mission of the Center is to:
- Raise awareness about the importance of governmental audits
- Serve as a comprehensive resource provider on governmental audits for member firms
- Create a community of firms that demonstrates a commitment to governmental audit quality
- Provide Center members with an online forum tool for sharing best practices as well as discussions on audit, accounting, and regulatory issues
- List member firms to enable purchasers of governmental audit services to identify firms that are members
- Provide information about the Center's activities to other governmental audit stakeholders.
âState and local governments, not-for-profit organizations, and certain for-profit organizations receive billions of dollars in governmental financial assistance each year and, as a result, are subject to a myriad of unique and complex audit requirements. CPA firms that join the Governmental Audit Quality Center demonstrate their commitment to employing the highest quality audit practices when performing these governmental audits,â AICPA Chairman S. Scott Voynich said. âIn addition to gaining access to best practices, guidelines, and tools focused around quality governmental audits, members demonstrate their commitment to audit quality by agreeing to and meeting specific Center membership requirements,â he added.
âThe Center is intended to make a direct statement to members of our profession about the importance of their audit performance,â said Susan Coffey, AICPA Vice President, Audit Quality and Professional Ethics. âThe Center will give members the tools they need to adhere to a high standard of quality. It will also be a place where firms dedicated to quality governmental audits will share best practices, learn about emerging issues, and take steps to enhance quality in their practices.â
The three new Audit Quality Centers, which were approved by the AICPA's Governing Council in Fall 2003, focus on audits performed in three areas of critical importance to the public interestâpublic company audits, employee benefit plan audits and governmental audits. The Center for Public Company Audit Firms was established in January 2004 and offers enhanced resources to firms that audit publicly traded companies. It was followed in March 2004 by the launch of the Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center for CPA firms performing employee benefit plan audits. The Governmental Audit Quality Center, designed to help CPA firms meet the challenges of performing quality governmental audits, is the third Audit Quality Center to launch this year.
The Governmental Audit Quality Center website is www.aicpa.org/gaqc, with a single access point to the latest developments in governmental audits, and is now available to those wishing to learn more about the Center or to join.