AICPA adopts new ethics standard

Regulators like the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, state insurance commissions and federal banking agencies presently prohibit organizations under their jurisdiction from entering into certain types of indemnification and limitation of liability provisions in agreements for the performance of audit or other attest services. A new interpretation by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee (PEEC) of the AICPA prohibits members from using their provisions when contracting for audit and other attest services when their employer or client is subject to the requirements of one of these regulators.

"The purpose of this standard is to remind practitioners of their responsibility to comply with regulators," said Susan Coffey, AICPA vice president, member quality and state regulation. "Current AICPA standards allow certain indemnification and limitation of liability provisions to be included in agreements for audit and attest services. However, in cases where a regulator's requirements are more restrictive than AICPA standards, our members must comply with the more restrictive standard."

The PEEC's standard is effective July 31. You can read the full text of Ethics Interpretation No. 501-8, "Failure to Follow Requirements of Governmental Bodies, Commissions, or Other Regulatory Agencies on Indemnification and Limitation of Liability Provisions in Connection With Audit and Other Attest Services."