AICPA Launches Audit Quality Center For Benefit Plan Audits

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) announced this week the formation of an Audit Quality Center for CPA firms that audit employee benefit plans. This Center has now begun accepting member applications, and is the second of three AICPA Audit Quality Centers to be launched in recent months.

Following approval by the Governing Council of the AICPA at its Fall 2003 meeting, the Institute has moved ahead with creating three new audit quality centers focusing on areas of critical importance to the public interest: public companies, employee benefit plans and governmental entities. As part of this mandate, the AICPA established the Center for Public Company Audit Firms in January 2004, offering enhanced resources to firms that audit publicly traded companies. In November of 2003, the Institute began the process of defining aspects of the new Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center by forming an Executive Committee appointed by Chairman S. Scott Voynich. Center membership requirements were established by the Committee and the Board of Directors in February 2004.

According to Mr. Voynich, "The launch of the Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center is intended to provide a forum that spurs CPA firms performing audits to make immediate quality improvements to employee benefit plan audits under Employee Retirement Income Security Act
(ERISA), including pension, health and welfare, and 401(k) plans."

"In addition to gaining access to best practices, guidelines, and tools focused around quality improvement, members of the Center will be subject to membership requirements that demonstrate the firm’s commitment to audit quality in this area," continued Voynich.

To meet its overall objectives, the Center will:

  • Create a community of firms that demonstrate a commitment to employee benefit plan audit quality
  • Serve as a comprehensive resource provider for member firms
  • Provide information about the Center’s activities to other employee benefit plan stakeholders
  • Raise awareness about the importance of employee benefit plan audits

"These Centers are intended to make a direct statement to members of our profession about the importance of their audit performance,” said Susan Coffey, Vice President, Audit Quality and Professional Ethics. "The Center will give members the tools they need to adhere to a high
standard of quality. It will be a place where firms dedicated to quality auditing of benefit plans will share best practices, learn about emerging issues, and take steps to enhance quality in their practices."

A dedicated Center website, with a single access point to the latest developments in employee benefit plan audits, is now available to those wishing to learn more about the Center and its features.

You may like these other stories...

Here's a CPA who truly walks the walk. On March 15, Frank Ryan, CPA, departed San Diego, California, with plans to be in Ocean City, Maryland, by July 2 to teach a course at the Maryland Association of CPAs’ (MACPA...
When Theodore J. Flynn first joined the Massachusetts Society of CPAs (MSCPA) in 1970, it was a different world and a different profession.  The "Big Eight" were still headquartered in Boston. Vietnam War...
Accountant Rickey Charles Goodrich had it a little too good. Many bean counters would kill to serve as financial guru to the likes of Pearl Jam. Goodrich was hired in 2005, and the following year, he became the CFO of Curtis...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Jul 31
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom helps beginners get up to speed in Microsoft Excel. However, even experienced Excel users will learn some new tricks, particularly when David discusses under-utilized aspects of Excel.
Aug 5
This webcast will focus on accounting and disclosure policies for various types of consolidations and business combinations.
Aug 20
In this session we'll review best practices for how to generate interest in your firm’s services.
Aug 21
Meet budgets and client expectations using project management skills geared toward the unique challenges faced by CPAs. Kristen Rampe will share how knowing the keys to structuring and executing a successful project can make the difference between success and repeated failures.