AICPA Releases New SSARS No. 21 Resource for CPAs

Audit financial reporting
Jason Bramwell
Staff Writer and Editor
AccountingWEB
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A new guide released by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) on June 24 is intended to help CPAs in the interpretation and application of Statement on Standards for Accounting and Review Services (SSARS) No. 21.

Issued last October, SSARS No. 21 is one of the most significant revisions in nonaudit standards in the past 35 years. SSARS No. 21 represents the AICPA Accounting and Review Services Committee's efforts to clarify and revise the standards for members in public practice who perform reviews, compilations, and engagements to prepare financial statements.

Approved by the committee last August, SSARS No. 21 creates a bright line between accounting (preparation) services and reporting (compilation or review) services, and is a better fit for the current electronic and cloud-based practice environment, according to the AICPA.

The new guide, Preparation, Compilation, and Review Engagements, which is available as an eBook and in print format, provides CPAs with interpretative guidance and implementation strategies for all preparation, compilation, and review engagements.

The guide also:

  • Provides updated illustrative engagement and representation letters and accountants' reports.
  • Includes detailed illustrative client inquiries and illustrative analytics for reviews.
  • Contains Q&As on compilation reporting requirements when independence is impaired.
  • Discusses the implications of the “Nonattest Services” subtopic (AICPA, Professional Standards, ET Section 1.295) of the “Independence Rule” (AICPA, Professional Standards, ET Section 1.200.001) when performing a review, compilation, or engagement to prepare financial statements.

In addition, the AICPA has launched a new staff-training curriculum to support practitioners in implementing SSARS No. 21. The 17-hour program will provide the comprehensive training a CPA firm's staff needs to perform their preparation, compilation, and review engagements consistently and appropriately. The enhanced learning program combines real-world examples, practice exercises, case studies, and a “learning coach” to create a flexible, interactive learning experience.

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