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1. Learn from data to improve audits   CPEDirect

BY The AICPA Peer Review Team
To help audit firms develop more-focused remedies for their accounting and auditing practices, the AICPA Peer Review team has been collecting data since December 2012 on Matters for Further Consideration (MFCs). An MFC form is used by peer reviewers to electronically capture “matters” detected during a peer review that are the most granular level of information indicating accounting and auditing deficiencies.The AICPA Peer Review team is using the data to identify problem areas in order to provide firms with tools to increase audit quality.

2. AICPA seeks feedback on private-entity audit quality initiative   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
In one of the first steps of the new Enhancing Audit Quality (EAQ) initiative, a major effort to improve auditing of private entities, the AICPA has released a discussion paper seeking stakeholder perspectives. Through the two-phased initiative, the AICPA is coordinating resources to improve performance in audits of private entities, defined as non-SEC registrants, including not-for-profits, employee benefit plans, and governmental entities.

3. Proposed peer review change would remove inconsistencies for engagement reviews   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
Changes to peer review standards proposed last week by the AICPA Peer Review Board (PRB) are designed to remove inconsistencies and improve the transparency of reports for engagement reviews.The proposal, outlined in an exposure draft, would change the impact to an engagement review report when all of the following occur:There is more than one engagement submitted for review;The same deficiency occurs on each of the engagements submitted for review; andThere are no other deficiencies.In this scenario, current guidance calls for firms to receive a “pass with deficiencies” rating in the engagement review report.

4. Banking  

For news from the AICPA and state societies, visit www.cpa2biz.com, which also offers online CPE, AICPA professional literature, practice management aids and links to state society Web sites. BANKING The FDIC reported that profits at commercial banks and savings institutions declined 3.4% from year-earlier levels in the second quarter of 2007, dragged down by higher expenses for bad loans and narrower net interest income.

5. Enhancing Public Confidence: The GAO’s Peer Review Experience  

BY David M. Walker
Origin and Mission The GAO is part of the legislative branch of the federal government and thus is independent of the executive branch. Congress established the GAO in 1921 to investigate all matters relating to the receipt, disbursement and application of public funds. Since then, Congress has expanded the GAO’s statutory authorities and frequently calls upon it to thoroughly examine federal programs and their performance, conduct financial and management audits, perform policy analysis, provide legal opinions, adjudicate bid protests and conduct investigations.

6. Peer Review Is Stronger and Better Now  

BY David Jentho, Dean Beddow
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY THE AICPA REVISED ITS STANDARDS for performing and reporting on peer reviews for firms that do not audit SEC registrants. The revised standards, effective for reviews commencing on or after January 1, 2005, will enhance the quality of peer reviews and increase the usefulness of peer review reports to the public and regulators as well as to reviewed firms.

7. Renewing a Great Profession   CPEDirect

BY Robert L. Bunting
Robert L. Bunting, CPA, became chairman of the AICPA board of directors in October 2004. His acceptance speech, delivered at the Institute’s annual meeting, appears in these pages. A JofA interview with him appeared in the November issue (see “ Managing Change ,” page 27). n preparation for the coming year, I have spent a lot of time pondering how much one individual can contribute to the advancement of an entire profession in the course of a single year.

8. Increasing Transparency in Peer Review: Members Speak Out  

BY Adam Snyder
At its spring 2004 meeting, the AICPA’s governing council approved a resolution in support of increased transparency in the peer review process. It also authorized a member awareness program to inform members about peer review and the related transparency issues and to assess their desire for greater transparency.

9. Make Strategic Relationships a Success  

BY Irv Gamal
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY FOR ALL BUSINESSES, THE NUMBER of strategic relationships has been growing 25% per year since 1985. A FIRM'S FIRST STEP TOWARD a strategic alliance is to decide what capabilities it wants to add. Then it should decide what it wants to achieve: Does the firm wish to increase revenues, strengthen a specialty or expand its geographic reach? THE MOST SUCCESSFUL ALLIANCES have member firms that are about the same size, whether they have two or 20 partners, sources say.

10. Auditing Employment Benefit Plans—Another Factor.  

BY Ben Pena
“ERISA Liability for CPAs” ( JofA , Dec.00, page 39) pointed out the delicate issues surrounding employee benefit plans. However, the article did not mention one potential problem area our firm has encountered in auditing such plans—companies’ use of third-party administrators (TPAs). TPAs handle the day-to-day transactions and final plan-year valuation of participant accounts.
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