Auditing Standards Board caps clarity project with attestation standards

SSAE 18 establishes performance and reporting requirements.

The AICPA Auditing Standards Board issued clarified attestation standards under Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) No. 18, Attestation Standards: Clarification and Recodification. The issuance completes a project to make standards easier to apply and read.

The new attestation standards establish requirements for performing and reporting on examination, review, and agreed-upon procedures engagements that enable practitioners to report on subject matter other than historical financial statements. Examples of this subject matter include an entity's compliance with laws or regulations, the effectiveness of an entity's controls over the security of a system, and the fairness of the presentation of a statement of greenhouse gas emissions.

The identifier "AT-C" is used to differentiate the sections of the clarified attestation standards ("AT-C" sections) from the sections of the attestation standards that are superseded by SSAE No. 18 ("AT" sections).

Under SSAE No. 18, the applicability of any AT-C section to a particular engagement depends on the level of service provided and the engagement's subject matter, with different requirements for the various AT-C sections.

SSAE No. 18 also includes sections that contain incremental requirements and application guidance specific for four subject matters. Those "subject matter sections" address prospective financial information, pro forma financial information, compliance attestation, and controls at a service organization relevant to user entities' internal control over financial reporting.

The applicable requirements and application guidance for an engagement to report on one of these subject matters are contained in three AT-C sections: AT-C Section 105; AT-C Section 205, 210, or 215, depending on the level of service provided; and the applicable subject-matter section.

SSAE No. 18 supersedes the existing attestation standards, except for two sections. It is effective for practitioners' reports dated on or after May 1, 2017.

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