AICPA urges firms to schedule peer reviews as off-site deadline is extended

By Ken Tysiac

CPA firm peer reviews can continue to be held remotely without prior approval of the administering entity for system reviews commencing before June 30, 2021, as a result of a vote Thursday by the AICPA Peer Review Board (PRB) that extended the off-site waiver.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the PRB previously had waived the requirement that reviewers and firms obtain prior approval to perform a system review off-site through Sept. 30 of this year. The PRB voted Thursday to extend that waiver.

“Today’s action of the Peer Review Board demonstrates their continuing sensitivity to the struggles of firms and reviewers during these extraordinary times,” said Jim Brackens, CPA, CGMA, AICPA vice president–Ethics and Practice Quality. “The ability to perform a review remotely without obtaining advance approval adds efficiency to the process.”

However, Brackens said it’s still important for firms to work with their peer reviewers to determine whether a remote system review is advisable and to get the review on their calendars. In May, the PRB voted to grant six-month extensions for peer reviews, corrective actions, and implementation plans with original due dates between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30 of this year.

In the wake of that extension, the AICPA has been consistently urging firms to contact their peer reviewers as soon as possible to schedule a mutually convenient time for their reviews. Reviewers’ firms also will be affected by the pandemic, so firms that wait too long might have difficulty scheduling their reviews in time to meet the new deadline.

Brackens said approximately 45% of firms that received automatic due date extensions because of the pandemic have scheduled their reviews.

“We need as many firms as possible to take this step and strongly encourage firms that have not scheduled their reviews yet to do so immediately,” he said. “Firms don’t need to meet their original due date but do need to schedule them now to avoid trouble down the road.”

Ken Tysiac (Kenneth.Tysiac@aicpa-cima.com) is the JofA’s editorial director.

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