Susan S. Coffey, AICPAThe American Institute of CPAs has issued a Six-Point Plan to Improve Audits, which the organization says is part of its effort to drive higher audit performance. The plan concentrates on financial statement audits for American private companies, employee benefit plans and governmental entities.

"This Six-Point Plan will promote the pursuit of quality throughout a CPA's journey – from before an individual is licensed to when he or she builds professional competency and engages in peer review and practice monitoring," Susan Coffey, the Institute's SVP of public practice and global alliances, said in a prepared statement. "It places the necessary emphasis on areas that we believe will help our members stay focused on achieving the highest level of performance for financial statement audits."

The Six-Point Plan outlines enhancements in the following areas:
1.Pre-CPA Licensure: A next version of the CPA exam designed to increase assessment of higher-order skills, such as critical thinking and professional skepticism; high school Advanced Placement accounting course; changes to college-level accounting education; additional doctoral-level audit professors with practical experience.

2. Standards and Ethics: Quality control standards implementation support; auditor's report revisions; evaluation of clarified standards implementation; ethics code codification.

3. CPA Learning and Support: Competency models for audit engagements, including employee benefit plan and governmental audits; competency assessment tools; targeted resources to develop competencies; certificate programs to demonstrate competence.

4. Peer Review: Increased focus on greater risk industries and areas; more significant remediation; root cause analysis; termination from the peer review program after repeat quality issues.

5. Practice Monitoring of the Future: Long-term initiative for near real-time, ongoing monitoring of firm quality checks using robust technological platform.

6. Ethics Enforcement and NASBA Collaboration: More aggressive pursuit of reported deficiencies and stronger ties with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and state boards of accountancy.

Last modified on Monday, 18 May 2015
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