July 17, 2013
This exposure draft contains revisions to the UAA, which are designed to incorporate a change in the definition of “attest.”
The needs of clients and the marketplace, and scope of services, are changing. Historically, even as little as five years ago, assurance and attestation services were discussed in the context of, and generally limited to, audits and reviews of historical financial statements and the UAA so defined the term “attest.” These services are the most important to the public because third parties rely on the licensee’s report concerning financial statements. As a result, they are the only professional accounting services that are reserved to licensees.
Despite this targeted focus in the UAA, the scope of the definition of attest can be impacted through a change in the referenced standards, as happened when SAS 70 was reissued as SSAE 16. Further was the question of whether other SSAE engagements should be incorporated into the definition of attest. Such a change would make the Act flexible enough so major amendments would not be needed as future developments occur in assurance standards or in marketplace demands for assurance services.
In recent years, CPAs have increasingly been asked to report on representations other than historical financial statements. Some non-CPAs have stepped in and provided such services, in some cases using CPA standards of practice to perform services, giving the impression to the public that they are as qualified as CPAs.
To deal with this issue, the proposal is to change the definition of “attest” in the UAA to include all services performed in accordance with the Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements (“SSAEs”). This is accomplished by adding those services to the attest definition as a separate subsection in the definition, apart from the examinations of prospective financial information already covered in the definition. By so doing, we minimize changes in the provisions governing individual and firm mobility.
The exposure draft includes a more detailed explanation of the proposed revisions, as well as the text of the affected UAA statutory sections that are recommended for addition or change. Statutory provisions are in BOLD type. New language is underlined and language that would be deleted is stricken. To see the entire UAA and Model Rules, you may view them electronically at www.aicpa.org or www.nasba.org.
The AICPA and NASBA UAA Committees welcome your comments on the proposed revisions.
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