Tips for Selecting a Reviewer
Here are a few suggestions to help you select a qualified peer review team that best meets your needs:
- Obtain general background information from each firm. Ask for a firm brochure, partner resumes, newsletters, and other available marketing material.
- Ask to see the report on its most recent peer review and its responses to the recommendations of the reviewer. Then consider whether the firm has successfully implemented quality control standards for its own practice.
- Determine which individual the firm will assign as your reviewer. Meet with or talk to the reviewer. Make sure he or she has experience with industries that make up the largest part of your practice or are unusual and complex. The firm and the reviewer must meet certain requirements to qualify under AICPA standards to perform reviews, so ask the firm if it's qualified.
- If your firm has engagements subject to Government Auditing Standards, performs audits of employee benefit plans, or practices in certain other areas, the reviewer must have experience in those disciplines. PICPA will verify that the firm and reviewer(s) you select are qualified.
- Ask for references, particularly from firms of your size that have been reviewed by the firm. Call those firms and ask if they were satisfied and whether they received useful recommendations.
- Obtain a fee estimate. How much the review costs is a matter of negotiation between you and the firm you have selected to perform the review. Remember, many firms offer special expertise or additional services. (Remember that in addition to the peer review fee you will be billed annually by PICPA for administrative costs in carrying out the peer review program.)
- Select a firm to do your review.
- Set the date for the review.
- Provide sufficient time to prepare.
- Obtain a draft of the engagement letter - but do not sign yet.
- Send PICPA the name of the firm and the name of the reviewer(s). No matter which firm you select to perform your firm-on-firm review, do not sign the engagement letter or schedule your review until you have first notified the PICPA.
PICPA is required to review the information you provide about the firm and the individual reviewer(s) to determine if they qualify under AICPA standards to perform reviews, if they possess the appropriate industry experience, and whether there are scheduling conflicts that could cause a disruption to the timely and efficient completion of the review. PICPA will send you a short form asking for certain information about the firm and the reviewer(s) so that it can make these assessments. When you have PICPA's approval in hand, you may proceed with the review.