CPA Now

By Allison Henry

PICPA Vice President - Professional & Technical Standards

  • Pennsylvania Agencies Work Better When We Work Together

    The stress of attempting to bridge a client’s needs and expectations with the needs and expectations of regulatory bodies is frustrating enough; it is even more so when regulators are requesting things that you cannot ethically provide. Fortunately, the PICPA can help ensure that CPAs are asked to provide only those services that comply with professional standards, the AICPA and PICPA Codes of Professional Conduct, and state CPA statutes.
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  • Though Medical Marijuana Is Legal in Pa., Can CPAs Ethically Serve Clients in the Cannabis Industry?

    As potential clients in the now-legal medical marijuana industry in Pennsylvania begin to call on CPAs for professional services, a conflict arises as to whether or not CPAs can serve these clients under the profession’s Code of Professional Conduct.
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  • Cyber Threats Are Real and Can Be Devastating: Are You Prepared?

    Now is a good time to take stock of all of the personally identifiable information in your firm’s possession and focus on addressing the risks posed by a potential cybersecurity breach. To help ease the burden of dealing with these complex areas, the PICPA has developed a cybersecurity threat management program.
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  • Leveraging Technology to Transform the Audit while Engaging Millennials

    New technologies that enable the analysis of huge quantities of data are poised to radically transform auditing. While the use of data extraction software has increased and provided incremental improvement to the audit process, advances in workflow automation and artificial intelligence will soon result in a complete overhaul of the audit process.
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  • Big Changes Ahead for Ethics Code

    The AICPA’s Professional Ethics Executive Committee (PEEC) recently released a reformatted Code of Professional Conduct. The new code is greatly improved and much easier to use. It is divided into sections based on practice areas, topically organized, and searchable.
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  • Should You be Permitted to Report Suspected Fraud to Regulators?

    The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) has been grappling with this question. Its original exposure document, released in August 2012, would have required external reporting of suspected fraud or illegal acts. They received more than 70 comment letters, including one from the PICPA Professional Ethics Committee.
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  • Are You Prepared to Defend Your Old-Fashioned Sampling Techniques?

    In a May 8, 2014, article on Complianceweek.com, author Tammy Whitehouse, Copy: Auditing in the Era of Big Data, highlights how firms are challenging traditional sampling methods in light of new technologies that leverage big data to evaluate 100 percent of a given audit population. The new technologies present a number of issues, including whether or not expectations that the auditor is responsible for detecting fraud will increase resulting in increased litigation risk. However, bigger questions remain for firms that do not embrace the new technologies.
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  • Practitioners Associated with Form 5500: Have You Met Your Peer Review Requirements?

    The AICPA is working on an initiative to make sure that all firms associated with certain Form 5500 filings that are required to have a peer review have gone through with the peer review and that the scope of the review was correct. So, if your firm has been associated with filing certain Form 5500s, you need to consider whether your firm is in compliance.
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  • Extra! Extra! FASB Issues First Ever Alternatives to GAAP

    Hot off the press! On Jan. 16, 2014, the FASB issued its first ever alternatives to U.S. GAAP for privately held companies. These changes originated through the Financial Accounting Foundation’s newly created Private Company Council (PCC). The PCC, which was established May 23, 2012, works under the FASB umbrella to propose financial reporting options for nonpublic entities. Proposed changes to U.S. GAAP go through the normal due process, with comments deliberated by the PCC. The FASB reconsiders the revised PCC proposal for potential endorsement. If final endorsement is received, the proposed revisions are issued as Accounting Standards Updates.
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  • The New Auditor’s Report – A Feast for Attorneys?

    On Aug. 13, 2013, the PCAOB proposed radical changes that would require you to communicate audit issues that you, as an auditor, believe to be critical. Is this a roadmap for a lawsuit? Is the PCAOB essentially forcing auditors to engage legal counsel or hire a risk officer just to review audit opinions?
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  • And They’re Off

    The AICPA, for its part, released a completely new special purpose framework designed for small businesses. Called the Financial Reporting Framework for Small- and Medium-Sized Entities, (FRF for SMEs), this new framework offers a simplified financial reporting option for those entities that are not required to use U.S. GAAP. Is this new framework right for your business or clients? The devil, as always, is in the details.
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  • The Comfort Letter Trap

    The relationships between a CPA and his or her clients can last for many years, having been built on a foundation of trust and professionalism. However, the increase in third parties asking for comfort letters threatens these relationships and challenges the integrity and ethical behavior of the CPA as well as their billable hours.
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  • Private Company Accounting Standards: Moving at Lightning Speed

    AICPA’s FRF for SME Task Force achieved a major milestone on Jan. 30 with the conclusion of the comment period for its first draft of the Financial Reporting Framework for Small-and Medium-Sized Entities. The final version will be influenced by individuals and organizations who took the time to respond. The responses are varied and point to the need for extensive education and marketing. The success of the new framework depends how widely it is understood and accepted.
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  • Finally a Cliff Notes Version of GAAP?

    As promised in May 2012, the AICPA actually released its version of private company GAAP on Nov. 1, a special purpose framework, which it is calling the Financial Reporting Framework for SMEs. While it is a lot to print, at 252 pages, consider yourself lucky. The unruly FASB Codification is rumored to be somewhere around 10,000 pages. The new proposal creates a separate reporting framework for small- and medium-sized entities that emphasizes reliability (historical cost principles) and matching.
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  • Announcement on Private Company Reporting: News or Snooze?

    On May 23, 2012, the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) board of trustees finalized the structure of a new body, the Private Company Council, which will work to address the needs of privately held entities through changes to U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).
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  • Who’s on First?

    It can be entertaining sometimes to watch the interaction between the SEC, IASB, FASB, FAF, and the AICPA as they debate the future of the U.S. financial reporting system. It reminds me of the Abbott and Costello routine, “Who’s on First?” What started with the signing of the 2002 Memorandum of Understanding between the FASB and IASB...
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