The following article is reprinted with permission of the California Board of Accountancy.
What You Want (and need) to Know about Peer review
The most important thing to know about peer review is that ALL LICENSEES are required to submit a Peer Review Reporting Form to the CBA regardless of the type of work performed, status of license, or industry of employment. Undergoing a peer review and reporting peer review information are two different things, so read carefully to determine your responsibilities.
There’s no doubt you’ve been hearing about Peer Review since at least January 1, 2010. That’s the date Peer Review went into effect, and all California–licensed firms that provide accounting and auditing (A&A) services, including sole proprietorships, were required to undergo a peer review once every three years as a condition of license renewal. Peer review is defined as the study of a firm’s A&A practice by an independent CPA using professional standards.
Submitting a Peer review reporting form to the CBA
As indicated above, all licensees, including CPAs, corporations, and partnerships, regardless of the type of work performed, status of license, or industry of employment, are required to submit a completed Peer Review Reporting Form to the CBA. Below are important things to know:
- A PIN number is required for online reporting and can be requested by e-mailing the CBA at firstname.lastname@example.org. PIN numbers are case sensitive; the letters are all lower case.
- Once the PIN number is obtained, the Peer Review Reporting Form can be submitted online at https://www.cba.ca.gov/forms/peer_review/.
- Sole proprietors submit the Peer Review Reporting Form under their individual CPA or Public Accountant (PA) license number.
- Corporations and partnerships submit a Peer Review Reporting Form under their COR and PAR license numbers.
- Employees, shareholders and partners of accounting firms must submit a separate Peer Review Reporting Form for their individual CPA or PA license number indicating that they not operating as a sole proprietor.
Undergoing Peer review
Peer reviews are required for licensees providing compilation reports, reviews and audits. Even if you have performed only one of these types of engagements, you must still undergo a peer review. Firms providing services that require a peer review cannot renew their license into active or inactive status until a peer review is completed. The California Society of Certified Public Accountants (CalCPA) and the National Peer Review Program (NPRC) administer the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Peer Review Program in California.
- The AICPA Peer Review Program Enrollment Form can be found on the CalCPA website at www.calcpa.org. Firms that need a peer review should contact the CalCPA at (650) 522-3094 or email@example.com.
- Firms are required to have their peer review administered by the NPRC if they are required to be registered with and inspected by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board or if they perform audits of non-Security and Exchange Commission issuers pursuant to the standards of the PCAOB.
- The NPRC can be contacted at (919) 402-4502, Ext. 2 or PRSupport@aicpa.org.
The average length of time to complete a peer review is three to seven months. The following list is provided to assist you in understanding the necessary steps for completing a peer review.
- Licensee enrolls in the AICPA Peer Review Program through CalCPA/NPRC.
- CalCPA/NPRC assigns a peer review due date.
- Licensee selects a qualified peer reviewer.
- Peer reviewer performs the peer review.
- Peer reviewer submits the peer review report to CalCPA/NPRC.
- CalCPA/NPRC performs a technical review of the peer review.
- CalCPA/NPRC sends the licensee an acceptance letter.
Even if you are unable to complete the peer review by your reporting deadline, you still must submit the Peer Review Reporting Form by the reporting deadline and include an explanation regarding the status of your peer review.
If you need additional time to complete the peer review, CalCPA may, in limited situations, grant you an extension to complete the peer review. Requests for extensions must be submitted directly to CalCPA as the CBA is not authorized to grant such requests. Should you receive an extension, please notify the CBA.
Reporting Your Peer review to the CBA
The CalCPA and the NPRC do not report peer review results or provide a copy of the peer review to the CBA. It is the responsibility of the licensee to report the results to the CBA.
The Peer Review Reporting Form and information on mandatory peer review in California is available on the CBA website at www.cba.ca.gov. Questions regarding submitting a Peer Review Reporting Form should be directed to the CBA at (916) 561-1706 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The above article is reprinted from Issue 70 of UPDATE, the periodic newsletter of the California Board of Accountancy. It is reprinted with the permission of the California Board of Accountancy. The original article has a 2012 copyright from the CBA
(Full disclosure – Not sure a disclosure is necessary, but will make it anyway. The California Board of Accountancy is the state agency that provides regulatory oversight of my practice as a CPA.)