Compilations & reviews

Average cost of health insurance plan. Reference point for your next analytical review of health insurance costs.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Here are some tidbits for your next analytical review of health insurance costs during an audit or review.

From annual survey by Kaiser Family Foundation of employer provided health insurance:

  • $20,576 – average annual cost of family plan in 2019
  • $19,616 – average annual cost of family plan in 2018
  • 71% – average portion of costs paid by employer

More disciplinary actions from California Board of Accountancy

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The Update #87 newsletter from California Board of Accountancy for Summer/Fall 2018 lists 38 disciplinary actions, by my count.

You can read my previous posts on CBA actions by clicking on this tag.

Here is my tally of license revocations, surrendered licenses, and revocations with stay (there are no suspensions or stayed suspensions this time around):

How to get more of the messy details on disciplinary actions by the California Board of Accountancy

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A colleague asked me a question on how to find out more details on the disciplinary actions taken by the CBA. Let me give you the answer too.

To look up details, you can go to the newsletter mentioned. For Winter 2018 that would be here.

Summary of disciplinary actions from California Board of Accountancy, Winter 2018

What you will be doing if you ignore professional standards and then get caught messing up your audits and reviews, although the amount won’t be quite as large. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The new Update newsletter from the California Board of Accountancy goes back to providing details on disciplinary actions. The Winter 2018 edition (#86) takes 20 pages to describe the 24 actions. The previous Update provided far less detail, which generated lots of feedback to the board, so the newsletter will again give the ugly details for the causes for discipline.

Update 11/30/18:  Thanks to CBA for listing the messy details on what CPAs are doing to earn their consequences.

Three things jump out at me from the current list of discipline.

First, every action comes with a substantial financial penalty in the form of reimbursing the CBA for their investigative costs.

Second, just about every CPA that got in trouble for audit or review problems was given a ban from performing attestation work until some time in the future when the firm requests and receives permission from CBA to again perform such work.

Third, several CPAs received a suspension from their CPA practice. This means the individual may not perform any actions which would otherwise require a license. I think that means the firm halts all their attestation work and unless also holding an enrolled agent credential ceases their tax compliance work.

Here is my summary of the causes of discipline for the license surrenders and the stayed revocations:

New CPE requirement in California for CPAs who only perform preparation engagements

Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub before merger with Adobe Stock.

Big news from CBA if the highest level of service you provide clients is a preparation engagement.

First, if you don’t perform compilations, reviews, audits, or other services covered by peer review, you don’t need to get a peer review.

Second, there is a specific CPE requirement:  4 hours in fraud education and 8 hours in prep or A&A.

The following article from the California Board of Accountancy, quoted with permission, provides more detailed explanation.  Since it is quoted verbatim, I won’t put quotes around the entire article.

 

NEW CONTINUING EDUCATION REQUIREMENT FOR PREPARATION ENGAGEMENTS

CPAs who perform preparation engagements as their highest level of service are subject to a new continuing education (CE) requirement.

Another round of disciplinary actions from California Board of Accountancy

The firms that make up the following list were not traveling on the above highway. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Starting with the newest Update report for Fall 2017 (#85), the California Board of Accountancy has stopped listing the underlying problem leading to disciplinary action. This means it only took 16 pages to list the 44 actions reported currently. It also seems the CBA is listing actions against firms and the practitioner together.

This means the cringe inducing details are not immediately visible, even though the full disciplinary reports are public records and publicly available. I didn’t bother to take the time to research the reports.

I have tallied the current batch of discipline cases. Underlying problem is inferred by me based on the comments in the newsletter. I haven’t looked up any of the cases or looked up the reg sections cited for discipline. So, with those caveats, here are my inferences of the current disciplinary actions:

What can you learn from a list of common auditor mistakes?

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You might learn a few things from a list of Forty Mistakes Auditors Make. If you can identify a few ways to improve your audit approach you could save time, improve the quality of your audit, and maybe reduce your risk.

Lots of auditors are in the midst of planning their year-end audits and reviews. Now would be a really good time to think about how to do better, more efficient work.

Writing at CPA Scribo, my friend Charles Hall outlines a number of goofs made by auditors. I’ll list a few tidbits in order to encourage you to read and ponder the whole list:

Highlights of common deficiencies in compilation and review engagements

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There is a six page listing of common deficiencies identified during peer reviews of complexion and review engagements described in the AICPA’s new risk alert Developments in Preparation, compilation, and Review Engagements – 2017/2018.

Here are a few paraphrased highlights of the deficiencies. I will list items that I perceive are more serious or more pervasive.

You might consider reading through the full list and mentally comparing it to how you perform review and compilation engagements to see if there’s something you are missing.

Here are some of the highlights:

California Board of Accountancy is serious about audit quality and enrollment in peer review.

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The Winter 2017 Update newsletter (#83) from the California Board of Accountancy shows that the board is continuing its active efforts on disciplinary actions.

There are obviously quite a few of our colleagues who are not performing up to standards.

I’ve heard stories from a distance that the Board has hired more enforcement staff. As I have read the last few issues of Update, it sure seems to me that the increased staffing is showing up in an increased pace of closed cases. Maybe my perception is off, but it seems there are more cases closed with more serious consequences in the last year or so.

I count 39 cases documented in this edition of Update. Only 2 of these have discipline level of suspension or less. All the others are surrenders, revocations, or stayed revocations. Just as a guess, I think that means the editor of Update is filtering out most of the suspensions.

I count 19 cases of those 39 with peer review problems or audit, review, or compilation failures or some combination thereof. I’ll break that down further:

Free resource you can copy and paste to develop a Quality Control document for a small CPA firm.

Cover of free resources from AICPA, used under fair use.

Did you know the AICPA has provided a tool you may use as a starting template to develop a Quality Control document?

If you perform compilations, reviews, or audits, you are required to have a written QC document. Even if you aren’t going through a system review. Even if you only do comps.

If you perform audits and will have to go through a system review, keep in mind you are obligated to have quality control program in place before the system review starts, even before the peer review year begins. That means you really really need to have a QC document in place. (Yes, I’m talking to you, my fellow sole practitioners.)

The AICPA’s template can give you an easy starting point, in case you want to step up your policy.

There are two documents, one tailored for a sole practitioner and the other for small firms. Here are links to the documents:

Updates for CPAs: going concern and location of debt issue costs

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub before they merged into Adobe Stock.
Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub before they merged into Adobe Stock.

The accelerating pace of change doesn’t slow down merely because I have multiple audits in progress plus more that just started. Here are a few articles to help keep all of us up to date on two newly effective standards:

Going concern

For a long time the professional requirements for addressing going concern issues have been located in the audit literature. Yeah, the accounting requirement was in the audit standards.  There has been an effort for several years to this guidance out of the SASs and into GAAP. Two articles show the substantial progress:

11/8/16 – Charles Hall at CPA-Scribo – It’s Time to Apply FASB’s New Going Concern Standard –  ASU 2014-15 creates a requirement in GAAP for management to assess whether there are conditions or events which raise substantial doubt about ability to continue as going concern.

This is effective for financial statements ending on or after December 15, 2016. Translation: 12/31/16 financial statements. That would be the ones you’re auditing or reviewing or compiling at the moment.

If you haven’t tuned into this new requirement, check out Mr. Hall’s article before you download the ASU for study. Hint: the new requirements on management will seem remarkably familiar.

In case you hadn’t thought about it, having a GAAP-based going concern requirement placed on management means that there is now a specific need to address going concern in a review or comp.

2/22/17 – Accounting Today – AICPA changes going concern audit standard – Now that the going concern requirements are in GAAP, the ASB has modified the rules in the audit literature.

2017 Risk Alerts available

Image is from AICPA. Used under Fair Use since, after all, I am promoting three of their products.
Image of Audit Risk Alert is from AICPA. Used under Fair Use since, after all, I am promoting three of their products.

The 2017 audit season is about to begin. Planning is well underway for all those 12/31 clients.

To help you get ready, the annual updates to AICPA risk alerts are available. Consider:

I read the risk alerts every year. They are great for reminding me of what I already knew and even better for pointing out what tidbits I had missed.

You might want to check them out in the lull before the rush of field work hits.

Two new SSARS documents, #22 and #23

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

There are two new SSARS pronouncements. Most likely they will not be a big deal for most accountants, but if you work in the comp or review arena, you need to know they exist and you really ought to have a vague idea what is in them.

First, a tip on staying out of trouble on nonattest services…

11/1 – Journal of Accountancy – Nonattest services quiz – A great six question quiz on nonatttest services. Take the quiz to find out how well you are doing on independence and documentation requirements. By the way, if you miss some questions you probably taking out some really serious risk in your audit practice that you didn’t even know about.

This is a great opportunity to find out what you don’t know, which can hurt you.

9/23 – Journal of Accountancy – ARSC complete clarity project with issuance of SSARS No. 22 – …

More disciplinary action from California Board of Accountancy over peer review messes.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The Fall 2016 Update newsletter from the California Board of Accountancy shows CBA continues to be deadly serious about CPAs avoiding the peer review program.

I previously went into detail on disciplinary actions in one newsletter:  If you have been blowing off Peer Review, you really ought to get with the program. This time I will just give an overview.

Revocations of license

“Be Prepared – A Comprehensive Peer Review Update”

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The following article provides a superb update on recent developments in the peer review program. The article is graciously provided by the California Society of CPAs and the information described here applies in all jurisdictions across the U.S.

Because the entire article is quoted verbatim without any additional comments from me, none of the article will be placed in quotation marks.

Originally published by CalCPA (www.calcpa.org) in the October issue of California CPA magazine.

Used with written permission of the California Society of CPAs. 

 

Be Prepared – A Comprehensive Peer Review Update

By Linda McCrone

 

Peer review is a successful program that helps firms improve their quality control systems and elevate the quality of accounting and auditing engagements. The AICPA contributed the software program that tracks peer reviews and the staff that manages the program. AICPA member volunteers contribute their time to oversee the program, keep the peer review program forms current and make certain that the peer review standards remain relevant. But like any successful program, peer review must continue to evolve to keep up with events.

 

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