South Dakota becomes 52nd jurisdiction to adopt the comprehensive definition of attest

March 27, 2019

Origami boats sailing behind a leader

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signed the CPA profession’s comprehensive definition of attest bill into law on March 1, making South Dakota the 52nd U.S. jurisdiction to adopt the definition.

Adopting the definition means that only a CPA operating within a CPA firm can issue attest reports. Previously, non-CPAs could perform certain attest engagements using the AICPA Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements.

Laura Coome, executive director for the South Dakota Society of CPAs commented, “Attest services are the cornerstone of the CPA profession. Because they are ever-evolving, the need to modernize was important to ensure uniformity and public protection. The Society jointly worked with the South Dakota Board of Accountancy for several years on this issue, and it was my personal goal to see this bill enacted before my retirement.”

The AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy agree that there is a very real set of risks to the public interest associated with non-CPAs issuing reports using profession standards with no regulatory oversight.

The market for attest services is constantly changing, growing to include areas like cybersecurity and sustainability. The comprehensive definition of attest ensures that consumers can trust that their attest services are provided by a CPA operating under the appropriate oversight.

New Jersey and Wyoming also adopted the comprehensive definition this year, and legislatures in Florida and Hawaii have active legislation to adopt the provision.