Comprehensive Definition of Attest


In May 2014, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) released new legislative language to revise the definition of attest in the profession’s model state accounting act, the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA). The proposal alters the definition of attest to include all examination, review, and agreed-upon procedures engagements performed under the AICPA’s Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAEs). This update addresses the fact that clients are increasingly asking CPAs to perform attest services on non-financial engagements, including security and privacy controls, greenhouse gases, and eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL). Previously, only examinations of prospective financial information performed under the SSAEs were included in the definition.

The resources below are designed to help state CPA policy advocates as they work to adopt the comprehensive definition of attest in their state. For more information, please contact the AICPA State Regulation and Legislation Team at

Related Resources

  • Comprehensive Definition of Attest Map - This map shows which states have adopted the comprehensive definition of attest, which states are currently considering legislation, and which states still need to adopt it into their statutes.  
  • FAQs about the Comprehensive Definition of Attest for Non-CPAs - This handout gives a very basic overview of the comprehensive definition of attest, including information on what attest services are, who can perform them, and why states need to adopt the comprehensive definition into their statutes. It’s a good leave-behind for visits with state legislators.
  • UAA Attest Language Common Inquiries - This short document addresses questions related to peer review, questions of independence, government standards, and CPA firm affiliates.
  • Attest Talking Points - State CPA policy advocates can use these talking points when speaking with their state legislators about the comprehensive definition of attest.
  • Attest Sample Testimony - This example can help state CPA policy advocates craft a statement of support to deliver before state legislative bodies.
  • Attest Overview - This four-page Word document provides detailed information on the definition of attest for non-CPAs, and is editable to include state CPA society information.
  • Attest Comparison Chart - A chart that quickly shows the similarities and differences between the previous and new definitions of attest.
  • Definition of Attest Frequently Asked Questions - This Word document provides answers to frequently asked, and state CPA societies can enter in their own contact information before distribution.
  • An Overview of the New Comprehensive Definition of Attest - PowerPoint slides from Gary McIntosh, AICPA Co-Chair of the UAA Committee, that provides information on what the updated definition does and why states should adopt it.
  • Attest Talking Points from the Alabama Society of CPAs - State CPA societies can model their own talking points after those provided by the Alabama Society of CPAs.
  • AICPA Definition of Attest White Paper - This white paper analyzes issues related to the definition of attest in the UAA. It was prepared for the August 2012 AICPA-NASBA Leadership Summit.