AICPA’s Revised Standard for Attestation Engagements Tackles Transparency and Consistency in Review Reports and Engagements

December 9, 2020

Washington, D.C. (December 3, 2020) - The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) Auditing Standards Board (ASB) today issued Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) No. 22, Review Engagements, to supersede SSAE No. 18, Attestation Standards: Clarification and Recodification, as amended, section 210 of the same title.

“We believe it is in the public interest to enable the practitioner to express an adverse conclusion when appropriate, to alert the user that the subject matter information is materially misstated, and the effects of the misstatements are pervasive,” said Tracy Harding, CPA, AICPA Auditing Standards Board Chair. “As the profession anticipates and responds to reporting by organizations to their stakeholders and the needs for assurance, we also believe the enhancements to our standard provide helpful information by explaining the nature of the work done in the review.”

In a review engagement, the practitioner obtains a limited level of assurance that the subject matter is in accordance with specified criteria. SSAE No. 22 describes the types of procedures a practitioner may perform in a review engagement and:

  1. Clarifies for practitioners that the objective of a review engagement is to obtain limited assurance – as opposed to it being an exercise in performing analytical procedures and inquiries.
  2. Results in more transparent reporting by requiring that the practitioner disclose, in the review report, the procedures performed in order to obtain limited assurance.
  3. Allows the practitioner to issue a report containing an adverse review conclusion when the subject matter is materially and pervasively misstated.

The standard includes revisions to conform certain concepts in AT-C section 210, Review Engagements, with those same concepts in revised AT-C section 205, Assertion-Based Examination Engagements, as a result of the recent issuance of SSAE No. 21, Direct Examination Engagements.

Next Steps

SSAE No. 22 becomes effective for practitioners’ review reports dated on or after June 15, 2022.  Early implementation is permitted only if the practitioner also early implements the amendments to AT-C section 105, Concepts Common to All Attestation Engagements, included in SSAE No. 21.

About the American Institute of CPAs

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is the world’s largest member association representing the CPA profession, with more than 431,000 members in the United States and worldwide, and a history of serving the public interest since 1887. AICPA members represent many areas of practice, including business and industry, public practice, government, education and consulting. The AICPA sets ethical standards for its members and U.S. auditing standards for private companies, nonprofit organizations, and federal, state and local governments. It develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination, offers specialized credentials, builds the pipeline of future talent and drives professional competency development to advance the vitality, relevance and quality of the profession.

About the AICPA Auditing Standards Board

The ASB is the senior technical committee of the AICPA designated to issue auditing, attestation, and quality control standards applicable to the performance and issuance of audit and attestation reports for non-issuers. Its mission is to develop and communicate comprehensive performance, reporting, and quality control standards and practice guidance to enable auditors of non-issuers to provide high quality, objective audit and attestation services at a reasonable cost and in the best interests of the profession and the beneficiaries of those services, with the ultimate purpose of serving the public interest by improving existing and enabling new audit and attestation services.