I want to praise the AICPA in their recent attempt to innovate within our profession. How do I define ‘innovation’ in terms of what they are doing? Simply, this: they are reviewing how we have always done things as a profession and considering, due to technologies and the common behaviors of our customers, that maybe we should change our professional behavior, and thus our standards. Kudos and I agree!
I’m speaking of the AICPA’s most recent Exposure Draft on changes to some SSARS (Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services) where they are considering making the preparation of financial statements an non-attest service. Basically, they are proposing making ‘preparing financial statements’ separate from attest services like Compilations, Reviews and Audits. Currently, every time we prepare financial statements, it is really considered a Compilation service, even though our customers may not intend us to Compile financials, may not want to pay for it, and do not actually need it. As CPAs, our professional hands are tied when our customers need financial reporting. We have to say, “I’m sorry, that quick financial statement you need will cost you. I have to prepare a Compilation even though you don’t want one.”