Introduction to Peer Review Services
Over 30,000 firms are enrolled in the AICPA Peer Review Program and are required to have a review of their accounting services and auditing practices at least once every three years. Our Tampa Bay area accounting firm performs both system and engagement reviews for CPA firms. GSS provides Firm-On-Firm Reviews for firms whose peer reviews are administered by their state CPA society and the AICPA National Peer Review Committee. Our peer review services include:
- Peer reviews
- Internal monitoring/inspections
- Pre-issue reviews and engagement quality control reviews
You’ve worked hard to put in place a strong quality control environment for your firm and are looking for a peer review service provider that can bring understanding, insight and assistance in continuing your efforts to maintain your high quality standards. The selection of your peer reviewer is critical to receiving the full benefits of your peer review. Ideally, you want to match your peer reviewer’s experience to your own firm’s experience to achieve maximum efficiency and insight. Investment in peer review services enables you to:
- Enhance your firm’s quality control policies and procedures
- See how your firm measures up to other firms and learn from other firms’ best practices
- Enhance your marketing efforts by using your peer review report to underscore your commitment to quality
GSS has a dedicated Peer Review Services Team led by Dan Hevia, who was appointed to be the shareholder in charge of peer review services when his firm, Hevia, Beagles & Company (HBC) merged with GSS in January 2011. This appointment was based upon Dan’s continuing role in the AICPA Peer Review Program since its inception in the 1980’s and his experience serving in numerous state and national positions including:
- Chair of the AICPA Peer Review Board
- Chair of the Florida Peer Review Committee
- Member of the AICPA National Peer Review Committee
Questions You Should Ask Your Peer Reviewer
The following are our answers to questions that the AICPA recommends you ask when selecting a reviewer to perform your firm’s review:
How many reviews has the individual performed?
The members of the GSS Peer Review Service Team have collectively performed over 600 peer reviews since the inception of AICPA sponsored peer review programs.
How much experience does the reviewer have in the industries in which my firm performs?
We have experience in a very wide range of industries with concentrations in not-for-profit, insurance, manufacturing, healthcare, construction and real estate.
Will the reviewer be able to complete the review on time, allowing me enough time to submit the report and letter of response, if any, to the administering entity by my firm's review due date?
Because of the number of reviews we perform and our involvement with peer reviews for many years, we have developed a strong working relationship with the peer review staff of the AICPA and the FICPA. Our approach and experience in performing peer reviews allows us to complete the review and issue our reports typically within a few days after completion of field work.
Ask the reviewer for a list of firms for which he or she has conducted peer reviews.
We are pleased to provide references upon request.
Are there any other value-added services that the reviewer can provide me during the peer review?
As part of our peer review approach, we are pleased to share best practices used by other firms and audit efficiency recommendations.
What type of Government and/or ERISA audits do you perform?
GSS is a member of both the AICPA Government Audit Quality Center and the AICPA Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center. We are experienced in performing audits under Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (Yellow Book) and Federal and State Single Audits (A-133). Our experience covers most types of nonprofit and governmental entities and ERISA entities.
Does the reviewer meet all of the qualifications to be a peer reviewer?
All shareholders and managers assigned to our Peer Review Services Team have considerable public accounting experience. Dan Hevia has been an instructor of the AICPA advanced peer reviewer training courses and has made numerous technical presentations at AICPA national conferences on the topics of peer review and quality control systems.
Has the ability to be a reviewer been limited or restricted or has the reviewer received notifications of limitations/restrictions on its ability to practice public accounting by regulatory, monitoring or enforcement bodies?
GSS has never had its ability to perform peer reviews suspended or restricted by any peer review body, ethics or regulatory body. We are members of the AICPA and have undergone peer reviews without ever having received any comments on our performance. We are also registered with the PCAOB and have undergone all inspections without comment – a significant accomplishment.
Internal Monitoring and Inspections
Firms are required to perform annual internal monitoring of their quality control systems. Many firms find it more beneficial to outsource aspects of their internal monitoring/inspection process, such as the engagement review component. This allows for an objective fresh look at the firm’s engagement performance and its quality control policies and procedures. We have assisted a number of firms in the performance and development of internal monitoring and inspection procedures and are available to assist you in this area.
Pre-issuance / Engagement Quality Control Reviews
Quality Control Standards now require firms to establish criteria, policies and procedures for the performance of Engagement Quality Control Reviews. Many firms, especially smaller firms, may find they need to go outside their firm to meet this new requirement. Firms may also find it useful to have an outside pre-issuance review performed of other engagements, such as those in high-risk or specialized industries where the firm does not have the internal capability of effectively performing a concurring review of these engagements. We are experienced in working with many firms in a collaborative and timely manner to perform EQCR and pre-issuance reviews.