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SSAE No. 19 Agreed-Upon Procedures Engagements

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Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) No. 19  Agreed-Upon Procedures Engagements
 
Effective for agreed-upon procedures reports dated on or after July 15, 2021, SSAE No. 19 is intended to provide accountants with more flexibility when performing an agreed-upon procedures engagement. The new standard:
 
Eliminates the requirement that the practitioner request a written assertion
 
Most significantly, the new standard will allow an accountant to report on the subject matter. which is the information that a financial professional or accountant has to measure or evaluate, without obtaining a written assertion that the subject matter complies with an underlying criterion, such as a law or regulation, from the party that is responsible for the subject matter.
 
Allows procedures to be developed over the course of the engagement
 
The new standard provides flexibility as the procedures can be developed over the course of the engagement by the practitioner, the engaging party, intended users of the practitioner’s report or any combination thereof. However, prior to the issuance of the practitioner’s report, the engaging party is required to agree to and acknowledge that the procedures performed are appropriate to meet the intended purpose of the engagement
 
No longer requires intended users to take responsibility for the sufficiency of the procedures
 
Currently AT-C section 215 is premised on specified parties determining the procedures to be performed and assuming responsibility for the sufficiency of the procedures. These specified parties have been required to acknowledge their responsibility as part of the accountant agreeing on the terms of the engagement with the engaging party. SSAE No. 19 instead requires the engaging party to acknowledge the appropriateness of the procedures.
 
Allows the practitioner to issue a general-use report
 
Under current standards, the agreed-upon procedures report may be restricted to the use of specified parties. Since SSAE 19 has eliminated the requirement that any users of the practitioner’s report other than the engaging party agree to and accept responsibility for the sufficiency of the procedures performed, the accountant is permitted to issue a general-use report. The report includes language advising users that the procedures performed, and the findings obtained may not be appropriate for their purposes. The new standard allows the accountant to restrict the use of any report if, in his or her professional judgment, such restriction is appropriate.
 
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The new standard explicitly permits practitioners to develop, or assist in developing, the procedures for agreed-upon engagements. However, the AICPA Professional Ethics Division discussed perceived independence issues raised by this explicit permission and does not believe that this perceived independence issue raises any actual threats to independence. Furthermore, the AICPA notes that since the new standard requires the engaging party to agree to the procedures and acknowledge that the procedures are appropriate for the intended purpose of the engagement, any perceived self-review and management participation threats are mitigated, as the accountant would not be the only one assessing the appropriateness of the procedures. 
 
The new standard supersedes SSAE No. 18, AT-C section 215 of the same title in AICPA Professional Standards.
 
 
 
The full text of SSAE No. 19 is available at
 

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