Peer Review Information
All peer reviews administered by the VSCPA are performed under the AICPA Standards for Performing and Reporting on Peer Reviews.
- Peer Review Program Oversight
- Enrollment Information
- The Peer Review Process
- Administrative Fees
- Instructions to Firms
- Types of Reviews
- Letters of Response
- Pay Your Annual Administrative Fee
- Extension Requests
- Limitation Waivers
Peer Review Program | Top
The VSCPA Peer Review Program is subject to administrative oversight of the Program and staff every other year by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). In addition to the on-site oversight conducted by the AICPA, the VSCPA Peer Review Committee Chair performs oversight during the years between AICPA on-site oversight.
In an effort to provide greater transparency for the program, the AICPA Peer Review Board has requested that all administering entities prepare oversight reports (PDF) on an annual basis. This report provides detailed information and statistics regarding Virginia's enrolled firms.
Enrollment Information | Top
Does your firm need to enroll in a peer review program? If your firm is performing accounting and auditing engagements that fit the definition below, then the firm must enroll.
Accounting and auditing engagements for the purposes of peer review are defined as all engagements covered by Statements on Auditing Standards (SAS), Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services (SSARS), Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE), and the Government Auditing Standards (Yellow Book) issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office Office (GAO).
UPDATE: The AICPA's revised SSARS 21 revised the standards for reviews, compilations and engagements to prepare financial statements, including allowing CPAs to prepare financial statements without presenting a compilation report. Virginia's SB 1125 amended the accountancy statutes to clearly include the preparation of financial statements under the services for which a firm license is required, whether or not the CPAs in question are providing attest and compilation services. Firms otherwise subject to peer review that also perform the preparation of financial statements under SSARS 21, Sec. 70, will have such engagements included within the scope of their peer reviews.
Firms that perform the preparation of financial statements under SSARS 21, Sec. 70 as their highest level of service, while required to have a Virginia firm license, are not required to enroll in the Peer Review Program. However, should these firms choose to enroll, then a peer review is required.
If your firm does not have any AICPA or VSCPA members and you would like information on the VSCPA Peer Review Program, please click here. (State Board of Accountancy Firms)
The Peer Review Process | Top
Enrollment — After a firm's enrollment has been approved, a due date for the firm's initial review is assigned. Generally, the due date for the firm's first review is set about 18 months after program enrollment.
Scheduling — Approximately six months before a firm's review due date, scheduling instructions will be sent via email. This must be completed in the PRIMA system in order for the review to be scheduled. It is the firm's responsibility to choose its own reviewer. The review should not commence until the firm has received notification that the reviewer has been approved to perform the review.
After the review — Once the review has been completed, the reviewer will submit a copy of the review report and required working papers via PRIMA. If no deficiencies were noted, the firm is not responsible for submitting anything. If the report noted any deficiencies, the firm is responsible for submitting a copy of the review report issued by the reviewer and the firm's letter of response (LOR) to those comments. If applicable, the firm must submit these materials via PRIMA within 30 days of the date the reviewer issues the report.
Administrative and technical reviews — These ensure that all the required documents from the reviewer and the firm are received and complete. The technical reviewers determine whether the review has been conducted in accordance with governing standards, and whether the firm has responded to any findings in an appropriate manner.
Committee process — Once all of the review documents have been through the administrative and technical review process they are presented to the Peer Review Committee for consideration of acceptance. After the Committee meets and accepts a review, firms should receive the review acceptance letter from the VSCPA within 14 days. However, some firms may be required to perform certain corrective follow-up actions before the review can be closed. Generally, except in the case where extensions have been granted, a firm's next review due date is set three years later.
All peer review documents and results are confidential. It is the firm's decision whether or not to publicize or release their peer review results. However, firms should remember that the results of a peer review should not be published until after the VSCPA Peer Review Committee has accepted it.
Administrative Fees | Top
Pay your annual administrative fee here!
The VSCPA charges an annual administrative fee to each firm to cover the costs of program administration. These amounts have been designed to be sensitive to firm size. The current fees are as follows for all enrolled firms:
- Sole proprietor (no professional staff): $155 per year
- Firms with 2–5 professionals: $280 per year
- Firms with 6–10 professionals: $410 per year
- Firms with 11+ professionals: $535 per year
- Inactive firms: $20 per year
In addition, the AICPA has instituted a national peer review administrative fee, billed annually to support the peer review program's new and ongoing initiatives to drive audit quality. Firms that are subject to system reviews will be assessed the fee annually. The fee varies based on the number of CPAs employed by a firm, as follows:
- Sole practitioner: $75 per year
- Firms with 2–10 CPAs: $325 per year
- Firms with 11–49 CPAs: $1,250 per year
- Firms with 50–99 CPAs: $3,000 per year
- Firms with 100–399 CPAs: $7,500 per year
- Firms with 400–999 CPAs: $10,000 per year
- Firms with 1,000+ CPAs: $15,000 per year
The number of CPAs on file is provided by each firm at the time of enrollment in peer review. If this information is no longer accurate, please contact the AICPA Peer Review Program at (919) 402-4502 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note: A professional is defined as all personnel who perform professional services for which the firm is responsible, whether or not they are CPAs (AICPA, Professional Standards, vol. 2, QC sec. 20.03, footnote 4).
These fees are separate from what a reviewer will charge for his or her services.
Types of Reviews | Top
This type of review is for firms that perform engagements under the Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS), the Government Auditing Standards (Yellow Book), examinations under the Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAEs), or audits of non-SEC issuers performed pursuant to the standards of the PCAOB as their highest level of service.
This type of review is for firms that are not required to have a System Review and only perform services under SSARS or services under the SSAEs not included in System Reviews as their highest level of service.
Click here for an AICPA overview of the differences between system and engagement reviews.
Instructions to Firms | Top
The following instructions are from the AICPA Peer Review Program Manual.
- Instructions to firms having a system review (PDF)
- Instructions to firms having an engagement review (PDF)
Letters of Response | Top
A firm is required to write a letter of response if the reviewer found deficiencies. The following are samples of letter of responses.
- Sample letter of response (LOR) for a system review
- Sample letter of response (LOR) for an engagement review
Access the AICPA's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) publication on Peer Review. It answers your questions about enrollment, general information, information for enrolled firms, choosing a peer reviewer, preparing for the review, having the review, the report types, peer review committee consideration and acceptance and other matters.