Association of International Certified Professional Accountants–AICPA
Member | Established: 1887 | Member since 1977
The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the Association) combines the strengths of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). It represents 657,000 members and students in public and management accounting and advocates for the public interest and business sustainability on current and emerging issues. With broad reach, rigor and resources, the Association advances the reputation, employability and quality of CPAs, CGMA designation holders and accounting and finance professionals globally. As part of IFAC membership obligations, the Association fulfills SMOs in U.S. through AICPA and in UK through CIMA.
Statements of Membership Obligation (SMO)
The Statements of Membership Obligations form the basis of the IFAC Member Compliance Program. They serve as a framework for credible and high-quality professional accountancy organizations focused on serving the public interest by adopting, or otherwise incorporating, and supporting implementation of international standards and maintaining adequate enforcement mechanisms to ensure the professional behavior of their individual members.
- SMO 1: Quality Assurance
With the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) responsible for quality assurance (QA) reviews for public business entities, the role of the AICPA is to establish and implement a QA review system for its members engaged in public practice for nonpublic entities. To this end, it has established a Peer-Review-Program in line with the SMO 1 requirements and has policies and procedures for its QA review system which it reviews periodically to ensure its effectiveness.
The AICPA has ongoing processes to educate, communicate, and support its members with quality control standards. In its SMO Action Plan, the AICPA reports that it develops guidelines, workshops, and other training initiatives, and disseminates information on the results of peer reviews to its members and the general public. In addition, the AICPA advocates and promotes the need to enact the peer review systems legislation to the state boards of accountancy that have not already done so in their jurisdictions.
To promote adoption of international standards, the AICPA comments on every PCAOB proposed standard through its Center for Audit Quality. The Auditing Standards Board (ASB) chair of the AICPA is an observer to the PCAOB’s Standing Advisory Group, and the ASB chair and relevant AICPA staff meet regularly with PCAOB leadership to share agendas and thoughts. Where relevant and applicable, ISA are recommended for the PCAOB's consideration.
- SMO 2: International Education Standards
The AICPA shares responsibility for initial and continuing professional development (IPD and CPD) for licensed professional accountants in the United States with the state boards of accountancy and other professional accountancy organizations. The AICPA reports that it has implemented IPD and CPD requirements for its members that fulfill those of the revised IES.
Additionally, the AICPA supports the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) in the licensing of professional accountants, and particularly in the development of the Uniform CPA Exam. The AICPA reports that, after completing an extensive analysis and consultation with NASBA and the profession, the CPA Exam is scheduled to change in April 2017.
The AICPA also raises awareness about the IES, and participates in public consultations in the jurisdiction. Furthermore, the AICPA monitors progress made by the state boards of accountancy on incorporating the IES requirements and conducts surveys of accounting firms and its members on policies regarding adherence to the IES.
The AICPA indicates that it disseminates updates on new and revised standards issued by the IAESB through its website, participates in the international standard-setting process on an ongoing basis, and has nominated and supported representatives to serve on the IAESB Board.
- SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
The Auditing Standards Board (ASB) of the AICPA is only involved in setting auditing standards for nonpublic entities while the Public Company Oversight Board (PCAOB) is responsible for setting auditing standards for public business entities. The AICPA reports that the ASB completed its own clarity project whereby all auditing standards have been redrafted using the format of the IAASB and since then has established policies and procedures to consider and incorporate new and revised ISA on ongoing basis.
To promote adoption of international standards, the AICPA comments on every PCAOB proposed standard through its Center for Audit Quality. The ASB chair of the AICPA is an observer to the PCAOB’s Standing Advisory Group, and the ASB chair and relevant AICPA staff meet regularly with PCAOB leadership to share agendas and thoughts. Where relevant and applicable, ISA are recommended for the PCAOB's consideration.
In its SMO Action Plan, the AICPA indicates that it has developed auditing industry guides, practice aids and risk alerts, and provided trainings to assist with implementation. In addition, the AICPA disseminates information of IAASB pronouncements through its Journal of Accountancy, newsletters, and other communication vehicles.
The AICPA reports that it participates in the international standard-setting process by providing comments on IAASB exposure drafts, nominating and supporting representatives to sit on the IAASB, and contributing to various IAASB task forces, working groups, and committees.
- SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
The AICPA has direct responsibility for adopting ethical requirements for its members and reports that it has established an AICPA Code of Professional Conduct that incorporates ethical requirements that are no less stringent than those of the 2015 IESBA Code of Ethics. The AICPA states that it has processes in place to include new and revised requirements in its Code of Professional Conduct on an ongoing basis and to this effect the AICPA is reviewing the NOCLAR standard, considering its adoption.
The AICPA indicates that it disseminates IESBA exposure drafts and provides quarterly updates on the activities of IESBA in its newsletters, which are circulated to its members and other interested parties. In addition, the AICPA has a hotline that is continuously available for its members to seek advice on ethical conflicts and interpretations of the Code of Ethics.
In addition, the AICPA reports that it participates in the international standard-setting process by providing comments to the IESBA exposure drafts and nominating and supporting representatives to the IESBA Board and task forces.
The AICPA is encouraged to provide details on the actions it is undertaking to incorporate the ethical requirements in its initial professional development and continuing professional development content.
- SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
As it has no legal responsibility for the adoption of public sector accounting standards, the AICPA reports that it encourages the adoption and implementation of strong public sector accounting and reporting standards for use by governments and other public sector entities in the United States. It does this by encouraging the regulators (the U.S. Governmental Accounting Standards Board and the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board) to harmonize the public sector accounting and reporting standards with the IPSAS where appropriate.
The AICPA disseminates IPSAS information through its magazine Journal of Accountancy, its newsletter, the CPA Letter, and various other communication vehicles, and promotes IPSAS in conferences and presentations.
In addition, the AICPA nominates and supports members to the IPSASB, works with the IPSASB in the development of its standards, participates in various IPSASB task forces, and provides comments on Exposure Drafts of the IPSAS.
- SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
The state boards of accountancy have the authority to carry out investigative and disciplinary processes for licensed professional accountants, in their respective jurisdictions.
The AICPA and 48 out of 53 of the state boards have joined together to create and participate in the Joint Ethics Enforcement Program (JEEP). AICPA reports that the JEEP Manual of Procedures fulfills all the requirements of SMO 6.
In accordance with the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) has the authority to investigate and discipline registered public accounting firms and persons associated with those firms. The extent to which the PCAOB’s investigation and discipline system is in line with the requirements of the SMO 6 requirements is unclear. The AICPA reports in its 2017 SMO Action plan that given that PCAOB’s I&D procedures are overseen by the SEC, the AICPA does not have influence or authority over I&D procedures as it pertains to audits of public companies.
The AICPA indicates that it has an ongoing process in place to periodically benchmark its I&D system against the requirements of SMO 6. In addition, the AICPA indicates that there are currently proposals to enhance its I&D system.
The AICPA disseminates information on its website about the results of disciplinary actions to notify its members and the general public.
The AICPA is encouraged to demonstrate in its SMO Action Plan actions and activities it is undertaking and/or plans it has to promote the adoption of SMO 6 requirements to the remaining state boards of accountancy that have not adopted the JEEP.
- SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
In the United States the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is the entity responsible for the adoption of accounting standards and it has been working with the IASB since 2002 to achieve convergence of IFRS and the U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. The AICPA has no responsibility for the adoption of accounting standards, but it indicates that it supports the adoption of IFRS.
The AICPA supports the FASB’s standard-setting process, participates in public consultations, and promotes the convergence process. The AICPA also provides comment letters to the IASB on significant consultation documents. The AICPA states that since 2008, it has raised awareness about the IFRS to its members, financial professionals, government officials, and academia through a combination of strategies such as publications, speeches, conferences, and office visits. In addition, the AICPA launched the IFRS.com website to disseminate resources related to the IFRS, the convergence process, and IFRS exposure drafts and standards.
Additionally, the AICPA indicates that it has incorporated IFRS questions into the CPA Exam since 2011, developed courses and publications (for example, IFRS Financial Statements—Best Practices in Presentation and Disclosure 2012/2013 and IFRS Compass: IT System Implications) to facilitate implementation and application of IFRS, offered online resources for IFRS for SMEs, and developed the AICPA IFRS Certificate Program.
IFAC bears no responsibility for the information provided in the SMO Action Plans prepared by IFAC member organizations. Please see our full Disclaimer for additional information.