AICPA proposes attestation procedure standard and revenue recognition guidance

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The American Institute of CPAs’ Accounting and Review Services Committee has published an exposure draft of a proposed standard on procedures for attestation engagements, while its Financial Reporting Executive Committee has issued working drafts of some of its industry-specific guidance for various industries.

The proposed Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements, Selected Procedures, aims to expand a practitioner’s ability to perform procedures and report in a procedures and findings format beyond the kind currently provided by one of the AICPA’s existing Professional Standards, AT-C section 215, Agreed-Upon Procedures Engagements. The proposal would provide flexibility in how a practitioner performs and reports on a procedures and findings service.

The proposed standard would offer more leeway by not requiring the various parties to either establish the procedures or agree to the sufficiency of the procedures for their purposes. In a selected procedures engagement, a practitioner can decide on the procedures to be followed and no party would be required to take responsibility for how sufficient the procedures are. That enables practitioners to handle the engagement at times when they and their clients don’t have the ability or aren’t willing to fully develop or determine the procedures, without having to perform a separate consulting services engagement.

The AICPA and the Accounting and Review Services Committee said Friday they are asking for comments by December 1. Once the standard is issued, the provisional effective date won’t be earlier than for reports dated on or after May 1, 2019, although early implementation will be allowed.

Revenue Recognition Industry Guidance

Separately, the AICPA’s Financial Reporting Executive Committee issued several working drafts Friday of accounting issues related to the implementation of the new revenue recognition standard and is asking for feedback on the proposals.

The working drafts describe several of the considerations that business in several industries, such as aerospace and defense, asset management, broker dealers, engineering and construction companies, power and utility, software and time-share companies may be facing when implementing the new standard. The final versions of the documents will be included in the AICPA’s Revenue Recognition Guide.

The working drafts of accounting issues include:

Aerospace and Defense

Issue #1-10: Disclosures

Asset Management

Issue #10-4: Costs of Managing Investment Companies

Broker Dealer

Issue #3-6: Soft Dollar Revenues

Engineering and Construction

Issue #4-7: Disclosures

Power and Utility

Issue #13-3: Revenue Recognition for Fixed Price Contracts – Consideration of Different Pricing Conventions


Issue #14-3: Determination of whether a customer’s right to acquire additional users/copies of a delivered software product constitute an option to acquire additional software rights or variable consideration related to software rights already purchased


Issue #16-5: Principal versus Agent Considerations for Time-share Interval Sales

The AICPA is asking for feedback on the implementation issues by Nov. 1, 2017.

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