Magazine article The CPA Journal

GAO Issues CPE Interpretation

Magazine article The CPA Journal

GAO Issues CPE Interpretation

Article excerpt

The U.S. General Accounting Office recently issued its Interpretation of Continuing Education and Training Requirements to help guide audit organizations and individual auditors on implementing CPE requirements. The GAO first established CPE requirements in its 1988 revision of the Government Auditing Standards ("Yellow Book").

The Yellow Book requires auditors who are responsible for planning, directing, conducting, or reporting on government audits to complete 80 hours of CPE every two years. At least 20 of these 80 hours must be completed in one of the two years. These standards further stipulate that CPAs responsible for planning, directing, or conducting substantial portions the government audit must complete 24 of the 80 hours in subjects directly related to government accounting and the government environment.

The new guide discusses in detail who is subject to the requirements; when compliance should be documented; what types of CPE programs qualify; how requirements should be administered; and other CPE issues.

Highlights From the Guide:

* The qualifications standard and CPE requirements place responsibilities on both the audit organization and the individual auditors.

* Auditors subject to the Yellow Book on its effective date (1/1/89) should have met the CPE requirements for the first two-year period as of 12/31/90. Staff in organizations that were not subject to the Yellow Book effective date may perform Yellow Book audits if they collectively possess adequate professional proficiency prior to the audit, but must satisfy the CPE requirements within two years of the date they start such audits.

* Auditors who have not completed the required number of CPE hours for any two-year period will have the two months immediately following the two-year period to make up the deficiency. Any CPE hours completed toward a deficiency in one period should be documented in the CPE records and may not be counted toward the requirements for the next two-year period. …

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