Attestation Interpretation

Journal of Accountancy, March 2005 | Go to article overview

Attestation Interpretation


Attestation Interpretations are recommendations on the application of Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAEs) in specific circumstances, including engagements for entities in specialized industries, issued under the authority of AICPA senior technical bodies. If the practitioner does not apply the attestation guidance included in an applicable attestation interpretation, the practitioner should be prepared to explain how he or she complied with the SSAE provisions addressed by such attestation guidance.

AT SECTION 9101

Attest Engagements: Attest Interpretations of AT Section 101

6. Reporting on Attestation Engagements Performed in Accordance With Government Auditing Standards (21)

.56 Question--In June 2003, the U.S. Government Accountability Office issued its 2003 revised Government Auditing Standards, commonly referred to as the Yellow Book. Chapter 6 of the revised Yellow Book sets forth general, fieldwork, and reporting standards for attestation engagements performed pursuant to generally accepted government auditing standards (GAGAS). Practitioners performing attestation engagements under GAGAS are also required to follow the general standards set forth in Chapter 3 of the Yellow Book. For attestation engagements performed pursuant to GAGAS, paragraph 6.28 prescribes additional reporting standards (22) that go beyond the standards of reporting set forth in AT section 101.63-.90. When a practitioner performs an attestation examination in accordance with GAGAS how should the report be modified?

.57 Interpretation--The practitioner should modify the scope paragraph of the attestation report to indicate that the examination or review was "conducted in accordance with attestation standards established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the standards applicable to attestation engagements contained in Government Auditing Standards issued by the Comptroller General of the United States."

.58 Additionally, GAGAS requires the practitioner's attestation report to disclose any matters that are set forth in paragraph 6.28 of the revised Yellow Book. Paragraph 6.34 of the revised Yellow Book sets forth the reporting elements that the practitioner should use, to the extent possible, in reporting a finding. The following illustration is a standard examination report modified to make reference to a schedule of findings when any of the matters set forth in paragraph 6.28 have been identified. This report pertains to subject matter for which suitable criteria exist and are available to all users through inclusion in a clear manner in the presentation of the subject matter. A written assertion has been obtained from the responsible party. While the following illustrative report modifications would comply with the Yellow Book requirement, this illustration is not intended to preclude a practitioner from complying with these additional Yellow Book reporting requirements in other ways.

Independent Accountant's Report

We have examined [identify the subject matter--for example, the accompanying schedule of performance measures of XYZ Agency for the year ended December 31, 20XX]. XYZ Agency's management is responsible for the [identify the subject matter--for example, schedule of performance measures]. Our responsibility is to express an opinion based on our examination.

Our examination was conducted in accordance with attestation standards established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the standards applicable to attestation engagements contained in Government Auditing Standards issued by the Comptroller General of the United States and, accordingly, included examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting [identify the subject matter--for example, XYZ Agency's schedule of performance measures] and performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. …

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