Key Quality Controls for a CPA Firm

From providing tax services to consulting businesses from a financial standpoint, accounting firms have major responsibilities to make sure everything is above board. But there are times when a CPA (certified public accountant) firm needs to be reminded of its duties to their clients.

Accounting firms can be audited for a number of issues including lack of communication and compliance. There are a number of measures that can be instilled in a firm’s culture to make sure it keeps a good eye on its own operations. A system of quality control practices can help provide a firm with reasonable assurance that its personnel comply with standards.

Another way to make sure a firm is compliant and protected is with an accountants professional liability policy, and day-to-day tips can include key quality controls. Here are a few things to look for.

Personnel Management

The quality of a CPA firm’s work depends on the people who perform the work on a daily basis. Integrity, intelligence, know-how, competence, and experience of all certified accountants should be taken into consideration. A firm’s personnel management policies and procedures weigh heavily on the quality of work performed.

Personnel management includes hiring, assigning personnel to engagements, developing of accountants, and opportunities for advancement. Those hired should continue to sharpen their skills with professional education and other professional development activities. This will help the team continue to fulfill responsibilities assigned.

Quality Control System

A quality control system within a CPA firm is meant to provide reasonable assurance that the firm achieves the objectives it originally set out. To do this, the right consideration should be given to the assignment of responsibilities within quality control. Appropriate quality control policies and procedures need to be communicated well and compliance should be documented.

Consideration should be given to the proficiency of the accountants who take on certain quality control system responsibilities. From design and maintenance of the q.c. system to overall communication, appropriate individuals should take on tasks more attuned to their abilities and know-how.

Documentation and Communication

The best way to keep compliance regulated and updated is to keep communication open. A firm should communicate its quality control policies and procedures daily and provide input to make sure compliance is covered. Information about quality control policies should be sufficiently comprehensive to provide the right understanding of policies and procedures. A firm should establish a system for communicating on a timely basis through and to appropriate personnel.

Documentation of compliance should be prepared by all CPA firms. How procedures, policies, and compliance is documented is up to the firm and depends on a number of factors, such as size of firm, number of offices, complexity of the firm’s practice, and cost-benefit considerations. Firms should keep this kind of documentation on hand in accessible files and available for peer review.

Using these elements of quality control can help to reduce auditing issues and overall disorganization. A well-operated and well-communicated quality control system will help to keep compliance issues at bay.

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