What is Peer Review?
The state of Massachusetts requires that all public accounting firms performing audits, reviews and/or compilation reviews have an official peer review completed every three years to maintain their business license. During a review, a qualified peer reviewer visits the firm to inspect a collection of work to make sure it is up to the Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy’s standards.
The AICPA runs the Peer Review Program, and MassCPAs is an administering entity of the program in Massachusetts. This means we will help you complete the peer review process from beginning to end with the assistance of the AICPA’s peer review website, PRIMA.
There are two types of peer reviews: a system review and an engagement review. The type of review a firm receives depends on the type of services the firm has been providing.
A system review is required when a firm performs audits. This type of review analyzes a CPA firm’s peer control policies and procedures by interviewing employees and inspecting the firm’s documentation. The reviewer looks at a collection of work spanning a year time frame and focuses on high-risk engagements. The review is typically performed at the firm’s office unless the reviewer has received permission from MassCPAs to perform the review in a different location.
An engagement review is performed on firms that do not perform audits, unless the firm opts to have a system review done instead. During an engagement review, the reviewer will analyze a collection of financial statements that were completed within the last year and will make sure they are up to the state’s professional standards. This type of review does not inspect the firm’s peer control policies, and therefore does not certify that the firm is in compliance with the AICPA-issued quality control standards.
How to Get Started in PRIMA
The AICPA uses the Peer Review Integrated Management Application (PRIMA) to conduct the Peer Review Program. PRIMA is used by firms, reviewers and MassCPAs to keep track of, and perform, each firm’s peer review. You can log into PRIMA using your AICPA.org / CPA.com login or create a PRIMA account by completing a Firm Creation Form and submitting it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also add email@example.com to your contact list or safe sender list to ensure you receive peer review related communications.
The Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy stated at their January 17, 2019 meeting that:
- Preparation is not a service by itself that subjects a firm to peer review;
- You can find the minutes by clicking here; and
- If you wish to resign from the peer review program because you fall into this category, please either go to PRIMA at prima.aicpa.org to resign your firm or put it in writing (email is fine) to Aury Sanchez at firstname.lastname@example.org that you wish to resign because you only prepare preparation statements.
What is the Peer Review Acceptance Board?
The Peer Review Acceptance Board (RAB) is a voluntary committee that serves as the last step in the peer review process. These volunteer CPAs with a variety of experience and expertise use their skills to examine each completed peer review and determine if the firm has passed their peer review, if they need to refresh their skills in certain areas or if the firm failed the review.
Interested in Joining our Peer Review Acceptance Board Committee?
Contact our Senior Peer Review Manager, Aury Sanchez, at email@example.com or 617.303.2408 to join.