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Dec 4, 2019

Steven A. Menges (AICPA & CIMA, New York) presents this special compilation of interviews from's new "Modernising Your Practice" audio and content series. There's plenty of international relevance in this in-depth collection of best practices from the US accounting profession. Ellen Goria, (Associate Director – Global Professional Ethics at the AICPA’s Professional Ethics Division) discusses the hot topic of firms offering technology services in addition to audit and other assurance services. Plus, Stan Sterna, JD from Aon and Sarah Ference from CNA discuss challenges (and insights) around liability risk in engagement letters. Stan then discusses privity in third party audit claims, including reasons a firm may face a lawsuit in this area, and tips to decrease firm risk and limit liability.

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· Ellen Goria, Associate Director of Global Professional Ethics at the AICPA’s Professional Ethics Division

· Sarah Ference, CPA, Risk Control Director, Accountants Professional Liability, CNA

· Stan Sterna, JD, Vice President, Aon Insurance Services, Professional Firms



1) Hosting Services Interpretation, Portals and More – A Discussion. (Ellen Goria interviewed by Steven A. Menges, Product Team – Assurance,

  • high level discussion about various non-attest technology related services.
  • new guidance related to technology hosting services from the AICPA’s Professional Ethics Executive Committee (better known as PEEC).
  • the impact of the hosting services interpretation (effective on July 1, 2019) and how it effects assessments of impairment of independence at firms.

2) Engagement Letters: Foundational Best Practices. (Stan Sterna, JD from Aon and Sarah Ference from CNA. Interviewed by Matt Towers, Product Lead – Assurance, )

  • challenges around liability risk in engagement letters.
  • engagement letter scope.
  • key insights and data around the most common reasons a firm faces a lawsuit in this area.
  • steps firms can take to minimise this risk.

3) Privity in Third-party Audit Claims. (Stan Sterna, JD from Aon interviewed by Matt Towers).

  • the implications of privity on third-party legal claims against accounting firms.
  • definition of Privity.
  • how to provide context around when and how it might apply in a lawsuit.
  • steps firms can take to decrease the risk of third-party claims and to limit liability to a third party.



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