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  • 09/01/2021 10:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Illinois CPA Society has released the results of a study they conducted on the CPA Pipeline.  For the full report go to:

  • 08/11/2021 9:04 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    August 10, 2021

    By Ken Tysiac

    Technical Question and Answer (TQA) guidance issued Tuesday by the AICPA addresses how a recipient should account for a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) or a Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) grant issued under COVID-19 relief programs administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

    Q&A Section 5270.01 provides nonauthoritative guidance that applies to not-for-profits, which are eligible only for SVOG; and private business (for-profit) entities, which are eligible for both SVOG and RRF grants. Publicly traded entities are not eligible for either of these grants.

    SVOG and RRF grants provide federal funds to entities that were hard-hit by government shutdowns resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Grant recipients are not required to repay the funding if funds are used for eligible uses by the dates specified by each respective grant program.

    The TQA suggests that for-profit business entities consider accounting for these grants by applying by analogy the guidance described in one of three models:

    • International Accounting Standard (IAS) 20, Accounting for Government Grants and Disclosure of Government Assistance;
    • FASB Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) 958-605, Not-for-Profit Entities — Revenue Recognition; or
    • FASB ASC 450-30, Contingencies — Gain Contingencies.

    The TQA describes each of these accounting models in further detail and provides guidance on how to select the appropriate model.

    Not-for-profit entities should account for government grants in accordance with the “contributions received” subsections of FASB ASC 958-605, according to the TQA. That model requires entities to first determine if a contribution is conditional or unconditional.

    According to the TQA, the payments received under these grants would be considered conditional contributions. Thus, contribution revenue would be recognized only to the extent that eligible expenses have been incurred at that date.

    Not-for-profits will need to evaluate their individual facts and circumstances to determine the extent to which conditions have been substantially met at a given reporting date.

    The AICPA issued the guidance because it was anticipating questions from practitioners.

    “There is no explicit guidance within U.S. GAAP on the accounting for government grants to business entities,” Yelena Mishkevich, CPA, CGMA, senior manager–Accounting Standards for the AICPA, said in a news release. “Based on our experience with the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program, we anticipate that some audit and accounting professionals — especially those who have limited experience with government grants — will have questions. As such, we are trying to get out front and answer their questions via this TQA.”

    AICPA experts discuss the latest on the SVOG, RRF, and other small business aid programs during a virtual town hall held every other week. The webcasts, which provide CPE credit, are free to AICPA members and $39 for nonmembers. Go to the AICPA Town Hall Series webpage for more information and to register. Recordings of Town Hall events are available to view for free on AICPA TV.

    The AICPA’s Paycheck Protection Program Resources page houses resources and tools produced by the AICPA to help address the economic impact of the coronavirus.

    AICPA members can learn more about the SVOG on the webpage “Understanding the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program.” AICPA members also can access a detailed summary of the RRF.

    For more news and reporting on the coronavirus and how CPAs can handle challenges related to the outbreak, visit the JofA’s coronavirus resources page or subscribe to our email alerts for breaking news.

  • 07/26/2021 9:06 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    July 23, 2021

    By Ken Tysiac

    Some confusion was lifted last week for practitioners who perform single audits of health care entities, when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) clarified rules for single audits of nonfederal entities that received pandemic-related assistance from the Provider Relief Fund (PRF).

    Over the last several weeks, HHS has established in its PRF FAQs that the reporting in the PRF Reporting Portal will be based on when PRF payments were received. HHS also has clarified that PRF recipients must only use payments for eligible expenses including services rendered, and lost revenues during the period of availability (also known as the "period of performance"), as outlined in the table below:

    Provider Relief Fund period of performance table

    Information included in the newly released HHS FAQs states that nonfederal entities will include PRF expenditures and/or lost revenues in the schedule of expenditures for federal awards (SEFA) for fiscal years ending on or after June 30, 2021. The AICPA Governmental Audit Quality Center (GAQC) has confirmed with HHS that the new guidance supersedes previous guidance in the 2020 OMB Compliance Supplement Addendum that indicated PRF reporting was to begin for fiscal years ending Dec. 31, 2020, and later.

    • For a fiscal year end of June 30, 2021, and through fiscal year ends of Dec. 30, 2021, recipients are to report on the SEFA, the total expenditures and/or lost revenues from the Period 1 report submission to the PRF Reporting Portal.
    • For a fiscal year end of Dec. 31, 2021, and through fiscal year ends of June 29, 2022, recipients are to report on the SEFA, the total expenditures and/or lost revenues from both the Period 1 and Period 2 report submissions to the PRF Reporting Portal.
    • For fiscal year ends on or after June 30, 2022, SEFA reporting guidance related to Period 3 and Period 4 will be provided at a later date.

    Therefore, PRF expenditures and/or lost revenues will be excluded from the scope of single audits of nonfederal entities with fiscal years ending Dec. 31, 2020, through June 29, 2021. For those audits, PRF expenditures and/or lost revenues will not be included on the SEFA.

    Also, according to the FAQs, a nonfederal entity's SEFA reporting is linked to its report submissions to the PRF Reporting Portal. Therefore, the timing of SEFA reporting of PRF payments will be as follows:

    The GAQC also expects that the 2021 Compliance Supplement will advise that since the PRF report is to be tested as part of the reporting type of compliance requirement, auditors should consider delaying the start of the compliance audit of the PRF program until recipients have completed the PRF report.

    The GAQC still is trying to determine the impact and relevance of the above guidance on not-for-profit recipients of PRF funding and will communicate any developments as soon as they are known.

    More information on PRF implications for single audit is available in a recently issued GAQC Alert; more single audit information can be found at the GAQC website.

  • 07/23/2021 9:05 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    July 21, 2021, 11:38 AM CDT

    By Laura Strickler

    WASHINGTON — The federal government has forgiven $394.6 billion in more than 4 million loans to businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), according to new data published by a group of internal federal watchdogs.

    More than a million of those forgiven Covid relief loans were to companies with just one employee, at a cost of $12.8 billion, or an average of about $11,497 per job, according to an analysis of the data by NBC News.

    The data was released Wednesday by the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC), a group made up of 22 inspectors general from different federal agencies that monitors all Covid relief spending for the government.

    In total, according to the data, the Small Business Administration provided 11.7 million loans nationwide totaling more than $798 billion. The most recent batch of loans was sent out on June 30, and no more money is currently available under the program.

    The top franchisees to get funds overall were General Motors franchises at $1.4 billion, according to the newly published data. Following that were McDonald's franchisees, which received $1.3 billion in funds, and Subway stores, which got $672.9 million.

    The vast majority of companies told the federal government they used the money for payroll — $776 billion out of the $798 billion disbursed. As of June 30, businesses said that PPP funding allowed them to retain 90.3 million jobs.

    On June 30, when Covid cases and unemployment had declined and vaccines were abundant, the federal government sent out $33 million in PPP loans to 62 businesses that reported they had a total of 4,469 employees.

  • 07/20/2021 9:42 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    July 19, 2021

    By Ken Tysiac

    FASB issued a standard Monday that is designed to improve the board’s lease accounting rules related to a lessor’s accounting for certain leases with variable lease payments.

    Under Topic 842, Leases, a lessor may be required to recognize a selling loss at lease commencement (day-one loss) for a sales-type lease with variable payments even if the lessor expects that the arrangement will be profitable overall.

    This accounting outcome results in financial reporting that does not accurately represent the underlying economics either at lease commencement or over the lease term.

    The board addressed this issue by amending lessor lease classification requirements. A lessor now is required to classify and account for a lease with variable payments as an operating lease if:

    • The lease would have been classified as a sales-type lease or a direct financing lease; and
    • The lessor would have otherwise recognized a day-one loss.

    A day-one loss or profit is not recognized under accounting for operating leases, therefore FASB expects that the resulting financial reporting would more accurately represent the economics underlying the lease and provide better information to users of financial statements.

    — Ken Tysiac ( is the JofA’s editorial director.

  • 07/07/2021 11:37 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    July 1, 2021

    By Brad Polizzano, J.D., LL.M., New York City, and Mark Heroux, J.D., Chicago

    Editor: Valrie Chambers, CPA, Ph.D.

    The IRS and other agencies continue to expand efforts to enforce reporting compliance for taxpayers who transact in virtual currency. This discussion summarizes key recent developments to assist clients with proper reporting on 2020 tax returns and other filings.

    2020 Form 1040

    The 2020 Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, asks the following question on page 1: "At any time during 2020, did you receive, sell, send, exchange, or otherwise acquire any financial interest in any virtual currency?" The question appears underneath the name and address fields.

    On the 2019 Form 1040, this same question (except for the year) appeared on Schedule 1, Additional Income and Adjustments to Income. The IRS moved the question to page 1 of Form 1040, presumably to require taxpayers who do not otherwise complete Schedule 1to address the question for the 2020 tax year.

    This revision is a strong signal that the IRS considers virtual currency in the mainstream and is serious about enforcing reporting compliance. Note that the IRS continues to use the phrase "virtual currency" rather than cryptocurrency or cryptoasset.

    The IRS defines "virtual currency" as a digital representation of value, other than a representation of the U.S. dollar or a foreign currency ("real currency"), that functions as a unit of account, a store of value, and/or a medium of exchange (Rev. Ruls. 2014-21 and 2019-24).

    For purposes of reporting on Form 1040, a transaction involving virtual currency includes, but is not limited to:

    • The receipt or transfer of virtual currency for free (without providing any consideration), including from what the IRS defines as an airdrop;
    • An exchange of virtual currency for goods or services;
    • A sale of virtual currency;
    • An exchange of virtual currency for other property, including for another virtual currency; and
    • A disposition of a financial interest in virtual currency.

    A transaction involving virtual currency does not include the holding of virtual currency in a wallet or account, or the transfer of virtual currency from one wallet or account to another wallet or account under the same ownership or control.

    Furthermore, if during 2020 a taxpayer purchased virtual currency with real currency and had no other virtual currency transactions during the year, then, according to the IRS, the taxpayer does not have to answer yes to the question on the 2020 Form 1040 (IRS webpage, "Frequently Asked Questions on Virtual Currency Transactions," Q&A5 (March 2, 2021), available at This position seems inconsistent with the plain language in the question "did you . . . otherwise acquire any financial interest in any virtual currency?" A conservative position would be to check yes for the acquisition of any virtual currency. IRS FAQs do not constitute law.

    FBAR reporting

    In December 2020, Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced in Notice 2020-2 its plans to propose amendments to regulations under the Bank Secrecy Act. FinCEN intends to include a foreign account holding virtual currency as a type of account reportable on an FBAR (FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR)).

    At this time, FinCEN has not yet issued those proposed regulations. It is unclear whether the proposed regulations would be effective for 2020. It is also unclear whether the definition will include virtual currency held in "cold storage" wallets under self-control on a hard drive, as well as assets held on a virtual currency exchange located outside the United States. Also unclear is how the value of the accounts should be measured for FBAR reporting purposes, as the assets are not held in U.S. dollars.

    Reporting requirements for banks and money services businesses

    On Dec. 18, 2020, FinCEN proposed regulations that would expand the application of U.S. anti-money laundering rules to virtual currency. If finalized, the regulations would impose reporting and recordkeeping requirements on banks and money services businesses (MSBs), including many virtual asset service providers, that facilitate transactions in convertible virtual currencies and legal tender digital assets with self-hosted wallets and hosted wallets held in jurisdictions that FinCEN identifies as of primary money laundering concern.

    More specifically, the two main components of the proposed regulations require banks and MSBs to (1) report convertible virtual currency (CVC) or digital assets with legal tender status (LTDA) exceeding $10,000; and (2) keep records of a customer's CVC or LTDA transactions and counterparties, including verifying the identity of their customers, if a counterparty uses an unhosted wallet or otherwise covered wallet and the transaction exceeds $3,000.

    More to come

    The messaging from the federal government is clear: Reporting rules for virtual currency will be many, will change, and will require practitioners to stay ahead of the curve to properly advise their clients.


    Valrie Chambers, CPA, Ph.D., is an associate professor of accounting at Stetson University in Celebration, Fla. Mark Heroux, J.D., is a tax principal and leader of the Tax Advocacy and Controversy Services practice at Baker Tilly in Chicago, and Brad Polizzano, J.D., LL.M., is a senior manager at Baker Tilly in New York City. Mr. Heroux is a member of the AICPA Tax Practice & Procedures Committee. For more information on this article, contact

  • 06/18/2021 3:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Kudos to Deloitte for their notable investment in Diversity and Equality including a contribution to the ND CPA Society to be used on DE&I Initiatives!

    NEW YORK, June 2, 2021—Deloitte announced today the establishment of Making Accounting Diverse and Equitable (MADE), a commitment to generate more advisory, auditing, and tax career opportunities and leadership pathways for the next generation of certified public accountants (CPAs). MADE represents a bold vision for the accounting profession, both in terms of increasing racial and ethnic diversity, and helping students of color see and realize their future in business through the prism and possibilities of accounting.

    I couldn’t be more hopeful about the future of the accounting profession—racial and ethnic diversity is an essential part of that future. Accounting is a fascinating career, providing strong job security, high income levels, and many avenues to leadership.

    - Lara Abrash, CEO of Deloitte’s US Audit & Assurance business

    No single act will help create the racial and ethnic parity that is essential to the profession, business, and society at large. MADE combines both financial support and the depth of resources an organization of Deloitte’s size can bring to attract diverse individuals into the accounting field and support them as they chart their pathway from high school to business professional to leadership in the profession. Deloitte is committed to a comprehensive strategy to address major barriers faced by racially and ethnically diverse students and to grow the population of diverse talent, thus helping to transform the future of the accounting profession.

    Included in Deloitte’s $75 million commitment is the Deloitte Foundation Accounting Scholars program. Over the next six years, Deloitte and the Deloitte Foundation expect to fund $30 million in scholarships to students pursuing a fifth-year master’s program in accounting from an accredited college/university program in the United States, in an effort to increase representation of racially and ethnically diverse students in these programs. Scholarships from the Deloitte Foundation will cover 100% of tuition at participating universities with a mutual desire to increase diversity in master’s programs, and, in turn, the accounting profession. Applications for the 2022 school year will be collected in the fall of 2021 by participating universities with scholarships granted in late 2021.

    The remaining $45 million of the strategy includes the following key elements:

    • Stride CPA readiness program: Deloitte seeks to address barriers faced by professionals recruited through various schools or organizations when taking the CPA exam by supporting their preparation with real-time access to and instruction from experienced CPA tutors, providing up to 13-weeks of fully-paid time, the majority of which is dedicated to studying, and covering exam costs. The inaugural Stride CPA readiness program will unfold this summer for a cohort of the Fall 2021 starting class.
    • Deloitte Academy: Accounting Edition program: Deloitte is committed to inspiring and preparing youth for long-term success by collaborating with high schools, colleges, state CPA societies, and various non-profits to bring accounting to life for thousands of historically underrepresented and underserved youth across the country.
    • Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU)/Hispanic-serving institutions (HSI) strategy: Building upon Deloitte’s existing relationships with HBCUs and HSIs, Deloitte and the Deloitte Foundation will support faculty and administration with additional funding for curriculum development focused on the evolving skillsets needed by accountants.
    • Climb Fellowship program: Deloitte recognizes that Black and Hispanic/Latinx professionals experience different challenges as they progress within their careers. With the goal of developing the next generation of accounting and business leaders, Deloitte is collaborating with academia to launch a fellowship program targeted at bringing mid-career accounting professionals across industries together to create a community and help position them for senior roles within their organizations.
    • MADE working group: Racially and ethnically diverse business, academic, and community leaders bring a vast array of experiences and individual passions to advance equity and inclusion. Deloitte has formed a working group of these individuals to bring leading external perspectives, challenge our thinking, and create a forum to engage with one another.

    While these efforts specifically focus on the broader accounting profession, they complement and build on Deloitte’s already stated goal of increasing the number of Black and Hispanic/Latinx professionals in its overall US workforce by 50% by 2025.

    Key Quotes

    We are very excited about this next step in our path towards racial diversity. In order to address the disparity, conscious and deliberate effort must be taken. We know that unless we tackle the underlying problems, the best of intentions will not get the profession to where it needs to be or position youth of color to be part of the next generation of business leaders. Deloitte is uniquely positioned and will be a leader in addressing this complex and transformative issue facing the profession.

    - Thalia Smith, Audit & Assurance partner

    Accounting has long been considered the language of business which creates opportunities for those who speak it. In an increasingly complex business world, this skill is and will continue to be more valuable than ever. The representation of racially and ethnically diverse CPAs in our profession is unacceptably low and bringing these voices to the conversation requires decisive, bold investments.

    - Lara Abrash, CEO of Deloitte’s US Audit & Assurance business

    As leaders in the accounting profession, I believe it’s our responsibility to enable the change we want to see—in this case, taking concrete steps to create racial and ethnic diversity. I am optimistic about the impact this program will have on those pursuing a career in accounting and excited about creating pathways for the next generation of diverse business leaders.

    - Steve Kimble, chair and CEO of Deloitte of Tax LLP

    At Deloitte, we know that teams made up of diverse, inclusive professionals are more powerful, innovative, and productive. We’re thrilled to make this contribution to help foster diversity in future generations of accounting professionals and ensure those from all backgrounds thrive in this profession we care so deeply about.

    - Joe Ucuzoglu, CEO, Deloitte US

    About Deloitte
    Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including nearly 90% of the Fortune 500® and more than 7,000 private companies. Our people come together for the greater good and work across the industry sectors that drive and shape today’s marketplace—delivering measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to see challenges as opportunities to transform and thrive, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and a healthier society. Deloitte is proud to be part of the largest global professional services network serving our clients in the markets that are most important to them. Building on more than 175 years of service, our network of member firms spans more than 150 countries and territories. Learn how Deloitte’s more than 330,000 people worldwide connect for impact at

    About the Deloitte Foundation
    The Deloitte Foundation, founded in 1928, is a not-for-profit organization that supports education in the U.S. through a variety of initiatives that help develop the next generation of diverse business leaders, and their influencers, and promote excellence in teaching, research and curriculum innovation. The Foundation sponsors an array of national programs relevant to a variety of professional services, benefiting high school students, undergraduates, graduate students and educators. Learn more about the Deloitte Foundation.

  • 05/20/2021 3:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    May 19, 2021

    By Jeff Drew

    The Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) will officially stop accepting applications Monday, May 24, at 8 p.m. ET, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced.

    While the application window won’t close until Monday, it realistically remains open only to the smallest providers of on-site food and drink. The SBA revealed last week that the RRF had received applications seeking more than twice the $28.6 billion allocated by Congress to fund grants to restaurants, bars, and other eligible businesses hard-hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    In a news release Tuesday night, the SBA said that the RRF program has received more than 303,000 applications, requesting a total of nearly $70 billion, but that more than $220 million remained available from $500 million set aside for eating establishments that posted 2019 annual revenue of no more than $50,000.

    Food and beverage providers that meet $50,000 revenue standard are encouraged to apply through SBA-recognized point-of-sale vendors or directly via the SBA online application portal, the agency said.

    Congress created the RRF to provide food and beverage providers with grants equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss, up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. The funds can be used for eligible expenses, such as payroll and rent.

    The vast majority of RRF funds appear destined for eligible businesses owned by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. The American Rescue Plan Act, P.L. 117-2, which created the RRF, mandated that those businesses receive priority review for the first 21 days of the program, which opened May 3.

    During the first two weeks of the program, the SBA received applications from more than:

    • 122,000 women business owners.
    • 14,000 veteran business owners.
    • 71,000 economically and socially disadvantaged individuals.

    Those groups represent 57% of the RRF applications received by the SBA and the vast majority of the $6 billion in grants approved by the SBA for 38,000 applications.

    AICPA members can access a detailed summary of the RRF.

    AICPA experts discuss the latest on the PPP and other small business aid programs during a virtual town hall held every other week. The webcasts, which provide CPE credit, are free to AICPA members and $39 for nonmembers. Go to the AICPA Town Hall Series webpage for more information and to register. Recordings of Town Hall events are available to view for free on AICPA TV.

    The AICPA’s Paycheck Protection Program Resources page houses resources and tools produced by the AICPA to help address the economic impact of the coronavirus.

    For more news and reporting on the coronavirus and how CPAs can handle challenges related to the outbreak, visit the JofA’s coronavirus resources page or subscribe to our email alerts for breaking PPP news.

    — Jeff Drew ( is a JofA senior editor.

  • 05/12/2021 1:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    May 10, 2021

    Deetra B. Watson CPA, CGMA

    We’ve seen historic levels of federal funding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Legislation such as the CARES Act and the recent American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) provided billions of dollars to American businesses, state and local governments and not-for-profits. While this funding has been a huge relief, especially for nonprofits, it causes complications for a lot of recipients.

    When a non-federal entity expends $750,000 or more of federal awards in a fiscal year, a single audit is required. While not all CARES Act recipients need a single audit and we don’t know the single audit ramifications of ARPA, here is a nonauthoritative list of the new programsthat require single audits. Plus, many existing federal programs received significant new funding that will be subject to single audit.

    Many COVID relief fund recipients have never had a single audit before and may not know all the requirements associated with this type of funding. Your existing clients may need a single audit for the first time. You may begin working with new clients who have never had a financial statement audit before. Here are a few tips for how you can help your clients through the single audit process.

    Ask clients what funding they’ve received.

    At my firm, we’re asking all our clients what type of funding they’ve received in the past year. In some cases, we’ve asked to see a copy of their grant agreements so we can help them identify what’s needed on their end, and then on our end as the auditor. Additionally, we send emails to clients with news related to the funding they’ve received. We also update our website with the most current information. The sooner our clients know about important and relevant information, the better prepared they are and the better audit we can perform — so it’s a win-win.

    Encourage your clients to be proactive and ask any questions about funding they’ve received. For example, the controller at one of my clients, the North Carolina Aquarium Society, let me know once she learned her organization would receive relief funding. She knew this funding had stipulations but didn’t know yet that a single audit would be required. She found out about the single audit early in the process. But so many other organizations were unaware of all the requirements until after they had already received these funds.

    Communicate openly with your clients.

    This is a time when you need to have heightened communication with your clients. My firm has found that our clients have a lot of different interpretations of the funding guidelines. As an auditor, you should clarify that your clients truly understand the guidelines for the type of funding they received and make sure they have procedures in place to comply.

    Some of the COVID funding programs, such as the Paycheck Protection Program, do not require a single audit. But clients need to know — even if they’re under the $750,000 threshold — that there are still administrative requirements even if a single audit is not needed. For instance, the funds may be restricted for certain purposes, so make sure your clients fully understand the guidelines for the funds they have received.

    Be aware of audit quality concerns.

    Some first-time single audit clients may be concerned with costs. They’re required to get an additional audit, which will require more work and will cost more than other audits they may have received in the past. Some clients may worry about spending too much on the audit. But, in this situation, they need to make sure they’re getting the highest-quality audit possible.

    As auditors, we have a duty to the public to perform high-quality audits. The public relies on trusted audited information to ensure their tax dollars are spent appropriately. Because of this, audit quality should always be at the forefront on every auditor’s mind.

    Because of the complexity of single audits and the specialized knowledge needed on the rules and compliance requirements, if you are an auditor who doesn’t perform them, you should Consider whether you should even accept a single audit engagement. You can still perform the financial statement audit, but other options for the single audit might be to refer your clients to someone else in your organization with the appropriate experience or to another firm that specializes in single audits. Alternatively, if you have some experience but not much, you could consider engaging another firm to perform a pre-issuance review or other types of consultative assistance to help ensure a high-quality audit. You can use the AICPA’s Peer Reviewer Search tool to find an auditor to refer your clients to or to look for consultative assistance. Additionally, the GAQC has a listing of its member firms with contact information on its Find A Member page.

    If you choose to take on a single audit, there is learning available to help you gain the fundamental knowledge you need.

    Make time for continuing education.

    Lifelong learning is a large part of the accounting profession. My firm has always been big on training and CPE, so we’re making sure that all of our staff gets the required training for their specialization areas. (For instance, as generally accepted government auditing standards (GAGAS) require, auditors who perform single audits must maintain their competency through CPE hours and topics listed in the 2018 Yellow Book.)

    Regarding the new funding in the past year, we pay close attention to any sort of training that federal agencies provide. Additionally, the information we get from AICPA’s GAQC, in particular its COVID-19 Resource page, has been great. I’d also suggest talking to other firms on what resources they may have regarding single audits and COVID relief funds. It’s useful to speak to your peers about what they’re doing and learn from their experiences.

    The pandemic has drastically changed work in many industries, and the accounting profession is no different. My firm has performed more single audits this year, and this is likely happening at other public accounting firms across the country.

    Keeping up with all these changes while continuously striving to be that trusted adviser for your clients is tough. In these times, it’s especially important to be mindful of staff well-being. Organizations need to provide support to the staff to help them remain engaged and avoid burnout. Focusing on well-being can enable staff to do their jobs better, which allows them to better serve their clients and, ultimately, contributes to enhancing audit quality.

  • 05/10/2021 8:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    May 6, 2021

    By Ken Tysiac

    Thomas Sneeringer, CPA, likes to say that major program determination within a single audit engagement requires strict adherence to the Uniform Guidance rules and formulas even when they don’t seem to make perfect sense.

    For instance, as auditors scrutinize the pandemic-related aid that organizations have received, it might seem that all this new funding, regardless of amounts expended, should be audited as major programs.

    Sneeringer said that’s not necessarily the case, especially for the smaller programs.

    “I hate to say this about the process, but auditors can get into trouble when they try to use common sense,” he said. “It’s really about being true to the formula, being true to the guidance, and let that walk you until you reach the conclusions.”

    Sneeringer is a partner at RSM US LLP in Gaithersburg, Md., who will serve as a co-presenter for a single audit session at the AICPA & CIMA Not-for-Profit Industry Conference, which is scheduled for June 7–9 online. The conference will include a number of sessions devoted to providing useful information on single audits, and Sneeringer is presenting a case study that will serve as a discussion guide for many important techniques and considerations that practitioners need to use.

    Critical to the correct determination of major programs in a single audit is getting a complete and accurate Schedule of Expenditures of Federal Awards (SEFA) from the client.

    The SEFA for Sneeringer’s presentation (simplified for purposes of illustration) contains the following federal programs and amounts for a Dec. 31, 2020, fiscal-year-end client:

    Federal programs and amounts

    Despite the existence of new coronavirus relief money from the HIV Emergency Project Grants and CRF programs, according to the guidance in the 2020 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Compliance Supplement and related Addendum, the determination of major programs does not change for the single audit of this client.

    “A lot of auditors think, ‘There’s CARES Act money. Of course it’s high-risk. We’re going to have to audit it.’ Not necessarily,” Sneeringer said. “There’s still a process, a series of required steps we go through, given this mix of awards and knowing what’s been audited in the past and what hasn’t been audited.”

    When total federal expenditures are less than $25 million, a Type A program is one with expenditures of $750,000 or more; the others are Type B programs. A Type A program that has not been audited in the past two audits is considered high-risk and would be considered a major program to be audited.

    A Type A program also is high-risk if in the last audit period it was identified with a material weakness, had a modified opinion, or had known or likely questioned costs of more than 5% of the federal expenditures for that program.

    In the example, the CRF program is brand-new funding that has never been audited before, and at $800,000, it is a Type A program because its expenditures exceed the $750,000 threshold.

    “So we know this is going to be a major program,” Sneeringer said. “It’s a Type A program, never been audited before, 100%, take it to the bank.”

    The Research and Development Cluster is a Type A program as a whole, and the Nursing Research is considered part of that Type A program for single audit purposes even though its funding on its own is just $300,000.

    The Violence Against Women program, meanwhile, is a Type A program because its expenditures are $1 million. In the example, the audit of the program last year found a significant deficiency in its internal controls.

    Despite that, the program still isn’t guaranteed to be high-risk because a material weakness, not a significant deficiency, is the threshold for high risk.

    “A significant deficiency doesn’t get you automatic high risk, you still have to look at the other required steps for risk determination in the Uniform Guidance,” Sneeringer said.

    The HIV Emergency Project Grants expenditures are just $650,000. So, even though it’s new, it’s a Type B program and doesn’t automatically need to be audited. Instead, the Uniform Guidance has the auditor use a formula to identify how many high-risk Type B programs need to be audited (based on the number of low-risk Type A programs) and then the auditor goes through a risk assessment process to determine which high-risk Type B program will be tested as a major program. That determination depends on several factors defined in the Uniform Guidance as well as auditor judgment.

    These are just a few of the nuances related to single audits. Sneeringer said they’re difficult to learn, especially when an auditor performs just a small number of these audits in a year. He encourages those practitioners to be extremely careful on these engagements, or to refer them to an auditor with more experience on single audits.

    “I’ve been doing it for 30-plus years now, and I’m still learning new things, and I have a heavy concentration of doing these engagements in my client deck,” he said. “And I’m still learning. If you are doing one, two, maybe five or less during the year, with the nuances you can make a wrong turn and, before you know it, you have a substandard audit.”

    He encourages those who do perform these audits to adhere to a few basic steps:

    • Do your homework. “You need a thorough understanding of the steps involved,” he said.
    • Spend sufficient time planning the audit. “If you properly plan, then you likely have a much better outcome than if you didn’t plan at all or didn’t properly plan,” he said.
    • Follow the Uniform Guidance, even if it seems counterintuitive. “Work your way through the formula, and don’t make presumptions,” he said.

    It’s also important to remember that things related to single audits are constantly changing and evolving because of the pandemic. There have been several new rounds of pandemic funding in the last several months, and there has been discussion that OMB may temporarily revise the major program selection rules to ensure that certain pandemic funding be selected for audit as major programs. However, it is uncertain at this time whether that will occur.

    Auditors should be alert to any potential changes to the process for their 2021 audits. To stay up to date, follow the activity of the AICPA Governmental Audit Quality Center.

    — Ken Tysiac ( is the JofA’s editorial director.

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