The final word on SSVS-1 compliance: Check your local laws

BVWireIssue #88-4
January 27, 2010

“I respectfully disagree…that SSVS-1 only applies to CPAs who are members of the AICPA,” writes Ted Israel (Eckhoff Acountancy, San Francisco), responding to our coverage of the California Devries case and comments in last week’s BVWire™. “The notion that non-member CPAs are exempt from the AICPA’s standards is a fallacy,” he says. For example, California accountancy regulations require all state licensees to comply with “all applicable professional standards,” including but not limited to generally accepted accounting principles and auditing standards. The AICPA promulgates the latter, Israel points out, and SSVS-1 falls squarely into the professional standards category. “I doubt that California is unique,” he says.

Indeed, we had subscribers from Colorado (Ron Seigneur), Massachusetts (David Goodman), Texas (S. Todd Burchett), Florida and New Jersey (Linda Trugman), Utah (Carl Steffan), North Carolina (Dennis Newman), Louisiana (Jason MacMorran), Michigan (Christine Baker), Alabama (Robin Taylor), and Arizona (Kevin Yeanoplos), send the same important message:

Please make sure your readers note that SSVS-1 may be binding on CPAs whether they belong to the AICPA or not, depending on a state’s particular licensing laws and accountancy regulations.

Of the current 55 licensing jurisdictions (all 50 states plus D.C., the Virgin Islands, Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Marianna Islands), the vast majority—perhaps as many as 45, require some form of compliance with the AICPA Code of Conduct and/or its professional standards. “Some appear to have interesting carve-outs and references to other rules,” Seigneur notes, “so this is another relevant aspect of compliance, and something that needs clarification within each jurisdiction.” Members of the AICPA/FVS are currently researching the issue and its notable subtleties. In the meantime, “I commend your readership to read SSVS-1 thoroughly and know their states accountancy regulations and family law case law,” Israel says. Not only to ensure individual compliance—but also to use when reviewing the work of opposing CPA/experts.
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