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Preparing for the Review

When should my firm’s Peer Review be completed?
Your peer review should be completed by the due date based on:

  1. Letter acknowledging enrollment in the Peer Review Program
  2. The committee acceptance letter related to your firm’s last peer review or 
  3. Page one of the Information Required for Scheduling Reviews form
Your review documents need to be received by the administering entity (INCPAS) by the due date.
  • Start your review two to three months prior to the due date. For example, if your review due date is between January and April 2013, start in September or October 2012 to ensure completion before busy season.

What if my firm cannot complete its review by the due date?
Write a letter to the administering entity (INCPAS) to request an extension at least 60 days before your due date. Explain why your firm cannot have its review on time and offer an alternative date. The administering entity considers extension requests on a case-by-case basis.

Government Auditing Standards require a firm to have an external quality control review every three years. This period begins with the date the firm starts its first audit. Subsequent reviews should be completed within three years after the issuance of the prior report. If your firm performs governmental audits, remember to take these requirements and potential changes into account when you request an extension.

What period should my firm's Peer Review cover?
The review covers one year. Engagements selected for review in a system review would be those ending during the year under review. For attest engagements, the selection should be those with report dates during the year under review. If the current years’ engagement is not completed, the prior years’ engagement should be reviewed. If the subsequent years’ engagement has been completed, the peer review team should consider whether the more recently completed engagement should be reviewed.

Firms usually keep the same peer review year-end. If the prior peer review year-end was not convenient, request a permanent year-end change that is more natural to you and the administering entity. Your letter should describe reasons for your request.

How do I estimate my firm's accounting and auditing hours for scheduling purposes?
The peer reviewer will ask for an estimate of the number of accounting and auditing hours you expect to perform during the previous 12 months. Make sure the estimate is a fair representation. Only include the time it took to prepare and review the financial statements. Don’t include “bookkeeping” time.

When should I contact my System Review Team Captain and what will he or she want from me?
A system review team comprises one or more individuals. One member of the review team is designated the team captain. The team captain will ask for:

  • The completed quality control questionnaire
  • Relevant manuals, checklists, etc., that your firm uses in its practice
  • Summary information on the nature of services provided, clients served, industry concentrations and number of accounting and auditing hours
  • Personnel statistics names, positions and years of experience
  • A brief history of the firm and the number and location of offices
  • Other pertinent information

The team captain will then make a preliminary selection of the offices and engagements he or she intends to review and notify you.

How should my firm prepare for a subsequent Peer Review?
In preparing for its next review, your firm should:

  • Read the report, findings and recommendations in the prior letter of comments and your firm’s response, and take actions you promised to take
  • Perform on-going monitoring procedures to make sure prior deficiencies if any have been corrected
  • Prepare the appropriate quality control policies and procedures questionnaire

For questions about the Peer Review Program, contact the Peer Review Department at (317) 726-5000 or e-mail


Accounting Sales Practice