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Assurance Services 101: New Tool for Providers and Users of Business Info

Business-meetingImagine this scenario: On the hunt for additional funds to jumpstart their business, a potential client comes to you. The CEO has just visited the local bank, but the bank manager will not agree to lend the needed funds without assurance on the business’ ability to generate profits. Now, the potential client is at your doorstep asking if you can provide assurance.  

“Perfect,” you say. Your firm provides assurance services that instill confidence and assist clients in making insightful decisions. Here’s the thing: your prospect has no background on assurance services. Where do you begin to explain?

I’m sure you don’t even have to imagine this scenario. Many of you have lived it. Explaining assurance services in plain English to a client or potential client can sometimes be tricky. Helping them understand the assurance process and the factors that differentiate CPA-provided services is key.

That’s why the AICPA’s Assurance Services Executive Committee has published Assurance Services: A White Paper for Providers and Users of Business Information, to explain the value of CPA-provided assurance services.

The new white paper explains:

  • the importance of reliable information
  • what assurance services are
  • how confidence can be achieved through assurance services
  • when to seek third-party assurance
  • the range of assurance services available

As well as the CPA’s role in

  • maintaining objectivity and integrity
  • providing strong analytical skills
  • measuring various subject matter against criteria
  • using processes for testing the reliability of data and clarity in reporting results
  • adhering to professional standards including state accountancy laws, the Code of Ethics, quality control and service-specific standards

In order to convey these attributes to your clients and potential clients, I encourage you to download and share Assurance Services: A White Paper for Providers and Users of Business Information. Help them better understand assurance services and how CPAs can assist in attaining and providing the reliable, credible information needed for their stakeholders—lenders and investors—to feel more confident about making big picture decisions.

Erin Mackler, CPA, Senior Manager - Business Reporting, Assurance & Advisory Services, American Institute of CPAs. Erin is the liaison for the AICPA Assurance Services Executive Committee and the Trust Information Integrity Task Force. In that capacity she assisted in the development of the SOC 2 Guide Reporting on Controls at a Service Organization Relevant to Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, or Privacy and SOC-related initiatives.

Business meeting image via Shutterstock

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