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ET Section 100

INDEPENDENCE, INTEGRITY, AND OBJECTIVITY

ET Section 101

Independence

.01

Rule 101–Independence. A member in public practice shall be independent in the performance of professional services as required by standards promulgated by bodies designated by Council.

[As adopted January 12, 1988.]

Interpretations under Rule 101

–Independence

In performing an attest engagement, a member should consult the rules of his or her state board of accountancy, his or her state CPA society, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) if the member's report will be filed with the SEC, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) if the member's report will be filed with the DOL, the AICPA SEC Practice Section (SECPS) if the member's firm is a member of the SECPS, the General Accounting Office (GAO) if law, regulation, agreement, policy or contract requires the member's report to be filed under GAO regulations, and any organization that issues or enforces standards of independence that would apply to the member's engagement. Such organizations may have independence requirements or rulings that differ from (e.g., may be more restrictive than) those of the AICPA.

.02

101-1—Interpretation of Rule 101. Independence shall be considered to be impaired if:

  1. During the period of the professional engagement fn * a covered member
    1. Had or was committed to acquire any direct or material indirect financial interest in the client
    2. Was a trustee of any trust or executor or administrator of any estate if such trust or estate had or was committed to acquire any direct or material indirect financial interest in the client and
      (i) The covered member (individually or with others) had the authority to make investment decisions for the trust or estate; or
      (ii) The trust or estate owned or was committed to acquire more than 10 percent of the client's outstanding equity securities or other ownership interests; or
      (iii) The value of the trust's or estate's holdings in the client exceeded 10 percent of the total assets of the trust or estate.
    3. Had a joint closely held investment that was material to the covered member.
    4. Except as specifically permitted in interpretation 101-5 [ET section 101.07], had any loan to or from the client, any officer or director of the client, or any individual owning 10 percent or more of the client’s outstanding equity securities or other ownership interests.
  2. During the period of the professional engagement, a partner or professional employee of the firm, his or her immediate family, or any group of such persons acting together owned more than 5 percent of a client’s outstanding equity securities or other ownership interests.
  3. During the period covered by the financial statements or during the period of the professional engagement, a firm, or partner or professional employee of the firm was simultaneously associated with the client as a(n)
    1. Director, officer, or employee, or in any capacity equivalent to that of a member of management;
    2. Promoter, underwriter, or voting trustee; or
    3. Trustee for any pension or profit-sharing trust of the client.

Transition Period for Certain Business and Employment Relationships

A business or employment relationship with a client that impairs independence under interpretation 101-1.C [ET section 101.02], and that existed as of November 2001, will not be deemed to impair independence provided such relationship was permitted under rule 101 [ET section 101.01], and its interpretations and rulings as of November 2001, and the individual severed that relationship on or before May 31, 2002.

Application of the Independence Rules to Covered Members Formerly Employed by a Client or Otherwise Associated With a Client

An individual who was formerly (i) employed by a client or (ii) associated with a client as a(n) officer, director, promoter, underwriter, voting trustee, or trustee for a pension or profit-sharing trust of the client would impair his or her firm’s independence if the individual—

  1. Participated on the attest engagement team or was an individual in a position to influence the attest engagement for the client when the attest engagement covers any period that includes his or her former employment or association with that client; or
  2. Was otherwise a covered member with respect to the client unless the individual first dissociates from the client by—
    (a) Terminating any relationships with the client described in interpretation 101-1.C [ET section 101.02];
    (b) Disposing of any direct or material indirect financial interest in the client;
    (c) Collecting or repaying any loans to or from the client, except for loans specifically permitted or grandfathered under interpretation 101-5 [ET section 101.07];
    (d) Ceasing to participate fn 1 in all employee benefit plans sponsored by the client, unless the client is legally required to allow the individual to participate in the plan (for example, COBRA) and the individual pays 100 percent of the cost of participation on a current basis; and
    (e) Liquidating or transferring all vested benefits in the client's defined benefit plans, defined contribution plans, deferred compensation plans, and other similar arrangements at the earliest date permitted under the plan. However, liquidation or transfer is not required if a penalty fn 2 significant to the benefits is imposed upon liquidation or transfer.

Application of the Independence Rules to a Covered Member’s Immediate Family

Except as stated in the following paragraph, a covered member’s immediate family is subject to rule 101 [ET section 101.01], and its interpretations and rulings.

The exceptions are that independence would not be considered to be impaired solely as a result of the following:

  1. An individual in a covered member’s immediate family was employed by the client in a position other than a key position.
  2. In connection with his or her employment, an individual in the immediate family of one of the following covered members participated in a retirement, savings, compensation, or similar plan that is a client, is sponsored by a client, or that invests in a client (provided such plan is normally offered to all employees in similar positions):
    1. A partner or manager who provides ten or more hours of non-attest services to the client; or
    2. Any partner in the office in which the lead attest engagement partner primarily practices in connection with the attest engagement.

For purposes of determining materiality under rule 101 [ET section 101.01] the financial interests of the covered member and his or her immediate family should be aggregated.

Application of the Independence Rules to Close Relatives

Independence would be considered to be impaired if—

  1. An individual participating on the attest engagement team has a close relative who had
    1. A key position with the client, or
    2. A financial interest in the client that
      (i) Was material to the close relative and of which the individual has knowledge; or
      (ii) Enabled the close relative to exercise significant influence over the client.
  2. An individual in a position to influence the attest engagement or any partner in the office in which the lead attest engagement partner primarily practices in connection with the attest engagement has a close relative who had
    1. A key position with the client; or
    2. A financial interest in the client that
      (i) Was material to the close relative and of which the individual or partner has knowledge; and
      (i) Enabled the close relative to exercise significant influence over the client.

Grandfathered Employment Relationships

Employment relationships of a covered member’s immediate family and close relatives with an existing attest client that impair independence under this interpretation and that existed as of November 2001, will not be deemed to impair independence provided such relationships were permitted under preexisting requirements of rule 101 [ET section 101.01], and its interpretations and rulings.

Other Considerations

It is impossible to enumerate all circumstances in which the appearance of independence might be questioned. Members should consider whether personal and business relationships between the member and the client or an individual associated with the client would lead a reasonable person aware of all the relevant facts to conclude that there is an unacceptable threat to the member's and the firm’s independence.

[Paragraph added by adoption of the Code of Professional Conduct on January 12, 1988. Revised, effective June 30, 1990, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee. Revised, November 1991, effective January 1, 1992, with earlier application encouraged, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee. Revised, effective February 28, 1998, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee. Revised, November 2001, effective May 31, 2002, with earlier application encouraged, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee. Revised, effective July 31, 2002, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee. Revised, effective March 31, 2003, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee. Revised, effective April 30, 2003, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee.]

[.03]

[.03]    [Formerly paragraph .02 renumbered by adoption of the Code of Professional Conduct on January 12, 1988. Formerly interpretation 101-1, renumbered as 101-4 and moved to paragraph .06, April 1992.]

.04

101-2—Employment or association with attest clients. A firm's independence will be considered to be impaired with respect to a client if a partner or professional employee leaves the firm and is subsequently employed by or associated with that client in a key position unless all the following conditions are met:

  1. Amounts due to the former partner or professional employee for his or her previous interest in the firm and for unfunded, vested retirement benefits are not material to the firm, and the underlying formula used to calculate the payments remains fixed during the payout period. Retirement benefits may also be adjusted for inflation and interest may be paid on amounts due.
  2. The former partner or professional employee is not in a position to influence the accounting firm's operations or financial policies.
  3. The former partner or professional employee does not participate or appear to participate in, and is not associated with the firm, whether or not compensated for such participation or association, once employment or association with the client begins. An appearance of participation or association results from such actions as:
    • The individual provides consultation to the firm.
    • The firm provides the individual with an office and related amenities (for example, secretarial and telephone services).
    • The individual's name is included in the firm's office directory.
    • The individual's name is included as a member of the firm in other membership lists of business, professional, or civic organizations, unless the individual is clearly designated as retired.
  4. The ongoing attest engagement team considers the appropriateness or necessity of modifying the engagement procedures to adjust for the risk that, by virtue of the former partner or professional employee's prior knowledge of the audit plan, audit effectiveness could be reduced.
  5. The firm assesses whether existing attest engagement team members have the appropriate experience and stature to effectively deal with the former partner or professional employee and his or her work, when that person will have significant interaction with the attest engagement team.
  6. The subsequent attest engagement is reviewed to determine whether the engagement team members maintained the appropriate level of skepticism when evaluating the representations and work of the former partner or professional employee, when the person joins the client in a key position within one year of disassociating from the firm and has significant interaction with the attest engagement team. The review should be performed by a professional with appropriate stature, expertise, and objectivity and should be tailored based on the position that the person assumed at the client, the position he or she held at the firm, the nature of the services he or she provided to the client, and other relevant facts and circumstances. Appropriate actions, as deemed necessary, should be taken based on the results of the review.

Responsible members within the firm should implement procedures for compliance with the preceding conditions when firm professionals are employed or associated with attest clients.

With respect to conditions 4, 5, and 6, the procedures adopted will depend on several factors, including whether the former partner or professional employee served as a member of the engagement team, the positions he or she held at the firm and has accepted at the client, the length of time that has elapsed since the professional left the firm, and the circumstances of his or her departure. fn 3

Considering Employment or Association With the Client

When a member of the attest engagement team or an individual in a position to influence the attest engagement intends to seek or discuss potential employment or association with an attest client, or is in receipt of a specific offer of employment from an attest client, independence will be impaired with respect to the client unless the person promptly reports such consideration or offer to an appropriate person in the firm, and removes himself or herself from the engagement until the employment offer is rejected or employment is no longer being sought. When a covered member becomes aware that a member of the attest engagement team or an individual in a position to influence the attest engagement is considering employment or association with a client, the covered member should notify an appropriate person in the firm.

The appropriate person should consider what additional procedures may be necessary to provide reasonable assurance that any work performed for the client by that person was performed with objectivity and integrity as required under rule 102 [ET section 102.01]. Additional procedures, such as reperformance of work already done, will depend on the nature of the engagement and the individual involved.

[Replaces previous interpretation 101-2, Retired Partners and Firm Independence, August, 1989, effective August 31, 1989. Revised, effective December 31, 1998, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee. Revised, July 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1. Revised, effective April 30, 2003, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee.]

.05

101-3—Performance of other services. A member or his or her firm (“member”) who performs an attest engagement for a client may also perform other nonattest services (“other services”) for that client. Before a member performs other services for an attest client, he or she must evaluate the effect of such services on his or her independence. In particular, care should be taken not to perform management functions or make management decisions for the attest client, the responsibility for which remains with the client’s board of directors and management.

Before performing other services, the member should establish an understanding with the client regarding the objectives of the engagement, the services to be performed, management’s responsibilities, the member’s responsibilities, and the limitations of the engagement. It is preferable that this understanding be documented in an engagement letter. In addition, the member should be satisfied that the client is in a position to have an informed judgment on the results of the other services and that the client understands its responsibility to—

  1. Designate a management-level individual or individuals to be responsible for overseeing the services being provided.
  2. Evaluate the adequacy of the services performed and any findings that result.
  3. Make management decisions, including accepting responsibility for the results of the other services.
  4. Establish and maintain internal controls, including monitoring ongoing activities.

Note: Paragraph 33 of PCAOB Auditing Standard No. 2 contains an additional requirement related to audit committee pre-approval of internal control-related services.

General Activities

The following are some general activities that would be considered to impair a member’s independence:

  • Authorizing, executing or consummating a transaction, or otherwise exercising authority on behalf of a client or having the authority to do so
  • Preparing source documents fn 4 or originating data, in electronic or other form, evidencing the occurrence of a transaction (for example, purchase orders, payroll time records, and customer orders)
  • Having custody of client assets
  • Supervising client employees in the performance of their normal recurring activities
  • Determining which recommendations of the member should be implemented
  • Reporting to the board of directors on behalf of management
  • Serving as a client’s stock transfer or escrow agent, registrar, general counsel or its equivalent

The examples in the following table identify the effect that performance of other services for an attest client can have on a member’s independence. These examples are not intended to be all-inclusive of the types of other services performed by members.

Impact on Independence of Performance of Other Services
 
Type of Other Service

 
Independence Would Not Be Impaired

 
Independence Would Be Impaired

 
Bookkeeping

 
• Record transactions for which management has determined or approved the appropriate account classification, or post coded transactions to a client’s general ledger.

• Prepare financial statements based on information in the trial balance.

• Post client-approved entries to a client’s trial balance.

• Propose standard, adjusting, or correcting journal entries or other changes affecting the financial statements to the client.

• Provide data-processing services.
 
• Determine or change journal entries, account codings or classification for transactions, or other accounting records without obtaining client approval.

• Authorize or approve transactions.

• Prepare source documents or originate data.

• Make changes to source documents without client approval.

 
Payroll and other disbursement

 
• Using payroll time records provided and approved by the client, generate unsigned checks, or process client’s payroll.

• Transmit client-approved payroll or other disbursement information to a financial institution provided the client has authorized the member to make the transmission and has made arrangements for the financial institution to limit the corresponding individual payments as to amount and payee. In addition, once transmitted, the client must authorize the financial institution to process the information.

• Make electronic payroll tax payments in accordance with U.S. Treasury Department guidelines provided the client has made arrangements for its financial institution to limit such payments to a named payee.fn 5
 
• Accept responsibility to authorize payment of client funds, electronically or otherwise, except as specifically provided for with respect to electronic payroll tax payments.

• Accept responsibility to sign or cosign client checks, even if only in emergency situations.

• Maintain a client’s bank account or otherwise have custody of a client’s funds or make credit or banking decisions for the client.

• Sign payroll tax return on behalf of client management.

• Approve vendor invoices for payment
 
Benefit plan administration fn 6

 
• Communicate summary plan data to plan trustee.

• Advise client management regarding the application or impact of provisions of the plan document.

• Process transactions (e.g., investment/benefit elections or increase/decrease contributions to the plan; data entry; participant confirmations; and processing of distributions and loans) initiated by plan participants through the member’s electronic medium, such as an interactive voice response system or Internet connection or other media.

• Prepare account valuations for plan participants using data collected through the member’s electronic or other media.

• Prepare and transmit participant statements to plan participants based on data collected through the member’s electronic or other medium.
 
• Make policy decisions on behalf of client management.

• When dealing with plan participants, interpret the plan document on behalf of management without first obtaining management’s concurrence.

• Make disbursements on behalf of the plan.

• Have custody of assets of a plan.

• Serve a plan as a fiduciary as defined by ERISA.
 
Investment— advisory or management

 
• Recommend the allocation of funds that a client should invest in various asset classes, depending upon the client’s desired rate of return, risk tolerance, etc.

• Perform recordkeeping and reporting of client’s portfolio balances including providing a comparative analysis of the client’s investments to third-party benchmarks.

• Review the manner in which a client’s portfolio is being managed by investment account managers, including determining whether the managers are (1) following the guidelines of the client’s investment policy statement; (2) meeting the client’s investment objectives; and (3) conforming to the client’s stated investment styles.

• Transmit a client’s investment selection to a broker-dealer or equivalent provided the client has authorized the broker-dealer or equivalent to execute the transaction.
 
• Make investment decisions on behalf of client management or otherwise have discretionary authority over a client’s investments.

• Execute a transaction to buy or sell a client’s investment.

• Have custody of client assets, such as taking temporary possession of securities purchased by a client.
 
Corporate finance—consulting or advisory

 
• Assist in developing corporate strategies.

• Assist in identifying or introducing the client to possible sources of capital that meet the client’s specifications or criteria.

• Assist in analyzing the effects of proposed transactions including providing advice to a client during negotiations with potential buyers, sellers, or capital sources.

• Assist in drafting an offering document or memorandum.

• Participate in transaction negotiations in an advisory capacity.

• Be named as a financial adviser in a client's private placement memoranda or offering documents.
 
• Commit the client to the terms of a transaction or consummate a transaction on behalf of the client.

• Act as a promoter, underwriter, broker-dealer, or guarantor of client securities, or distributor of private placement memoranda or offering documents.

• Maintain custody of client securities.

 
Appraisal, valuation or actuarial
 
• Test the reasonableness of the value placed on an asset or liability included in a client’s financial statements by preparing a separate valuation of that asset or liability.

• Perform a valuation of a client’s business when all significant matters of judgment are determined or approved by the client and the client is in a position to have an informed judgment on the results of the valuation.
 
• Prepare a valuation of an employer’s securities contained in an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) to support transactions with participants, plan contributions, and allocations within the ESOP, when the client is not in a position to have an informed judgment on the results of this valuation.

• Prepare an appraisal, valuation, or actuarial report using assumptions determined by the member and not approved by the client.
 
Executive or employee search • Recommend a position description or candidate specifications.

• Solicit and perform screening of candidates and recommend qualified candidates to a client based on the client-approved criteria (e.g., required skills and experience).

• Participate in employee hiring or compensation discussions in an advisory capacity.

 
• Commit the client to employee compensation or benefit arrangements.

• Hire or terminate client employees.
 
Business risk consulting

 
• Provide assistance in assessing the client’s business risks and control processes.

• Recommend a plan for making improvements to a client’s control processes and assist in implementing these improvements.
 
• Make or approve business risk decisions.

• Present business risk considerations to the board or others on behalf of management.
 
Information systems—design, installation or integration
 
• Design, install or integrate a client’s information system, provided the client makes all management decisions.

• Customize a prepackaged accounting or information system, provided the client makes all management decisions.

• Provide the initial training and instruction to client employees on a newly implemented information and control system.
 
• Supervise client personnel in the daily operation of a client’s information system.

• Operate a client’s local area network (LAN) system when the client has not designated a competent individual, preferably within senior management, to be responsible for the LAN.
 

[Formerly paragraph .04, renumbered by adoption of the Code of Professional Conduct on January 12, 1988. Revised, effective June 30, 1990, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee. Revised, effective May 31, 1999, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee. Revised, effective April 30, 2000, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee. Revised, July 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1.]

.06

101-4—Honorary directorships and trusteeships of not-for-profit organization. Partners or professional employees of a firm (individual) may be asked to lend the prestige of their names to not-for-profit organizations that limit their activities to those of a charitable, religious, civic, or similar nature by being named as a director or a trustee. An individual who permits his or her name to be used in this manner would not be considered to impair independence under rule 101 [ET section 101.01] provided his or her position is clearly honorary, and he or she cannot vote or otherwise participate in board or management functions. If the individual is named in letterheads and externally circulated materials, he or she must be identified as an honorary director or honorary trustee. [Formerly paragraph .05, renumbered by adoption of the Code of Professional Conduct on January 12, 1988. Formerly interpretation 101-1. Revised, effective June 30, 1990, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee. Renumbered as interpretation 101-4 and moved from paragraph .03, April, 1992. Revised, July 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1.]

.07

101-5—Loans from financial institution clients and related terminology. Interpretation 101-1.A.4 [ET section 101.02] provides that, except as permitted in this interpretation, independence shall be considered to be impaired if a covered member fn || has any loan to or from a client, any officer or director of the client, or any individual owning ten percent or more of the client's outstanding equity securities or other ownership interests. This interpretation describes the conditions a covered member (or his or her immediate family) must meet in order to apply an exception for a "Grandfathered Loan" or "Other Permitted Loan."

Grandfathered Loans

Unsecured loans that are not material to the covered member's net worth, home mortgages, fn 7 and other secured loans fn 7 are grandfathered if:

(1) they were obtained from a financial institution under that institution's normal lending procedures, terms, and requirements,
(2) after becoming a covered member they are kept current as to all terms at all times and those terms do not change in any manner not provided for in the original loan agreement, fn 8 and
(3) they were:
a) obtained from the financial institution prior to its becoming a client requiring independence; or
b) obtained from a financial institution for which independence was not required and were later sold to a client for which independence is required; or
c) obtained prior to February 5, 2001 and met the requirements of previous provisions of Interpretation 101-5 [ET section 101.07] covering grandfathered loans; or
d) obtained between February 5, 2001 and May 31, 2002, and the covered member was in compliance with the applicable independence requirements of the SEC during that period; or
e) obtained after May 31, 2002 from a financial institution client requiring independence by a borrower prior to his or her becoming a covered member with respect to that client

In determining when a loan was obtained, the date a loan commitment or line of credit is granted must be used, rather than the date a transaction closes or funds are obtained.

For purposes of applying the grandfathered loans provision when the covered member is a partner in a partnership:

  • a loan to a limited partnership (or similar type of entity) or a general partnership would be ascribed to each covered member who is a partner in the partnership on the basis of their legal liability as a limited or general partner if:
    • the covered member's interest in the limited partnership, either individually or combined with the interest of one or more covered members, exceeds 50 percent of the total limited partnership interest; or
    • the covered member, either individually or together with one or more covered members, can control the general partnership.
  • even if no amount of a partnership loan is ascribed to the covered member(s) identified above, independence is considered to be impaired if the partnership renegotiates the loan or enters into a new loan that is not one of the permitted loans described below.

Other Permitted Loans

This interpretation permits only the following new loans to be obtained from a financial institution client for which independence is required. These loans must be obtained under the institution's normal lending procedures, terms, and requirements and must, at all times, be kept current as to all terms.

  1. Automobile loans and leases collateralized by the automobile.
  2. Loans fully collateralized by the cash surrender value of an insurance policy.
  3. Loans fully collateralized by cash deposits at the same financial institution (e.g., "passbook loans").
  4. Credit cards and cash advances where the aggregate outstanding balance on the current statement is reduced to $5,000 or less by the payment due date.

Related prohibitions that may be more restrictive are prescribed by certain state and federal agencies having regulatory authority over such financial institutions. Broker-dealers, for example, are subject to regulation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

[Revised, November 30, 1987, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee. Formerly paragraph .06, renumbered by adoption of the Code of Professional Conduct on January 12, 1988. References revised to reflect issuance of AICPA Code of Professional Conduct on January 12, 1988. Revised, effective June 30, 1990, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee. Revised, November 1991, effective January 1, 1992 with earlier application encouraged, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee. Revised, effective February 28, 1998 by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee. Revised, July 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1. Revised, November 2002, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee.]

.08

101-6—The effect of actual or threatened litigation on independence. In some circumstances, independence may be considered to be impaired as a result of litigation or the expressed intention to commence litigation as discussed below.

Litigation between client and member

The relationship between the management of the client and a covered member must be characterized by complete candor and full disclosure regarding all aspects of the client's business operations. In addition, there must be an absence of bias on the part of the covered member so that he or she can exercise professional judgment on the financial reporting decisions made by the management. When the present management of a client company commences, or expresses an intention to commence, legal action against a covered member, the covered member and the client's management may be placed in adversarial positions in which the management's willingness to make complete disclosures and the covered member's objectivity may be affected by self-interest.

For the reasons outlined above, independence may be impaired whenever the covered member and the covered member's client or its management are in threatened or actual positions of material adverse interests by reason of threatened or actual litigation. Because of the complexity and diversity of the situations of adverse interests which may arise, however, it is difficult to prescribe precise points at which independence may be impaired. The following criteria are offered as guidelines:

  1. The commencement of litigation by the present management alleging deficiencies in audit work for the client would be considered to impair independence.
  2. The commencement of litigation by the covered member against the present management alleging management fraud or deceit would be considered to impair independence.
  3. An expressed intention by the present management to commence litigation against the covered member alleging deficiencies in audit work for the client would be considered to impair independence if the auditor concludes that it is probable that such a claim will be filed.
  4. Litigation not related to performance of an attest engagement for the client (whether threatened or actual) for an amount not material to the covered member's firm fn 9 or to the client company fn 9 would not generally be considered to affect the relationship in such a way as to impair independence. Such claims may arise, for example, out of disputes as to billings for services, results of tax or management services advice or similar matters.

Litigation by security holders

A covered member may also become involved in litigation ("primary litigation") in which the covered member and the client or its management are defendants. Such litigation may arise, for example, when one or more stockholders bring a stockholders' derivative action or a so-called "class action" against the client or its management, its officers, directors, underwriters and covered members under the securities laws. Such primary litigation in itself would not alter fundamental relationships between the client or its management and the covered member and therefore would not be deemed to have an adverse impact on independence. These situations should be examined carefully, however, since the potential for adverse interests may exist if cross-claims are filed against the covered member alleging that the covered member is responsible for any deficiencies or if the covered member alleges fraud or deceit by the present management as a defense. In assessing the extent to which independence may be impaired under these conditions, the covered member should consider the following additional guidelines:

  1. The existence of cross-claims filed by the client, its management, or any of its directors to protect a right to legal redress in the event of a future adverse decision in the primary litigation (or, in lieu of cross-claims, agreements to extend the statute of limitations) would not normally affect the relationship between client management and the covered member in such a way as to impair independence, unless there exists a significant risk that the cross-claim will result in a settlement or judgment in an amount material to the covered member's firm fn 10 or to the client.
  2. The assertion of cross-claims against the covered member by underwriters would not generally impair independence if no such claims are asserted by the client or the present management.
  3. If any of the persons who file cross-claims against the covered member are also officers or directors of other clients of the covered member, independence with respect to such other clients would not generally be considered to be impaired.

Other third-party litigation

Another type of third-party litigation against the covered member may be commenced by a lending institution, other creditor, security holder, or insurance company who alleges reliance on financial statements of the client with which the covered member is associated as a basis for extending credit or insurance coverage to the client. In some instances, an insurance company may commence litigation (under subrogation rights) against the covered member in the name of the client to recover losses reimbursed to the client. These types of litigation would not normally affect independence with respect to a client who is either not the plaintiff or is only the nominal plaintiff, since the relationship between the covered member and client management would not be affected. They should be examined carefully, however, since the potential for adverse interests may exist if the covered member alleges, in his defense, fraud, or deceit by the present management.

If the real party in interest in the litigation (e.g., the insurance company) is also a client of the covered member ("the plaintiff client"), independence with respect to the plaintiff client may be impaired if the litigation involves a significant risk of a settlement or judgment in an amount which would be material to the covered member's firm fn 11 or to the plaintiff client.

Effects of impairment of independence

If the covered member believes that the circumstances would lead a reasonable person having knowledge of the facts to conclude that the actual or intended litigation poses an unacceptable threat to independence, the covered member should either (a) disengage himself or herself, or (b) disclaim an opinion because of lack of independence. Such disengagement may take the form of resignation or cessation of any attest engagement then in progress pending resolution of the issue between the parties.

Termination of impairment

The conditions giving rise to a lack of independence are generally eliminated when a final resolution is reached and the matters at issue no longer affect the relationship between the covered member and client. The covered member should carefully review the conditions of such resolution to determine that all impairments to the covered member's objectivity have been removed.

[Formerly paragraph .07, renumbered by adoption of the Code of Professional Conduct on January 12, 1988. Revised, effective June 30, 1990, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee. Revised, effective September 30, 1995, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee, by deletion of subhead and paragraph and reissuance as ethics ruling No. 100, Actions Permitted When Independence is Impaired, under rule 101. Revised, July 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1.]

[.09]

[.09]  [101-7]—[Deleted] [Formerly paragraph .08, renumbered by adoption of the Code of Professional Conduct on January 12, 1988.]

.10

101-8—Effect on independence of financial interests in nonclients having investor or investee relationships with a covered member's client.

Introduction

Financial interests in nonclients that are related in various ways to a client may impair independence. Situations in which the nonclient investor is a partnership are covered in other rulings [ET section 191.138–.139, .158–.159, and .162–.163].

Terminology

The following specifically identified terms are used in this interpretation as indicated:

  1. Client. The term client means the person or entity with whose financial statements a covered member is associated.
  2. Significant Influence. The term significant influence is as defined in Accounting Principles Board (APB) Opinion 18 [AC I82].
  3. Investor. The term investor means (a) a parent, (b) a general partner, or (c) a natural person or corporation that has the ability to exercise significant influence.
  4. Investee. The term investee means (a) a subsidiary or (b) an entity over which an investor has the ability to exercise significant influence.

Interpretation

Where a nonclient investee is material to a client investor, any direct or material indirect financial interest of a covered member in the nonclient investee would be considered to impair independence with respect to the client investor. If the nonclient investee is immaterial to the client investor, a covered member's material investment in the nonclient investee would cause an impairment of independence.

Where a client investee is material to nonclient investor, any direct or material indirect financial interest of a covered member in the nonclient investor would be considered to impair independence with respect to the client investee. If the client investee is immaterial to the nonclient investor, and if a covered member's financial interest in the nonclient investor allows the covered member to exercise significant influence over the actions of the nonclient investor, independence would be considered to be impaired.

Other relationships, such as those involving brother-sister common control or client-nonclient joint ventures, may affect the appearance of independence. The covered member should make a reasonable inquiry to determine whether such relationships exist, and if they do, careful consideration should be given to whether the financial interests in question would lead a reasonable observer to conclude that the specified relationships pose an unacceptable threat to independence.

In general, in brother-sister common control situations, an immaterial financial interest of a covered member in the nonclient investee would not impair independence with respect to the client investee, provided the covered member could not exercise significant influence over the nonclient investor. However, if a covered member's financial interest in a nonclient investee is material, the covered member could be influenced by the nonclient investor, thereby impairing independence with respect to the client investee. In like manner, in a joint venture situation, an immaterial financial interest of a covered member in the nonclient investor would not impair the independence of the covered member with respect to the client investor, provided that the covered member could not exercise significant influence over the nonclient investor.

If a covered member does not and could not reasonably be expected to have knowledge of the financial interests or relationship described in this interpretation, independence would not be considered to be impaired under this interpretation.

[Revised, December 31, 1983, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee. Formerly paragraph .09 renumbered by adoption of the Code of Professional Conduct on January 12, 1988. References changed to reflect the issuance of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct on January 12, 1988. Replaces previous interpretation 101-8, Effect on Independence of Financial Interests in Nonclients Having Investor or Investee Relationships With a Member's Client, April 1991, effective April 30, 1991. Revised, December 31, 1991, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee. Revised, July 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1.]

[.11]

[.11]      [101-9]—[Deleted]

.12

101-10—The effect on independence of relationships with entities included in the governmental financial statements. fn 12 For purposes of this Interpretation, a financial reporting entity's basic financial statements, issued in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America, include the government-wide financial statements (consisting of the entity's governmental activities, business-type activities, and discretely presented component units), the fund financial statements (consisting of major funds, nonmajor governmental and enterprise funds, internal service funds, blended component units, and fiduciary funds) and other entities disclosed in the notes to the basic financial statements. Entities that should be disclosed in the notes to the basic financial statements include, but are not limited to, related organizations, joint ventures, jointly governed organizations, and component units of another government with characteristics of a joint venture or jointly governed organization.

Auditor of Financial Reporting Entity

A covered member issuing a report on the basic financial statements of the financial reporting entity must be independent of the financial reporting entity, as defined in paragraph 1 of this Interpretation. However, independence is not required with respect to any major or nonmajor fund, internal service fund, fiduciary fund, or component unit or other entities disclosed in the financial statements, where the primary auditor explicitly states reliance on other auditors reports thereon. In addition, independence is not required with respect to an entity disclosed in the notes to the basic financial statements, if the financial reporting entity is not financially accountable for the organization and the required disclosure does not include financial information. For example, a disclosure limited to the financial reporting entity's ability to appoint the governing board members would not require a member to be independent of that organization.

However, the covered member and his or her immediate family should not hold a key position with a major fund, nonmajor fund, internal service fund, fiduciary fund, or component unit of the financial reporting entity or other entity that should be disclosed in the notes to the basic financial statements.

Auditor of a Major Fund, Nonmajor Fund, Internal Service Fund, Fiduciary Fund, or Component Unit of the Financial Reporting Entity or Other Entity That Should Be Disclosed in the Notes to the Basic Financial Statements

A covered member who is auditing the financial statements of a major fund, nonmajor fund, internal service fund, fiduciary fund, or component unit of the financial reporting entity or an entity that should be disclosed in the notes to the basic financial statements of the financial reporting entity, but is not auditing the primary government, should be independent with respect to those financial statements that the covered member is reporting upon. The covered member is not required to be independent of the primary government or other funds or component units of the reporting entity or entities that should be disclosed in the notes to the basic financial statements. However, the covered member and his or her immediate family should not hold a key position within the primary government. For purposes of this Interpretation, a covered member and immediate family member would not be considered employed by the primary government if the exceptions provided for in ET section 92.03 are met. [fns 13–14]

[Formerly paragraph .11, renumbered by adoption of the Code of Professional Conduct on January 12, 1988. References changed to reflect the issuance of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct on January 12, 1988. Replaces previous interpretation 101-10, The Effect on Independence of Relationships Proscribed by Rule 101 and its Interpretations With Nonclient Entities Included With a Member's Client in the Financial Statements of a Governmental Reporting Entity, April 1991, effective April 30, 1991. Replaces previous interpretation 101-10, The Effect on Independence of Relationships With Entities Included in the Governmental Financial Statements, January 1996, effective January 31, 1996. Revised, July 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1. Revised, effective March 31, 2003, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee.]

.13

101-11—Modified application of rule 101 for certain engagements to issue restricted-use reportsunder the Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements

Rule 101: Independence [ET section 101.01], and its interpretations and rulings apply to all attest engagements. However, for purposes of performing engagements to issue reports under the Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAEs) that are restricted to identified parties, only the following covered members, and their immediate families, are required to be independent with respect to the responsible party fn 15 in accordance with rule 101 [ET section 101.01]:

  • Individuals participating on the attest engagement team;
  • Individuals who directly supervise or manage the attest engagement partner; and
  • Individuals who consult with the attest engagement team regarding technical or industry-related issues specific to the attest engagement.

In addition, independence would be considered to be impaired if the firm had a financial relationship covered by interpretation 101-1.A [ET section 101.02] with the responsible party that was material to the firm.

In cases where the firm provides non-attest services to the responsible party that are proscribed under interpretation 101-3 [ET section 101.05] and that do not directly relate to the subject matter of the attest engagement, independence would not be considered to be impaired.

In circumstances where the individual or entity that engages the firm is not the responsible party or associated with the responsible party, individuals on the attest engagement team need not be independent of the individual or entity, but should consider their responsibilities under interpretation 102-2 [ET section 102.03] with regard to any relationships that may exist with the individual or entity that engages them to perform these services.

This interpretation does not apply to an engagement performed under the Statements on Auditing Standards or Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services, or to an examination or review engagement performed under the Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements.

[Replaces previous interpretation 101-11, Independence and Attest Engagements, January 1996, effective January 31, 1996. Revised, effective November 30, 2001, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee.]

.14

101-12—Independence and cooperative arrangements with clients. Independence will be considered to be impaired if, during the period of a professional engagement, a member or his or her firm had any cooperative arrangement with the client that was material to the member's firm or to the client.

Cooperative Arrangement—A cooperative arrangement exists when a member's firm and a client jointly participate in a business activity. The following are examples, which are not all inclusive, of cooperative arrangements:

  1. Prime/subcontractor arrangements to provide services or products to a third party
  2. Joint ventures to develop or market products or services
  3. Arrangements to combine one or more services or products of the firm with one or more services or products of the client and market the package with references to both parties
  4. Distribution or marketing arrangements under which the firm acts as a distributor or marketer of the client's products or services, or the client acts as the distributor or marketer of the products or services of the firm

Nevertheless, joint participation with a client in a business activity does not ordinarily constitute a cooperative arrangement when all the following conditions are present:

  1. The participation of the firm and the participation of the client are governed by separate agreements, arrangements, or understandings.
  2. The firm assumes no responsibility for the activities or results of the client, and vice versa.
  3. Neither party has the authority to act as the representative or agent of the other party.

In addition, the member's firm should consider the requirements of rule 302 [ET section 302.01] and rule 503 [ET section 503.01].

[Effective November 30, 1993. Revised, July 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1.]

.15

101-13—Extended audit services. A member or his or her firm ("member") may be asked by a client, for which the member performs an attest engagement, to perform extended audit services. These services may include assistance in the performance of the client's internal audit activities and/or an extension of the member's audit service beyond the requirements of generally accepted auditing standards (hereinafter referred to as "extended audit services").

A member's performance of extended audit services would not be considered to impair independence with respect to a client for which the member also performs an attest engagement, provided that the member or his or her firm is not an employee of the client or does not act or appear to act in a capacity equivalent to a member of client management .

The responsibilities of the client, including its board of directors, audit committee, and management, and the responsibilities of the member, as described below, should be understood by both the member and the client. It is preferable that this understanding be documented in an engagement letter that indicates that the member may not perform management functions or make management decisions.

A member should be satisfied that the client understands its responsibility for establishing and maintaining internal control and directing the internal audit function, if any. As part of its responsibility to establish and maintain internal control, management monitors internal control to assess the quality of its performance over time. Monitoring can be accomplished through ongoing activities, separate evaluations or a combination of both.

Ongoing monitoring activities are the procedures designed to assess the quality of internal control performance over time and that are built into the normal recurring activities of an entity and include regular management and supervisory activities, comparisons, reconciliations and other routine actions. Separate evaluations focus on the continued effectiveness of a client's internal control. A member's independence would not be impaired by the performance of separate evaluations of the effectiveness of a client's internal control, including separate evaluations of the client's ongoing monitoring activities.

The member should understand that, with respect to the internal audit function, the client is responsible for—

  • Designating a competent individual or individuals, preferably within senior management, to be responsible for the internal audit function
  • Determining the scope, risk and frequency of internal audit activities, including those to be performed by the member providing extended audit services
  • Evaluating the findings and results arising from the internal audit activities, including those performed by the member providing extended audit services
  • Evaluating the adequacy of the audit procedures performed and the findings resulting from the performance of those procedures by, among other things, obtaining reports from the member

The member should be satisfied that the board of directors and/or audit committee is informed of roles and responsibilities of both client management and the member with respect to the engagement to provide extended audit services as a basis for the board of directors and/or audit committee to establish guidelines for both management and the member to follow in carrying out these responsibilities and monitoring how well the respective responsibilities have been met.

The member should be responsible for performing the audit procedures in accordance with the terms of the engagement and reporting thereon. The day-to-day performance of the audit procedures should be directed, reviewed, and supervised by the member. The report should include information that allows the individual responsible for the internal audit function to evaluate the adequacy of the audit procedures performed and the findings resulting from the performance of those procedures. This report may include recommendations for improvements in systems, processes, and procedures. The member may assist the individual responsible for the internal audit function in performing preliminary audit risk assessments, preparing audit plans, and recommending audit priorities. However, the member should not undertake any responsibilities that are required, as described above, to be performed by the individual responsible for the internal audit function.

Performing procedures that are generally of the type considered to be extensions of the member's audit scope applied in the audit of the client's financial statements, such as confirming of accounts receivable and analyzing fluctuations in account balances, would not impair the independence even if the extent of such testing exceeds that required by generally accepted auditing standards.

The following are examples of activities that, if performed as part of an extended audit service, would be considered to impair independence:

  • Performing ongoing monitoring activities or control activities (for example, reviewing loan originations as part of the client's approval process or reviewing customer credit information as part of the customer's sales authorization process) that affect the execution of transactions or ensure that transactions are properly executed, accounted for, or both, and performing routine activities in connection with the client's operating or production processes that are equivalent to those of an ongoing compliance or quality control function
  • Determining which, if any, recommendations for improving the internal control system should be implemented
  • Reporting to the board of directors or audit committee on behalf of management or the individual responsible for the internal audit function
  • Authorizing, executing, or consummating transactions or otherwise exercising authority on behalf of the client
  • Preparing source documents on transactions
  • Having custody of assets
  • Approving or being responsible for the overall internal audit work plan including the determination of the internal audit risk and scope, project priorities and frequency of performance of audit procedures
  • Being connected with the client as an employee or in any capacity equivalent to a member of client management (for example, being listed as an employee in client directories or other client publications, permitting himself or herself to be referred to by title or description as supervising or being in charge of the client's internal audit function, or using the client's letterhead or internal correspondence forms in communications)

The foregoing list in not intended to be all inclusive.

[Effective August 31, 1996. Revised, effective September 30, 1999, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee. Revised, July 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1.]

.16

101-14The effect of alternative practice structures on the applicability of independence rules. Because of changes in the manner in which members fn # are structuring their practices, the AICPA's professional ethics executive committee (PEEC) studied various alternatives to "traditional structures" to determine whether additional independence requirements are necessary to ensure the protection of the public interest.

In many "nontraditional structures," a substantial (the nonattest) portion of a member's practice is conducted under public or private ownership, and the attest portion of the practice is conducted through a separate firm owned and controlled by the member. All such structures must comply with applicable laws, regulations, and Rule 505, Form of Organization and Name [ET section 505.01]. In complying with laws, regulations, and rule 505 [ET section 505.01], many elements of quality control are required to ensure that the public interest is adequately protected. For example, all services performed by members and persons over whom they have control must comply with standards promulgated by AICPA Council-designated bodies, and, for all other firms providing attest services, enrollment is required in an AICPA-approved practice-monitoring program. Finally, and importantly, the members are responsible, financially and otherwise, for all the attest work performed. Considering the extent of such measures, PEEC believes that the additional independence rules set forth in this interpretation are sufficient to ensure that attest services can be performed with objectivity and, therefore, the additional rules satisfactorily protect the public interest.

Rule 505 [ET section 505.01] and the following independence rules for an alternative practice structure (APS) are intended to be conceptual and applicable to all structures where the "traditional firm" engaged in attest services is closely aligned with another organization, public or private, that performs other professional services. The following paragraph and the chart below provide an example of a structure in use at the time this interpretation was developed. Many of the references in this interpretation are to the example. PEEC intends that the concepts expressed herein be applied, in spirit and in substance, to variations of the example structure as they develop.

The example APS in this interpretation is one where an existing CPA practice ("Oldfirm") is sold by its owners to another (possibly public) entity ("PublicCo"). PublicCo has subsidiaries or divisions such as a bank, insurance company or broker-dealer, and it also has one or more professional service subsidiaries or divisions that offer to clients nonattest professional services (e.g., tax, personal financial planning, and management consulting). The owners and employees of Oldfirm become employees of one of PublicCo's subsidiaries or divisions and may provide those nonattest services. In addition, the owners of Oldfirm form a new CPA firm ("Newfirm") to provide attest services. CPAs, including the former owners of Oldfirm, own a majority of Newfirm (as to vote and financial interests). Attest services are performed by Newfirm and are supervised by its owners. The arrangement between Newfirm and PublicCo (or one of its subsidiaries or divisions) includes the lease of employees, office space and equipment; the performance of back-office functions such as billing and collections; and advertising. Newfirm pays a negotiated amount for these services.

APS Independence Rules for Covered Members

The term covered member in an APS includes both employed and leased individuals. The firm in such definition would be Newfirm in the example APS. All covered members, including the firm, are subject to rule 101 [ET section 101.01] and its interpretations and rulings in their entirety. For example, no covered member may have, among other things, a direct financial interest in or a loan to or from an attest client of Newfirm.

Partners of one Newfirm generally would not be considered partners of another Newfirm except in situations where those partners perform services for the other Newfirm or where there are significant shared economic interests between partners of more than one Newfirm. If, for example, partners of Newfirm 1 perform services in Newfirm 2, such owners would be considered to be partners of both Newfirms for purposes of applying the independence rules.

APS Independence Rules for Persons and Entities Other Than Covered Members

As stated above, the independence rules normally extend only to those persons and entities included in the definition of covered member. This normally would include only the "traditional firm" (Newfirm in the example APS), those covered members who own or are employed or leased by Newfirm, and entities controlled by one or more of such persons. Because of the close alignment in many APSs between persons and entities included in covered member and other persons and entities, to ensure the protection of the public interest, PEEC believes it appropriate to require restrictions in addition to those required in a traditional firm structure. Those restrictions are divided into two groups:

   1.   Direct Superiors. Direct Superiors are defined to include those persons so closely associated with a partner or manager who is a covered member, that such persons can directly control the activities of such partner or manager. For this purpose, a person who can directly control is the immediate superior of the partner or manager who has the power to direct the activities of that person so as to be able to directly or indirectly (e.g. through another entity over which the Direct Superior can exercise significant influence fn 16) derive a benefit from that person's activities. Examples would be the person who has day-to-day responsibility for the activities of the partner or manager and is in a position to recommend promotions and compensation levels. This group of persons is, in the view of PEEC, so closely aligned through direct reporting relationships with such persons that their interests would seem to be inseparable. Consequently, persons considered Direct Superiors, and entities within the APS over which such persons can exercise significant influence fn 17 are subject to rule 101 [ET section 101.01] and its interpretations and rulings in their entirety.

   2.   Indirect Superiors and Other PublicCo Entities. Indirect Superiors are those persons who are one or more levels above persons included in Direct Superior. Generally, this would start with persons in an organization structure to whom Direct Superiors report and go up the line from there. PEEC believes that certain restrictions must be placed on Indirect Superiors, but also believes that such persons are sufficiently removed from partners and managers who are covered persons to permit a somewhat less restrictive standard. Indirect Superiors are not connected with partners and managers who are covered members through direct reporting relationships; there always is a level in between. The PEEC also believes that, for purposes of the following, the definition of Indirect Superior also includes the immediate family of the Indirect Superior.

PEEC carefully considered the risk that an Indirect Superior, through a Direct Superior, might attempt to influence the decisions made during the engagement for a Newfirm attest client. PEEC believes that this risk is reduced to a sufficiently low level by prohibiting certain relationships between Indirect Superiors and Newfirm attest clients and by applying a materiality concept with respect to financial relationships. If the financial relationship is not material to the Indirect Superior, PEEC believes that he or she would not be sufficiently financially motivated to attempt such influence particularly with sufficient effort to overcome the presumed integrity, objectivity and strength of character of individuals involved in the engagement.

Similar standards also are appropriate for Other PublicCo Entities. These entities are defined to include PublicCo and all entities consolidated in the PublicCo financial statements that are not subject to rule 101 [ET section 101.01] and its interpretations and rulings in their entirety.

The rules for Indirect Superiors and Other PublicCo Entities are as follows:

  1. Indirect Superiors and Other PublicCo Entities may not have a relationship contemplated by interpretation 101-1.A [ET section 101.02] (e.g., investments, loans, etc.) with an attest client of Newfirm that is material. In making the test for materiality for financial relationships of an Indirect Superior, all the financial relationships with an attest client held by such person should be aggregated and, to determine materiality, assessed in relation to the person’s net worth. In making the materiality test for financial relationships of Other PublicCo Entities, all the financial relationships with an attest client held by such entities should be aggregated and, to determine materiality, assessed in relation to the consolidated financial statements of PublicCo. In addition, any Other PublicCo Entity over which an Indirect Superior has direct responsibility cannot have a financial relationship with an attest client that is material in relation to the Other PublicCo Entity’s financial statements.
  2. Further, financial relationships of Indirect Superiors or Other PublicCo Entities should not allow such persons or entities to exercise significant influence fn 18 over the attest client. In making the test for significant influence, financial relationships of all Indirect Superiors and Other PublicCo Entities should be aggregated.
  3. Neither Other PublicCo Entities nor any of their employees may be connected with an attest client of Newfirm as a promoter, underwriter, voting trustee, director or officer.
  4. Except as noted in C above, Indirect Superiors and Other PublicCo Entities may provide services to an attest client of Newfirm that would impair independence if performed by Newfirm. For example, trustee and asset custodial services in the ordinary course of business by a bank subsidiary of PublicCo would be acceptable as long as the bank was not subject to rule 101 [ET section 101.01] and its interpretations and rulings in their entirety.

Other Matters

   1.   An example, using the chart below, of the application of the concept of Direct and Indirect Superiors would be as follows: The chief executive of the local office of the Professional Services Subsidiary (PSS), where the partners of Newfirm are employed, would be a Direct Superior. The chief executive of PSS itself would be an Indirect Superior, and there may be Indirect Superiors in between such as a regional chief executive of all PSS offices within a geographic area.

   2.   PEEC has concluded that Newfirm (and its partners and employees) may not perform an attest engagement for PublicCo or any of its subsidiaries or divisions.

   3.   PEEC has concluded that independence would be considered to be impaired with respect to an attest client of Newfirm if such attest client holds an investment in PublicCo that is material to the attest client or allows the attest client to exercise significant influence fn 19 over PublicCo.

   3.   When making referrals of services between Newfirm and any of the entities within PublicCo, a member should consider the provisions of Interpretation 102-2, Conflicts of Interest [ET section 102.03].

Alternative Practice Structure (APS) Model

[Effective February 28, 1999; Revised, November 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1.]

Footnotes (ET Section 101 — Independence):

fn * Terms shown in boldface type upon first usage in this interpretation are defined in ET section 92, Definitions. [Footnote added, July 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1.]

fn 1 See Ethics Ruling No. 107, “Participation in Health and Welfare Plan of Client” [ET section 191.214–.215], for instances in which participation was the result of permitted employment of the individual’s spouse or spousal equivalent.

fn 2 A penalty includes an early withdrawal penalty levied under the tax law but excludes other income taxes that would be owed or market losses that may be incurred as a result of the liquidation or transfer.

fn 3 An inadvertent and isolated failure to meet conditions 4, 5, and 6 would not impair independence provided that the required procedures are performed promptly upon discovery of the failure to do so, and all other provisions of the interpretation are met. [Footnote added, effective April 30, 2003, by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee.]

fn 4 The documents upon which evidence of an accounting transaction are initially recorded. Source documents are often followed by the creation of many additional records and reports, which do not, however, qualify as initial recordings. Examples of source documents are purchase orders, payroll time cards, and customer orders. [Footnote renumbered by the revision of interpretation 101-2, April 2003.]

fn 5 Although this type of transaction may be considered by some to be similar to signing checks or disbursing funds, the Professional Ethics Executive Committee concluded that making electronic payroll tax payments under the specified criteria would not impair a member's independence. [Footnote renumbered by the revision of interpretation 101-2, April 2003.]

fn 6 When auditing plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), Department of Labor (DOL) regulations, which may be more restrictive, must be followed. [Footnote renumbered by the revision of interpretation 101-2, April 2003.]

fn || Terms shown in boldface type upon first usage in this interpretation are defined in ET section 92, Definitions.

fn 7 The value of the collateral securing a home mortgage or other secured loan should equal or exceed the remaining balance of the grandfathered loan during the term of the loan. If the value of the collateral is less than the remaining balance of the grandfathered loan, the portion of the loan that exceeds the value of the collateral must not be material to the covered member's net worth. [Footnote added, July 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1. Footnote renumbered by the revision of interpretation 101-2, April 2003.]

fn 7 The value of the collateral securing a home mortgage or other secured loan should equal or exceed the remaining balance of the grandfathered loan during the term of the loan. If the value of the collateral is less than the remaining balance of the grandfathered loan, the portion of the loan that exceeds the value of the collateral must not be material to the covered member's net worth. [Footnote added, July 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1. Footnote renumbered by the revision of interpretation 101-2, April 2003.]

fn 8 Changes in the terms of the loan include, but are not limited to, a new or extended maturity date, a new interest rate or formula, revised collateral, or revised or waived covenants. [Footnote added, July 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1. Footnote renumbered by the revision of interpretation 101-2, April 2003.]

fn 9 Because of the complexities of litigation and the circumstances under which it may arise, it is not possible to prescribe meaningful criteria for measuring materiality; accordingly, the covered member should consider the nature of the controversy underlying the litigation and all other relevant factors in reaching a judgment. [Footnote renumbered and revised, July 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1. Footnote subsequently renumbered by the revision of interpretation 101-2, April 2003.]

fn 9 Because of the complexities of litigation and the circumstances under which it may arise, it is not possible to prescribe meaningful criteria for measuring materiality; accordingly, the covered member should consider the nature of the controversy underlying the litigation and all other relevant factors in reaching a judgment. [Footnote renumbered and revised, July 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1. Footnote subsequently renumbered by the revision of interpretation 101-2, April 2003.]

fn 10 See footnote 9. [Footnote renumbered, July 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1. Footnote subsequently renumbered by the revision of interpretation 101-2, April 2003.]

fn 11 See footnote 9. [Footnote renumbered, July 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1. Footnote subsequently renumbered by the revision of interpretation 101-2, April 2003.]

fn 12 Except for a financial reporting entity's basic financial statements, which is defined within the text of this Interpretation, certain terminology used throughout the Interpretation is specifically defined by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board. [Footnote renumbered, July 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1. Footnote subsequently renumbered by the revision of interpretation 101-2, April 2003.]

[fns 13–14] [Footnotes deleted by the Professional Ethics Executive Committee, March 2003. Footnotes renumbered by the revision of interpretation 101-2, April 2003.]

fn 15 As defined in the SSAEs. [Footnote renumbered, July 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1. Footnote subsequently renumbered by the revision of interpretation 101-2, April 2003.]

fn # Terms shown in boldface type upon first usage in this interpretation are defined in ET section 92, Definitions. [Footnote added, November 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1.]

fn 16 For purposes of this Interpretation, significant influence means having the ability to exercise significant influence over the financial, operating or accounting policies of the entity, for example by (1) being connected with the entity as a promoter, underwriter, voting trustee, general partner or director, (2) being in a policy-making position such as chief executive officer, chief operating officer, chief financial officer or chief accounting officer, or (3) meeting the criteria in Accounting Principles Board Opinion No. 18 [AC section I82] and its interpretations to determine the ability of an investor to exercise such influence with respect to an entity. The foregoing examples are not necessarily all-inclusive. [Footnote added, November 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1. Footnote renumbered by the revision of interpretation 101-2, April 2003.]

fn 17 For purposes of this Interpretation, significant influence means having the ability to exercise significant influence over the financial, operating or accounting policies of the entity, for example by (1) being connected with the entity as a promoter, underwriter, voting trustee, general partner or director, (2) being in a policy-making position such as chief executive officer, chief operating officer, chief financial officer or chief accounting officer, or (3) meeting the criteria in Accounting Principles Board Opinion No. 18 [AC section I82] and its interpretations to determine the ability of an investor to exercise such influence with respect to an entity. The foregoing examples are not necessarily all-inclusive. [Footnote added, November 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1. Footnote renumbered by the revision of interpretation 101-2, April 2003.]

fn 18 For purposes of this Interpretation, significant influence means having the ability to exercise significant influence over the financial, operating or accounting policies of the entity, for example by (1) being connected with the entity as a promoter, underwriter, voting trustee, general partner or director, (2) being in a policy-making position such as chief executive officer, chief operating officer, chief financial officer or chief accounting officer, or (3) meeting the criteria in Accounting Principles Board Opinion No. 18 [AC section I82] and its interpretations to determine the ability of an investor to exercise such influence with respect to an entity. The foregoing examples are not necessarily all-inclusive. [Footnote added, November 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1. Footnote renumbered by the revision of interpretation 101-2, April 2003.]

fn 19 For purposes of this Interpretation, significant influence means having the ability to exercise significant influence over the financial, operating or accounting policies of the entity, for example by (1) being connected with the entity as a promoter, underwriter, voting trustee, general partner or director, (2) being in a policy-making position such as chief executive officer, chief operating officer, chief financial officer or chief accounting officer, or (3) meeting the criteria in Accounting Principles Board Opinion No. 18 [AC section I82] and its interpretations to determine the ability of an investor to exercise such influence with respect to an entity. The foregoing examples are not necessarily all-inclusive. [Footnote added, November 2002, to reflect conforming changes necessary due to the revision of interpretation 101-1. Footnote renumbered by the revision of interpretation 101-2, April 2003.]

Copyright © 2003, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Inc.