Off Site System Reviews
Sole practitioners who would like to have their review performed at a location other than their office will find changes under the revised Standards.
For peer reviews commencing on or after January 1, 2009, NEPR follows the guidance of Interpretation No. 7 “Performing System Reviews at a Location Other Than the Reviewed Firms Office” which states, if the review can reasonably be performed at the reviewed firm’s office, it should be. Although certain planning procedures may be performed at the peer reviewer’s office, it is expected that a majority of the peer review procedures, including the review of engagements, testing of functional areas, interviews, and concluding procedures should be performed at the reviewed firm’s office. However, it is recognized that there are rare situations that make an on-site peer review cost prohibitive or extremely difficult to arrange, or both.
In such situations, the firm and reviewer should mutually agree on the appropriateness and efficiency of an approach to the peer review such that it can be performed off-site. The reviewer should request NEPR’s approval to perform the review at a location other than the reviewed firm’s office. This request should be made prior to the commencement of fieldwork, and the firm and reviewer should be prepared to respond to NEPR’s inquiries about various factors that could affect their determination.
Interpretation No. 7 lists factors which should be considered by the administering entity in making a determination. A few of those factors are:
- The availability of peer reviewers qualified to review the firm, including whether they have the experience in the industries and related levels of service for which the firm practices, whether they are independent of the firm and not, for instance, competitors within the same close geographic area, and whether the firm is reasonably accessible to those reviewers.
- Whether the review conducted at the reviewer’s office or another agreed-upon location can still achieve the objectives of a System Review.
- Whether the results are expected to be the same as they would be if the peer review was performed at the reviewed firm’s office.
- The size of the reviewed firm, including the number of professional staff and where they perform their work (for instance, whether they work solely at clients’ offices and the firm does not have its own office).