SQCS 8 strongly emphasizes the responsibility of firm leadership to set the proper “tone at the top”, conveying through words and actions that quality work is of paramount importance. Each firm is required to design and implement QC policies and procedures that support that message and promote a quality-oriented culture.The elements of quality control have been expanded as follows, further illustrating the “tone-at-the-top” emphasis:
Superseded QC Standards
|Leadership responsibilities for quality within the firm|
|Relevant ethical requirements (e.g. independence, integrity, objectivity, concern for the public interest)||Independence, integrity and objectivity|
|Acceptance and continuance of client relationships and specific engagements||Acceptance and continuance of clients and engagements|
|Human resources||Personnel management|
|Engagement performance||Engagement performance|
Under SQCS 8, a firm that has audit, review, compilation, or other attestation engagements is required to formally document its quality control policies and procedures. The extent of the documentation will depend on the size, structure, and nature of the firm’s practice. Documentation may be as simple as a checklist of the firm’s policies and procedures or as extensive as practice manuals.
To firms that have prepared to document their quality control system for the first time: be sure to adopt only those policies and procedures that work for your firm. Adoption of a sample quality control document without modification can have negative results during peer review if the firm does not have the resources to comply with the policies and procedures adopted.