Direct Examination Engagement (SSAE No. 21)

Direct Examination Engagement (SSAE No. 21)

Direct Examination Engagements (SSAE No. 21) focuses on non-financial subject matter reporting, where Practitioners can perform a direct client examination under AICPA Auditing Standards Board (ASB) guidelines. This engagement also allows a practitioner to evaluate underlying subject matter against defined criteria and provide opinions without getting influenced by a third party jurisdiction.

This service empowers a practitioner to report new, emerging and complex non-financial subject matter for those entities which lack in-house expertise for the same. Under this engagement, the responsible parties (mostly clients) enjoy the leverage to:

  • Avoid evaluating the underlying subject matter against the criteria themselves, though they have to be accountable for the same
  • Avoid expending resources to evaluate the subject matter against criteria
  • Avoid providing a written assertion to the Practitioner

SSAE No. 21 also adds a new section in AICPA Professional Standards as AT-C Section 206, Direct Examination Engagements, which includes:

  • Amendments attributing chiefly to new terminologies against AT-C Section 105, Concepts Common to All Attestation Engagements
  • Superseding criteria for AT-C Section 205 against AT-C Section 206, as reasonable assurance engagements. It is to note that Revised AT-C Section 205 empowers practitioners to perform assertion-based examination engagements.
  • SSAE No. 21 makes practitioners’ reports dated on or after June 15, 2022 effective against which early implementation is permitted.

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