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SSAE 16 Summary | 4 Important Points you Need to Know from NDB Accountants & Consultants

Thursday, July 7th, 2011 by admin

Need a quick SSAE 16 summary or primer on the new standard put forth by the Auditing Standards Board (ASB) of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)? If so, take note of the following SSAE 16 summary areas:

1. SSAE 16 has effectively replaced SAS 70. SAS 70, which was put forth in April of 1992 is no longer an auditing standard in use.  This is critically important as it represents one of the most significant changes in reporting on controls for service organizations. For the first time in almost twenty years, we have a new “attest” standard for reporting.

2. SSAE 16 is part of a much bigger, broader change.  That’s right, not only did SSAE 16 replace SAS 70, but an entirely new reporting platform for service organizations has been introduced. Known as Service Organization Control (SOC) reports, organizations can now opt for SOC 1, SOC 2, and/or SOC 3 reporting.

3. Learn about the new SOC reporting options. The new AICPA alphabet of reporting on controls at service organizations can seem a little confusing, but for an ounce of clarity, try and remember the following for your SSAE 16 summary primer:

  • SOC 1 reports are to use the SSAE 16 standard and should generally be issued when there is a true and credible link or “nexus” to the internal control over financial reporting (ICFR) concept.
  • SOC 2 and SOC 3 reports are a great choice for the growing number of cloud computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) based entities.

4. Learn about the written statement of assertion and the description of the service organization’s “system”.  In short, the written statement of assertion requires management to effectively “assert” to a number of clauses regarding the actual assessment performed by a practitioner (i.e., CPA). Additionally, the description of the “system” requires management of the service organization to comprehensively document their “system”.

That’s a brief SSAE 16 summary for you, thus if you want to learn more about Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements No. 16, visit the official SSAE 16 Resource Guide, developed by NDB Accountants &  Consultants, a nationally recognized PCAOB CPA firm.

Lastly, if you are in need of SSAE 16 services at a competitive, fixed-fee, contact NDB directly at 1-800-277-5415, ext. 706.

SOC 2 Reports and AT Section 101 | Reporting on Controls Relevant to Security, Availability, Processing integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy

Saturday, January 1st, 2011 by admin

SOC 2 reports, which will come to be known as Reporting on Controls Relevant to Security, Availability, Processing integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy, are to be conducted in accordance with AT Section 101. Thus, SOC 2 will effectively insert itself as the primary reporting option to be used for service organizations reporting on controls outside the scope of financial reporting.  In simpler terms, Software as a Service (SaaS) companies, software development entities, cloud computing organizations, data centers, managed services, and many more, will be using the SOC 2 framework for reporting on controls.  And much like SOC 1 reporting, a service organization can either be issued two (2) type of SOC 2 reports, a Type 1 and a Type 2.

If you stop and think about it, this is quite significant for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, the SOC 2 framework is specifically geared towards the exponential growth of technology and security related service organizations, of which many provide outsourcing services to user entities.  Second, it hopefully will correct a huge misunderstanding within the business community at large; the myth that SAS 70 was an all-in-one reporting standard for any type of service organization.  As you now know, this is simply untrue and we now have an acceptable and viable reporting option for controls outside the scope of financial reporting.

Lastly, SOC 2 reports are designed to address generally the following key system attributes and traits:

  • Availability: That the system is available for operation and use as committed or agreed.
  • Security: That the system is protected against unauthorized access, both physically and logically.
  • Processing Integrity: That System processing is complete, accurate, timely, and authorized.
  • Confidentiality: That the information held by an organization is securely protected.
  • Privacy: That personal information is protected.

As a service organization, you will need to evaluate your current compliance requirements and commitments to your customers and start to ask yourself what reporting option do “we” fall under, SOC 1, SOC, or even SOC 3?  If you have been receiving SAS 70 audit reports from your CPA firm in the past, what do your customers expect in the future?  More importantly, what is the correct SOC reporting framework that “we” should adhere to?  NDB Accountants and Consultants can help answer these pressing questions regarding the new compliance requirements with the SOC framework. 

When you add it all up, phrases like SOC 1, SOC 2, SOC 3, SSAE 16, and AT Section 101 can become quite confusing. Get the facts and speak to an expert. Call Chris Nickell, CPA, directly at 1-800-277-5415, ext. 706 to get the answers you need.  Furthermore, you can email Chris at cnickell@ndbcpa.com.


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