AICPA Adopts Standards for Forensic Services

The AICPA has issued a new standard for forensic accounting engagements, Statement on Standards for Forensic Services (SSFS) No. 1 ((FS section 100)), Forensic Services: Definitions and Standards. The SSFS is a new set of CPA professional standards for members to provide more tailored authoritative guidance to members that perform forensic service engagements.

Forensic Services

The SSFS were developed and issued by the by the Forensic and Valuation Services Executive.

Committee (FVS Executive Committee). They provide guidance and establish enforceable standards for members performing certain forensic and valuation services. The FVS developed the standard in response to the rapid growth in employment in forensic accounting. A report from market research firm IBISWorld showed that employment in forensic accounting grew at an annualized rate of 18% from 2012 to 2017. With the increasing demand for forensic services, the development of a forensic standard is intended to improve consistency and quality.

The new standard classifies forensic engagements as services provided for “investigation” or “litigation.” It also includes prohibitions on providing legal opinions and performing certain forensic services for a contingent fee.

Effective Date

Although the exposure draft proposed that the effective date of the SSFS would be for new engagements accepted on or after May 1, 2019, the final standard changed that proposal. The new standards are effective for engagements accepted on or after January 1, 2020.


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