MNCPA PERSPECTIVES

Peer Review enters the PRIMA era

May 22, 2017  |  Faye Hayhurst, CPA

PRIMA is the latest acronym in the accounting world, and anyone involved in peer review -- whether as a firm or as a reviewer -- needs to get familiar with it.

What is PRIMA? It's a lovely shorthand way of referring to the AICPA's new Peer Review Integrated Management Application. This application — years in the making — provides a major update to the way the peer review process is carried out. The paper forms of the past are gone, and they are replaced with an all-electronic, interactive system.

PRIMA will apply to all firms that have a peer review, whether or not the firm has members who belong to the AICPA. PRIMA will be used to:

  • Enter information about the firm and the types of engagements it performs.
  • Schedule a reviewer.
  • Respond to matters raised by the reviewer.
  • If the firm is required to perform any corrective actions, then it must upload proof of completion of those actions.

In addition, almost all peer review-related correspondence will be sent to the firm electronically, but not as a potentially unsecured email attachment. Instead, the firm will receive email notification to log in to PRIMA to retrieve the correspondence.

Firms will also be able to use PRIMA to update their firm's information (such as the name of the peer review contact), request changes or extensions, or enroll or unenroll from the program. In the past, these requests were much more cumbersome to the firm and required an intermediary.

Whenever new technology is rolled out, we can expect some bugs will need to be worked out, and PRIMA is no exception. The AICPA is providing technical support for user issues, and we expect quicker response times as the initial flood of calls settle into a steady stream.

The AICPA has great PRIMA resources, including archived webcasts on using PRIMA, FAQs, and a “Getting Started in PRIMA” document.

One of the cool features about PRIMA is that within the application is a Knowledge Base with articles on many aspects of using PRIMA. The Knowledge Base continues to be added to frequently as more guidance is developed.

No one much enjoys change and learning a new system. But the PRIMA era could be the start of something really good.

Topics: Peer Review

Faye Hayhurst, CPA

Faye Hayhurst is the MNCPA director of finance and administration. She is committed to using numbers to tell relevant stories, although she also employs words, charts and occasionally clothing to communicate a message. While some have questioned her about the pressures of being the CPA for the MNCPA, Faye considers presenting financial information to fellow CPAs a dream job. Outside of storytelling with numbers, Faye enjoys directing her church's handbell choir, visiting national parks and other scenic places, and checking out the chocolate products at Trader Joe's. Faye can be reached at 952-885-5540 or fhayhurst@mncpa.org.

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