Peer Review Board Advisories for Peer Reviewers

While corresponding with the Board mention correct RE/PU number.
Firm’s letterhead should not be used while corresponding with the Board or the PU.
Any names either of employer or partner or clients should not be mentioned while corresponding with the Board or the PU.
Before commencing the peer review exercise study in detail the Peer Review Manual.
While conducting peer review ensure adherence to the Statement on Peer Review and the guidelines issued by the Board.
Ensure adherence to the Illustrative Time Schedule given in the Peer Review Manual.
Formal consent letter accepting peer review assignment, together with the Statement of Confidentiality or letter intimating non-acceptance with reasons should be sent to the Board and not to the PU.
    In cases where the Board has permitted an assistant, the Statement of Confidentiality of the Assistant, if any, assisting you in the assignment should also be sent. (Para 2.06 of Peer Review Manual)
    While conducting peer review ensure adherence with AAS wherever applicable. Few examples are given hereunder: -
        Document working papers of the review performed and findings, including matters that indicate deficiencies in the PU's policies and procedures relating to quality control and significant lack of compliance therewith. (AAS3 – Documentation)
        Obtain written representations from the PU, wherever required. (AAS 11 – Representations by Management)
        A Letter of engagement may be sent to the PU. (AAS 26 – Terms of Audit Engagement)
    The number of attestation engagements to be reviewed should be selected by exercising professional judgement based on the evaluation of the questionnaire and the size of the PU. Obtain a reasonable cross-section of the PU’s clients although greater weight may be given to large clients.
    An attestation engagement, which is the subject matter of any disciplinary proceedings before ICAI or any other judicial body, should not be reviewed.
    A combination of compliance procedures and substantive procedures may be followed throughout the peer review process. The mix of compliance and substantive procedures should be decided by exercising professional judgement.
    In case the review exercise is likely to exceed 2 days, inform the PU as well as the Board, in advance, indicating the additional time to be taken, with reasons. However ensure that the review exercise does not exceed 72 hours.
    Compliance with four focus areas mentioned below should be seen:
        Compliance with Technical standards
        Quality of reporting
        Office systems and procedures
        Training programs for staff

An unqualified report may be issued only if there is reasonable compliance of the above.

    After on- site visit issue a Preliminary Report for PU’s response.
    PU’s response to the Preliminary Report should be obtained in writing.
    Point out the deficiencies or non-compliances noticed during the course of review and do not give any advice/suggestions in the Preliminary Report.
    Review findings should be discussed with the PU before finalizing the Peer Review Report (Final-clean/qualified).
    Any objections raised by the PU must be dealt with before submitting the Peer Review Report (Final-clean/qualified) to the Board.
    Issue the Peer Review Report (Final-clean/qualified) after discussing draft report with the Practice Unit.
    Peer Review Report should be issued on Reviewer’s personal letter-head, alongwith RE number/PU number and correct name of the PU.
    Peer Review report should be addressed to the Board and should be dated as of the date of the conclusion of the review.
    Peer Review Report (Final-clean/qualified) should be prepared in the prescribed format(s) as given in the Peer Review Manual.
    Peer Review Report (Final-clean/qualified) should be clear and specific and it should also be free of any ambiguity.
    Peer Review Report (Final-clean/qualified) may also contain suggestions.
    Peer Review Report (Final-clean/qualified) should contain an attachment, which describes the peer review conducted including an overview and information on planning and performing the review.
    Ensure that there is no contradiction in the information given in the Annexure to the Report and the Peer Review Report.
    While submitting the Peer Review Report (Final-clean/qualified) to the Board, enclose Annexure to the Report, copy of the questionnaire submitted by the PU, copy of Preliminary Report and PU’s response thereto and the manner in which PU’s representation has been dealt with.
    Copy of the Peer Review Report (Final-clean/qualified) should also be sent to the PU, while submitting to the Board.
    Wherever so ordered by the Board, complete the follow-up review within the stipulated time period.
    While conducting follow-up review cover the period, subsequent to the period covered in the Qualified Final Report.
    The follow-up report should be in the format of Final Report, accompanied by the Annexure. It should contain reference to the letter from the Board, directing follow-up review.
    The follow-up report should contain an attachment indicating how the PU has dealt with the deficiencies pointed out in the earlier review.
    The cost of review and TA/DA wherever applicable should be charged at the rates notified by the Board, from time to time, for various Stages.
    Ensure confidentiality of the contents of review report or working paper file, document or other material in any form coming to the knowledge while performing peer review.

Extracts of the client’s file or records examined while conducting peer review should not be carried, as a part of the working papers.