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What is the difference between an issuer and a nonissuer?

When conducting audit, auditors will either be performing their engagement on issuers or nonissuers. Issuers are defined by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as entities that must file or register their financial statements with the SEC. In addition, audit engagements of issuers must follow standards stated by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). Whereas nonissuers are defined as nonpublic companies (private companies) and audit engagements for these entities must be in compliance with the AICPA’s Auditing Standard Board’s Statements on Auditing Standards (SAS)

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) provides generally accepted auditing standards for issuers. This will provide guidance for audits of annual historical financial statements, special reports, and interim financial statements. The standard setting body for the PCAOB is the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (created by the SEC). 

Issuers – are public companies that must file their financial statements with the SEC, and they are subject to auditing standards set forth by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).

The Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) describes generally accepted auditing standards for audits of nonissuers. In addition, these standards provide guidance for other nonissuer services such as specific reports to nonissuers as well as interim financial statements for nonissuers. The standard setting body for SAS is the AICPA Auditing Standards Board.

Nonissuers – are private companies (nonpublic) and they are subject to Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS), which are set forth by the AICPA.


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