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What is the difference between GAAS and SAS?

It is important to understand that GAAS (generally accepted auditing standards) provides the general standards that are applicable to ANY audit engagements. However, depending on whether the company being audited is public (issuer) or private (nonissuer), there are specific sets of standards under GAAS that must be followed. Basically, the PCAOB standards and SAS are refinements of GAAS.

PCAOB: For public companies, PCAOB auditing standards must be followed. PCAOB auditing standards are set by the PCAOB and summarize the specific rules under GAAS that must be followed.

SAS: For private companies, SAS (statements on auditing standards must be followed. SAS is set by the AICPA and summarize the specific rules under GAAS that must be followed.

There are plenty of similarities between SAS and PCAOB standards, but there are also a number of differences.


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