The Certified Public Accountant has always been subject to scrutiny by the legal system to ensure that the interest of the public is best served. In fact, over the last thirty years, the number of malpractice suits against accountants has increased. The increase in accountant malpractice litigation is a result of the public's perception that the CPA guarantees the accuracy of financial statements, and that the CPA has sizeable financial resources, along with malpractice insurance. Prior to the Elliott Report in 1997, CPA liability was limited to fraud, breach of contract, and negligence in the traditional areas of audit, accounting, and tax. As with any other industries, the public accounting profession recognized the need to expand the services performed by CPAs in order to increase their revenues, add value to their clients, and maintain a presence in the financial services industry. With advances in technology, such as ecommerce, maintaining a presence in financial services is becoming more challenging for today's CPAs. Therefore, in 1994, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) formed a committee called the Special Committee on Assurance Services (SCAS) to address the changing dynamics of the public accounting. The responsibility of this committee was to develop a strategic plan to expand the assurance services offered by the accounting profession. Ultimately, this committee produced the Elliott Report in 1997. This report indicated that systems reliability, system risk identification, and impact analysis would be key potential areas where CPAs could increase their revenues. Hence, the SysTrust assurance service was born.

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2001

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2003 College of Law. This article first appeared in FSU Business Review 1, no. 1 (Summer 2001): 95-102.

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