As a firm providing assurance and accounting services and a member of the AICPA and the Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center, we are required to undergo every three years an independent peer review which consists of an independent evaluation of the effectiveness our system of quality control over our accounting and assurance practice.
It is based on the concept that a larger and more diverse group of people will usually find more weaknesses and errors in a work or performance and will be able to make a more impartial evaluation of it than will just the person or group responsible for creating the work or performance.
Peer review utilizes the independence, and in some cases the anonymity, of the reviewers in order to discourage cronyism (i.e., favoritism shown to relatives and friends) and obtain an unbiased evaluation. Typically, the reviewers are not selected from among the close colleagues, relatives or friends of the creator or performer of the work, and potential reviewers are required to disclose of any conflicts of interest.
Peer review helps maintain and enhance quality both directly by detecting weaknesses and errors in specific works and performance and indirectly by providing a basis for making decisions about rewards and punishment that can provide a powerful incentive to achieve excellence. These rewards and punishments are related to prestige, publication, research grants, employment, compensation, promotion, tenure and disciplinary action.
We are proud to report that Stewart Archibald & Barney received an opinion from an independent peer reviewer that our system of quality control for the accounting and auditing practice of our firm was designed and complied with to provide us with reasonable assurance of conforming with professional standards.