SSAE 16 Certification is a phrase I keep hearing over and over again. It’s not really a huge issue, but for an ounce of technical clarity, there is no such thing as SSAE 16 certification, just as there was no such thing as SAS 70 certification. Both of these phrases were born out of a true misunderstanding of the historical SAS 70 auditing standard and the current SSAE 16 attest standard. Technically speaking, SSAE 16 is an attestation standard put forth by the Auditing Standards Board (ASB) of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), for which a practitioner (i.e., service auditor) uses the standard to perform an attest engagement for a service organization, resulting in the issuance of a service auditor’s report on controls.
There is no designation, certification, award, confirmation, or any other type of validation for an actual SSAE 16 assessment. It’s best to summarize that a service organization simply undertakes an assessment in accordance with the SSAE 16 standard, resulting in the issuance of report with a stated opinion, generally unqualified, by a CPA firm as part of the report. So, if you hear the term SSAE 16 certification, you can politely remind your colleagues or other interested parties that this technically incorrect. With that said, if your organization is seeking a well-qualified, cost-effective provider for SSAE 16 assessment services, then contact NDB Accountants & Consultants, a nationally recognized PCAOB CPA firm, at 1-800-277-5415, ext. 706. Additionally, if you want to learn more about SSAE 16, visit the official SSAE 16 Resource Guide, developed by NDB, where you can learn more about the following essential information:
- Background on SSAE 16
- Description of the “System”
- Written Statement of Assertion
- AICPA Service Organization Control (SOC) framework
- SSAE 16 Readiness Assessment