October 2000

Quality is no secret

In this month’s installment in The CPA Journal’s ongoing Millennium Series, the elusive concept of quality comes under the microscope in the form of the peer review.

As is often the case and as the article shows, the secret is that there really are no secrets. Successful peer reviews are the result of strategic thinking, hard work, and a mind-set that sees embracing the peer review process as an opportunity to internalize quality as part of the firm’s culture. The “secret” strategies are as follows:

  • Build quality into the firm philosophy
  • Create a system that works
  • Emphasize engagement performance
  • Anticipate problem engagements
  • Compile and maintain firm statistics
  • Select and deal with the reviewer forthrightly.

    Firms that apply these secrets find that, rather than adopting standards with the goal of passing peer review, the peer review standards provide a roadmap for systematic improvement. Peer review becomes a means to an end rather than an end in itself. The end is a well-managed firm and higher-quality service for its clients. q

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