Compliance for Consulting Firms


The services being performed by consulting firms today can encompass a very broad range. Services can span from specific accounting functions such as the sales and use tax preparation and processing services to a firm doing marketing and product development research for their customers. Whether the consulting firm is performing outsourced services that are relevant to internal controls over the financial reporting for their customers or not, they will more than likely be asked to provide some type of compliance attestation report. ‘Services that are relevant to internal controls over financial reporting’ can range from providing access controls over financial data to recording or manipulating financial data for the user organization. The SOC 1® attestation report would be the best solution for consulting firms performing outsourced services that are relevant to internal controls over their customers’ financial reporting. The SOC 2® would be the best solution for consulting firms not involved in internal controls over the financial reporting of their customers.

Increased demand for security, privacy and regulatory compliance has escalated the need for consulting firms to become SOC 1® or SOC 2® compliant. Both of these compliance attestations play an important role for consulting firms by establishing credibility and trust with their customers and have been used as a marketing tool to enter new markets or expand existing market share.

Information security is not the only relevant component for consulting firms that are responsible for recording and processing transactions that have a financial impact to their customers. Their SOC 1® attestation should have an appropriate balance of information technology and quality control procedures over the transaction processing to ensure that customer’s records are secure and account balances are accurate and reliable.
Consulting Firm’s SOC 1® attestation involves the following critical areas:

  1. Control Environment: the organizational level controls also known as “tone at the top” which consists of management’s oversight and internal operational level controls.
  2. Physical Security: the protection of information systems as it relates to third party data.
  3. Environmental Security: the protection of information systems and data from environmental threats.
  4. Data backups: the availability and protection of third parties’ data.
  5. System Availability: the availability of information systems to user organizations.
  6. Application Change Control: the processing and procedures used to ensure that systems function per user requirements.
  7. Information Security: the logical protection of data from unauthorized system access.
  8. Specific Service: Roosa CPA, LLC will work with management to define specific objectives related to their third-party service(s).

Consulting firms not involved in internal controls over the financial reporting for their customers can meet their customers’ compliance requirements by obtaining a SOC 2® attestation report.

Consulting Firm’s SOC 2® attestation involves the following critical areas:


  1. Security: the system is protected against unauthorized access (both physical and logical).
  2. Availability: the system is available for operation and use as committed or agreed.
  3. Processing Integrity: system processing is complete, accurate, timely and authorized.
  4. Confidentiality: information designated as confidential is protected as committed or agreed.
  5. Privacy: personal information is collected, used, retained, disclosed and destroyed in conformity with commitments in the organization’s privacy notice and with criteria set forth in generally accepted privacy principle issued by the AICPA and CICA.

The scope of the SOC 1® and SOC 2® attestations are determined by the consulting firm. Accordingly, a well scoped attestation can clearly demonstrate your organization’s quality of service and ensure that sufficient information is provided to your user organizations to communicate your stringent controls over physical security, environmental security, authorized access and continuous availability of services.

Compliance Process

We tailor every attestation engagement to our client’s requirements. However, we have a fundamental four phase process that normally meets our clients’ needs and creates an efficient, unobtrusive attestation that enables you to focus on your business while we focus on your compliance.

<h2 style="display:inline;">Scope</h2>(Phase 1): Not every SOC 1<sup>®</sup> and/or SOC 2<sup>®</sup> attestation engagement have the same requirements. Each company can vary depending on the type of services they perform for their customers. We have years of experience working with just about every industry and work with our clients to ensure that we cover the appropriate scope to ensure your customers’ needs are satisfied. While the scoping phase of our attestation is normally covered during our initial quoting process, we offer a formal meeting with our clients to ensure we have a mutual understanding of the attestation goals.
Plan (Phase 2): We offer two options for the planning phase of your attestation engagement:<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> We provide our in-house developed questionnaires and request list that are based on industry leading compliance frameworks such as CobiT, ISO 27000, PCI and HIPAA. Customers benefit from this approach by getting to work at their own pace with just a deadline in mind.<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> The other option is an onsite visit to perform walkthroughs of the relevant service offerings. We then customize our attestation plan and deliver a detailed document request list to prepare our clients for phase three (fieldwork).<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] -->
<p><h2 style="display:inline;">Fieldwork</h2> (Phase 3): Our auditors have a minimum of five years of experience with the Big 4 global CPA firms, large consulting firms and smaller boutique firms that specialize in SOC 1<sup>®</sup> and/or SOC 2<sup>®</sup> attestations. Due to this, we are efficient and understand what is required for each attestation.</p>
Report & Market (Phase 4): YourSOC 1<sup>®</sup> and/or SOC 2<sup>®</sup> service auditor’s report is essentially the product for which you pay. We provide well defined and quality written reports that focus on providing your customers with everything they need from a third-party assurance perspective. We take pride in delivering professional quality reports in a timely manner; we stand behind everything we issue. Publicizing or marketing your service auditor’s report is the opportunity for your attestation to pay for itself. A major benefit from completing the SOC 1<sup>®</sup> and/or SOC 2<sup>®</sup> attestation is the tangible return on investment that is created from having your company examined under the SSAE 18 standard for SOC 1<sup>®</sup> and/or SOC 2<sup>®</sup>. We provide customized press release information and a SOC for Service Organizations logo to place on your web site, all included in our fixed fee pricing.

Project Timeline: Four Phase Attestation

For More Information Speak to a Service Auditor at Roosa CPA, LLC (877) 410-8516

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