SAS 70 & Your TPA

sas 70Over the past decade SAS 70 Certification has become an increasingly common standard for service related businesses. At Athens we have seen SAS 70 Certification evolve from casual inquiries by clients to becoming a mandatory minimum requirement for many entities today. Athens is proud to be SAS 70 Type II Certified.

Quick Facts about SAS 70 Certification

  • SAS 70 is short for Statement on Auditing Standards Number 70.
  • The SAS 70 was developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
  • There are (2) types of SAS 70 audits – TYPE I and TYPE II
  • SAS 70 TYPE I – Defines the internal controls that an operation
    has in place.
  • SAS 70 TYPE II – Tests over a period of time the internal controls that were defined in the SAS 70 Type I audit.
  • SAS 70 Audits are almost always performed by independent Accounting firms.

What a SAS 70 Audit accomplishes

The process is detailed, lengthy and overall very involved for the TPA that is being audited. The end result of a TYPE I audit is an independent document which spells out all of the controls (quality, financial, etc…) that a TPA has in place. The next step is a TYPE II Audit. This tends to be an equally lengthy process which involves the Independent Accounting firm spending significant time (usually six months) within the TPA. During this time the Independent Accounting firm is testing and validating that all of the internal controls that were defined in the TYPE I Audit are actually being executed. If they are, the TPA passes and receives SAS 70 TYPE II Certification. If they are not, the TPA will not be Certified until they can successfully demonstrate their internal procedures and controls.

Why some TPA’s avoid SAS 70 Audits

  • Cash – SAS 70 Audits are very expensive to achieve and maintain.
  • Fear – TPA’s may not want to face and address the issue of inadequate internal controls.
  • Time – Internal resources spread too thin to commit to completing the audit process.

Why Athens opted to achieve SAS 70 Type II Certification

  • Status! We are a great service company and feel that achieving this high level of certification further distances us from our non-SAS 70 Type II compliant competitors.
  • Certification is becoming a standard expectation for high level service companies. Athens’ goal is to always exceed what is “standard” when it comes to measuring our operational effectiveness.
  • We knew that Athens had very solid internal controls in place, but it was important to us to receive Independent confirmation.