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Agreed upon procedures

An agreed-upon procedures (AUP) engagement involves a written factual report of findings from a professional accountant’s testing and review. AUP differs from assurance reporting because no opinion is issued and the report is written for a more restricted audience. AUP allows directors and trustees receiving the report to form their own conclusions based on the factual findings presented to them.

The value of AUP comes from performing focused detailed tests by an experienced ICAEW accountant who has the expertise to carry out the tests with efficiency, rigour, and independence.

Typical examples would be an AUP review of the calculations of pension scheme member contributions on behalf of a board of trustees, and agreed-upon procedure testing to gain confidence over how well individual member data has been kept in the past by a third party pension administrator.

An AUP engagement will often use the International Standards on Related Services (ISRS) 4400 Engagement to Perform Agreed-upon Procedures on Financial Information as guidance even where non financial information is being reported on because of the clear set of principles it establishes for carrying out agreed-upon procedures.

Applying ISRS 4400 AUP engagements is carried out with the same rigour as audit and assurance engagements with a clear agreement between all parties. For instance a typical AUP for a pension trustee would:

  • have a detailed letter of engagement;
  • state the purpose of the engagement;
  • give the limitations of use and distribution of the report;
  • identify the information to which the agreed-upon procedures would be applied;
  • specify the nature, timing and extent of the procedures;
  • and
  • produce a pro-forma of the expected factual findings.

How comfortable are you, as a trustee, over the retirement benefit calculations being produced by your administrator and the use of member data in general? You can review the Assure UK AUP guidelines for pension trustees.