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Glossary definition: SSAE 16

SSAE 16: Auditing Standards Overview

Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) No. 16 is an attestation standard issued by the Auditing Standards Board (ASB) of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). It replaces the previous standard, Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) No. 70, and is used by service organizations to demonstrate their internal controls, processes, and systems are suitably designed and operating effectively. SSAE 16 is a service auditor's attestation that a service organization has been through an in-depth evaluation of their control objectives and control activities, and the results of that evaluation have been reported. It requires the service auditor to obtain an understanding of the service organization's control environment, assess the risk of material misstatement, test the operating effectiveness of the controls, and obtain sufficient appropriate evidence to support the opinion on the design and operating effectiveness of the controls. SSAE 16 also requires management of the service organization to provide written assertions regarding the design and operating effectiveness of the controls. The service auditor must then evaluate the evidence obtained and the assertions made by management, and provide a report that expresses an opinion on the fairness of the presentation of the description of the service organization's system, and the suitability of the design and operating effectiveness of the controls.