Defending Certified Public Accountants (CPAs)
Ray & Bishop attorneys provide aggressive representation for CPAs in matters related to license applications, investigations, investigative hearings, disclosures, denials, accusations, appeals, reinstatements, and other legal issues. Our approach is simple: we aim to prevent problems, fight for our clients when they are accused, and appeal unfair outcomes. With our focused and experienced license and regulatory practice, we offer you a competitive advantage. For a prompt, thorough, and thoughtful discussion of your legal matter, contact Ray & Bishop and speak with one of our attorneys.
Defending CPAs in a Range of Situations
Choosing an experienced and knowledgeable license defense attorney is crucial in achieving the best possible outcome from your Board of Accountancy of California license matter. At Ray & Bishop, our attorneys are dedicated to defending CPAs in a wide range of disciplinary situations, which may include:
- Criminal convictions.
- License discipline from other state boards of accountancy, other professional licenses, PCAOB, or FINRA.
- Practicing under an unlicensed corporation or unapproved DBA name.
- Deficiencies in Peer Review.
- Failure to complete required continuing education.
- Falsification of continuing education reporting.
- Violations of conflict of interest rules.
- Breaching rules of client confidentiality.
- Failure to preserve and protect client files.
- Negligence in public accounting work.
- Gross and repeated acts of negligence in accounting work.
- Failure to use an engagement letter in audit work.
- Civil judgment for fraud, misrepresentation, theft, or dishonest acts.
- Unlawful receipt of commissions.
- Charging a contingency fee for the preparation of a tax return or audit.
Adverse History Disclosures on CPA License Applications
For CPAs going through the Physician Assistant license application process, Ray & Bishop can also provide legal representation. Issues that may pose problems in physician license applications include criminal convictions or a history of discipline with another licensing board or California licensing agency.
Ray & Bishop is here to support CPAs in any regulatory agency contact that may lead to an adverse outcome. Our representation includes:
- Mandated disclosures.
- Inquiries from enforcement analysts.
- Inquiries from Board Investigative CPAs.
- Investigative hearings before the Board Enforcement Advisory Committee.
- Hearings before the Board Qualifications Committee.
- Petition for an Interim Suspension Order.
- Petition for a suspension order in Criminal Court.
- Administrative Hearing on an Accusation.
- Denial of a License Application.
- Appeal of an adverse decision by a Writ of Administrative Mandamus.
- Petition for Modification or Early Termination of Board Probation.
- Petition for Reinstatement of a License.
Common Questions from CPAs for Ray & Bishop
I’ve been contacted by a Board analyst or Investigative CPA. What should I do?
It is crucial to hire an attorney in this situation. Any statements you make to an investigator can be used against you later in court. An attorney can step in, resolve misunderstandings, proactively address board concerns, prevent intrusive and oppressive harassment by investigators, and facilitate communication between you and the board in a managed, documented, and controlled manner.
How should I reveal a past problem on an application, renewal form, or disclosure form?
It is important to be truthful and careful when disclosing past problems. At Ray & Bishop, we understand the tools the Board uses to detect adverse events and fact-check your application or renewal form for honesty and accuracy. We know the rules regarding what must be disclosed and what does not need to be disclosed. If an explanation is required, we can assist with strategic messaging considerations to minimize the risk of denial or discipline resulting from the disclosure.
I just received a letter denying my application. What’s my recourse?
If you receive a letter from the Board of Accountancy denying your application, it should offer a hearing option if requested within 60 days of the date of the letter. To ensure you don’t miss any important deadlines, it is best to promptly contact Ray & Bishop for a consultation to review the letter.
Do I need an attorney if I appear at an Investigative Hearing?
Board of Accountancy investigative hearings are serious proceedings that involve questioning by an Enforcement Advisory Committee, with a Deputy Attorney conducting the questioning. The proceedings are on the record and transcribed by a court reporter. An attorney is essential to prepare for questioning, protect your rights during the hearing, and present a strong defense, mitigation, and rehabilitation strategy.
I’ve received an Accusation. What’s my next step?
In such a situation, you have only 15 days from the date the Accusation was sent to you (not from the date you received it) to file the Notice of Defense. It is crucial to promptly turn this matter over to an attorney to ensure the deadline is met and the filing of the Notice of Defense is properly documented.
How do I pay for an attorney?
Ray & Bishop accepts all major credit cards, bank debit cards, checks, money orders, and cash. In certain circumstances, interest-free payment plans may be available.
Unique Aspects of CPA License Cases
The Board of Accountancy employs two types of investigators: enforcement analysts and Investigative CPAs. Enforcement analysts handle less technical cases, such as criminal convictions, CE deficiencies, and minor complaints. Investigative CPAs are responsible for investigating negligence and alleged violations of professional standards. It is important for licensees to respond to Board inquiries or subpoenas within 30 days, as failure to do so may be considered unprofessional conduct. CPAs are also legally obligated to cooperate with Board investigations.
Instead of being directly interviewed by Board investigators, the Board of Accountancy may assign an Enforcement Advisory Committee to conduct an Investigative Hearing, with a court reporter and Deputy Attorney General present. This unique procedure sets the Board of Accountancy apart from other California licensing boards.