Questions – Regarding Complaints Against CPA’s
1. Can I search for someone’s license ?
Yes, you can in two ways:
You can call by telephone to Customer Contact Center at 850-487-1395
or there is a licensing portal at www.myfloridalicense.com, click Search for a License,
2. How do I know for sure that my “accountant” is a CPA?
By looking up the license at the link below:
3. What information is do I need to file a complaint against a CPA?
Documentation to support allegations
All court orders
Documents relating to the complaint
A list of all witnesses with theircontact information
4. Am I allowed to file an anonymous complaint?
You are allowed but you must supply supporting documentation.
It would be helpful to have a contact name/address/phone number to contact the complainant, but this information is not necessary.
5. How do I get the complaint form?
6. How does the process of a complaint work?
After receiving the complaint, a copy of the form and all supporting documentation is sent to the subject for a written response within 20 days. More information may be requested from both the subject and complainant. After the investigation is complete, the documentation is then sent to the Office of General Counsel for review and recommendation to the Probable Cause Panel.
7. How do I know when the investigation is complete?
The complainant will be informed when the investigation is finished and the file is forwarded to the Office of General Counsel. After reviewing the file, the Office of General Counsel and the Probable Cause Panel, the complainant will receive written notification of their action.
8. What will then happen to my complaint once the investigation is complete?
The file is then forwarded to the Office of General Counsel for review. The case is also reviewed by the Probable Cause Panel and they determine the outcome of the investigation. After which a CPA can be disciplined, the case can be closed, or the CPA can be issued a letter of guidance or caution.
9. Will the complaints become public records?
If there is probable cause found, the complaint becomes public record. If no probable cause is found or letters of guidance/caution are issued, then the case remains private.
10. Will a complaint ever be closed at the local level?
Yes, if there is a lack of insufficient evidence.
11. Can I ever withdraw my complaint?
Yes, a complaint may be withdrawn by the complainant if a written statement is provided.
12. How can my other questions or concerns regarding the complaint process be answered?
Please visit http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/cpa/index.html.
13. Can I find out if a complaint has been filed against my license or firm?
Yes, the Board will send out a copy of the complaint and supporting documentation. Once you receive information, you will have 20 days to respond in writing to the office.
14. Should I seek an attorney if a complaint has been filed against my license?
It is not required to have an attorney to represent the CPA . The decision to seek representation by an attorney is up to the individual.
15. What if Probable Cause is found against me?
The Probable Cause Panel takes into consideration the nature and severity of the violation and public harm. The disciplinary actions can include: corrective action, probation, suspension, revocation, limitation of practice, and fines/costs.
16. Can you tell me when Notices of Non-Compliance are issued?
The notices of Non-Compliance are only issued for Florida licensed CPAs and are issued for minor violations. For more information, please refer to Rule 61H1-36.0055 Minor Violation, Notice of Non-Compliance.
17. Is it required to be a board member of a condo association to file a complaint against a CPA/firm?
You do not have to be a board member, anyone can file a complaint.
18. Does the Board of Accountancy investigate condos and their respective boards?
The Board of Accountancy only conducts investigations relating to CPA activity, so no they do not. For complaints relating to condos and their respective boards, contact The Division of Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes.
19. Can the Board of Accountancy ever force CPA’s/firms to comply with providing information to condo owners?
No, you need to refer all questions to the Division of Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes.
20. Is the CPA/firm responsibile for reporting to the condo association of suspected fraud or embezzlement?
Yes, if the CPA finds fraud, then they have a duty to report it. During an audit, a CPA must make a concerted, professional effort to determine if there is fraud involved.
21. Please explain what an engagement letter.
The engagement letter is a contract which specifies the services and fees to be performed.
22. Is an engagement letter be required?
It is recommended but not required.
23. How long are a CPA records required to be maintained?
Maintain your records for seven years.
24. How can I get a copy of the Florida Statutes?
25. Can a CPA be reported for known criminal activities?
F.S. 473.323 (1), (d) -Being convicted or found guilty of, or entering a plea of nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a crime in any jurisdiction which directly relates to the practice of public accounting or the ability to practice public accounting.
26. Must you have to be a Florida CPA or have a Florida CPA firm license in order to perform bookkeeping or tax related services?
No, it is not required to be a Florida licensed CPA to perform these types of services.
27. If you are not a CPA but offer bookkeeping and tax preparation to clients. Does one need to follow Florida Statutes?
Florida Board of Accountancy’s jurisdiction is limited to Florida licensed CPA/firm licensees. Unlicensed individuals or firms are not permitted to use the title of CPA in signage, business cards/stationery, advertisements or other forms of media.
28. I received a letter offering accounting services from someone stating they are a CPA. I checked the website to verify licensure, but they were not licensed in the State of Florida. Are they allowed to advertise they are licensed if they are not? If not, can a complaint against them be filed?
You can file an unlicensed activity complaint against them. You will need to provide proof that the subject is using titles or designations “CPA” or title, designation, words, letters, abbreviations, sign, card.
Yes, an unlicensed activity complaint can be filed. Complaints against unlicensed individuals, firms and community association managers are not confidential. However, if your complaint is not against an unlicensed individual, firm or community association manager, then the department is prohibited from discussing the details of your complaint with you any further. This is pursuant to Section 455.225(10), Florida Statutes, which states: “The complaint and all information obtained pursuant to the investigation by the department is confidential and exempt from S. 119.09(1) until 10 days after probable cause has been found to exist by the probable cause panel or the department or until the regulated professional or subject of the investigation waives his or her privilege of confidentiality, whichever occurs first.”
29. Can you file a complaint regarding income tax or bookkeeping services?
If your services were provided by a Florida licensed CPA then a complaint can be filed. It is recommended that licensed CPA/firms be used for this service.
30. Can an unlicensed person be employed by a CPA firm to practice public accounting and/or assist in audits?
No, the individual must be licensed by the State of Florida.
31. Must you be a licensed CPA in Florida to conduct audits?
Yes, it is a requirement.
32. Can a non-Florida licensed CPA have clients who live in Florida but conduct their business outside the State of Florida?
Yes, they can if the CPA is licensed in his/her home state, resides in his/her home state, and conducts the work in his/her home state.
33. Does the Florida Board of Accountancy collect revenue and disburse revenue for complainants?
No, the Florida Board of Accountancy enforces F.S. 455 and 473, and disciplines Florida CPAs and licensed firms as well as unlicensed activities.
34. If my income taxes were not filed timely and the IRS is assessing penalties, fines and/or additional taxes, can the Board help me to receive reimbursement from the CPA/firm?
The Board does not have authority to force the CPA/firm to make restitution, so no they cannot. This should be filed through a civil lawsuit. The Board determines if the CPA/firm has violated any Florida Statutes.
35. If you are overcharged by a CPA who performed some work, does the Board of Accountancy regulate CPA fees?
No, the Board of Accountancy has no authority to regulate fees.
36. Is the Board of Accountancy able to force CPA’s or forensic CPA’s to produce or reproduce financial statements in civil suits (i.e. domestic, probate, assigned trustees)?
The answer is no. You should refer these types of questions to your local County Court. For trust questions, you should contact the appropriate Probate Court.
37. Can the financial statements be falsified to obtain capital gains/assets?
No they cannot. In a civil matter, if the financial statements are misrepresented or falsified, contain fraudulent entries or hidden assets, the Board of Accountancy does not override any judicial decision. The Board of Accountancy cannot force them to redo the financial statements. You would have to confer with an attorney or file an appeal in the circuit where the documents were originally filed.
38. Can a CPA engage in the selling of real estate?
That would be only if the property is their own or the individual is a Florida licensed real estate broker or sales associate with a listed agreement.
39. Is it possible to file a complaint against a CPA that took my lifetime investments to purchase property that does not exist?
No, this matter would need to be referred to the Division of Real Estate. Refer to F.S. 475.25, Failure to Account and Deliver.
40. Is my CPA required to produce software relating to tax and financial data?
If a CPA purchased the software, the software belongs to the him. The CPA is only required to produce paper documents as the purchase of software would have a copyright law protection.
41. Is it required for his/her name and CPA designation to be removed from signage and advertisements, if a CPA no longer works for the firm?
Yes it is.
42. May the term “& Associates” be used if there is only one Florida licensed CPA?
No it cannot. The use of “& Associates” refers to more than one Florida licensed CPA.
43. Explain what a Peer Review is.
Certainly, a Peer Review is the review of a CPA firm’s quality control practices. Peer Reviews are required for all firms that are members of the AICPA. The exceptions to Peer Reviews are firms that do not perform audits, reviews, compilations and/or attest service engagements. For more information, visit http://www.ficpa.org/ficpa/ResourceCenter/PeerReview. Another place to look to for answers to questions about Peer Reviews is a document entitled, Questions and Answers about the AICPA Peer Review Program. You can find this at http://www.aicpa.org/download/practmon/qandaprp.pdf.
44. Where can I get a copy the Florida Statutes and Administrative Code?
Please click on the appropriate link below:
This information was obtained from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s website.
Soreide Law Group, PLLC represents CPA’s in front of the Florida Board of Accountancy regarding licensing issues. For more information about professional licensing law please visit: www.floridaprofessionallicense.com or call Soreide Law Group, PLLC, to speak to an attorney at:(888) 760-6552.