Independence, Integrity, Etc., for Florida Licensed CPAs

The following information is from Florida Regulations, in the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division 61H1 Board of Accountancy:

CHAPTER 61H1-21

INDEPENDENCE, INTEGRITY, ETC.

61H1-21.001       Independence

61H1-21.002       Integrity and Objectivity

61H1-21.003       Commissions or Referral Fees

61H1-21.005       Contingent Fees

61H1-21.006       Communication with Client of Another Certified Public Accountant

61H1-21.001 Independence.

(1) A firm shall not express an opinion on financial statements (as that term is defined in the Standards for Independence) of an enterprise or on the reliability of an assertion by one party for use by another (third) party unless the firm is active licensed and independent with respect to such enterprise or the party making the assertion. A licensed firm is also precluded from expressing such an opinion if the firm is aware that an individual in the firm is not independent and that individual is a covered certified public accountant or is otherwise required to be independent. A certified public accountant shall not express such an opinion unless the certified public accountant is independent with respect to such enterprise or the party making the assertion. A certified public accountant is also precluded from expressing such an opinion if he or she is aware that an individual in the firm is not independent and that individual is a covered certified public accountant or is otherwise required to be independent. All covered certified public accountants and all other individuals who are

required to be independent are required to disclose to the firm that they are not independent prior to the issuance of such an opinion; failure to do so is a violation of this rule. All firms are required to adopt appropriate policies to implement the disclosure requirement and to monitor compliance therewith.

(2) In order to delineate the standards against which a certified public accountant’s independence or lack thereof is to be judged, the Board has created a document entitled “Standards for Determining Independence in the Practice of Public Accountancy for CPAs Practicing Public Accountancy in the State of Florida” (effective 12-31-2004) (hereinafter “Standards for Independence”) which document is hereby incorporated by reference in this rule. The standards contained in the “Standards for Independence” are similar to those contained in the Code of Professional Conduct promulgated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

(3) In order to be considered independent a certified public accountant must comply with the requirements set out in the “Standards for Independence” and the requirements of this rule.

Rulemaking Authority 473.304, 473.315 FS. Law Implemented 473.315 FS. History–New 12-4-79, Amended 2-3-81, 10-28-85, Formerly 21A-21.01, Amended 10-20-86, Formerly 21A-21.001, Amended 5-21-03, 1-31-05, 12-10-09.

61H1-21.002 Integrity and Objectivity.

A certified public accountant shall not knowingly misrepresent facts, and, when engaged in the practice of public accounting, shall not subordinate his/her judgment to others including but not limited to clients, employers or other third parties. In tax practice, a certified public accountant may resolve doubt in favor of his/her client as long as there is reasonable support for his/her position.

Rulemaking Authority 473.304, 473.315 FS. Law Implemented 473.315 FS. History–New 12-4-79, Formerly 21A-21.02, Amended 6-4-86, Formerly 21A-21.02, 21A-21.002, Amended 12-10-09.

61H1-21.003 Commissions or Referral Fees.

(1) A certified public accountant shall not pay or accept a commission or referral fee in connection with the sale of a product or referral of any services as defined in Section 473.302(8)(a) and (c), F.S., or prohibited to non-certified public accountants as listed in Section 473.322, F.S. These services include:

(a) Audit, review or compilation services.

(b) Services for any prospective financial data including forecasts or projections.

(c) Any special procedures engagement resulting in an expression of an opinion when the services fall within the definitions as set forth in Section 473.302(8)(a) and (c) and Section 473.322, F.S.

(2) The certified public accountant must have an engagement letter signed by the client prior to beginning any engagement for which the certified public accountant will receive a commission. The letter must include complete details of the financial arrangements involving compensation for the services rendered.

Rulemaking Authority 473.304, 473.319 FS. Law Implemented 473.319 FS. History–New 12-4-79, Formerly 21A-21.05, 21A-21.005, Amended 11-30-93, 2-23-98, 12-10-09.

61H1-21.006Communication with Client of Another Certified Public Accountant.

If a client of one certified public accountant or firm requests a second certified public accountant or firm to provide professional advice on accounting or auditing matters in connection with an expression of opinion, the second certified public accountant or firm must consult with the first certified public accountant or firm, after obtaining the client’s consent, to make certain that the (the second certified public accountant or firm) is aware of all the relevant facts.

Rulemaking Authority 473.304, 473.315 FS. Law Implemented 473.315 FS. History–New 12-4-79, Amended 2-3-81, Formerly 21A-21.06, 21A-21.006, Amended 12-10-09.

This ends the information from the DBPR’s website.  We encourage anyone interested in the CPA statutes to obtain all current and changing information there.

Remember, your license is your livelihood.

Attorney Lars Soreide, of Soreide Law Group, PLLC, will represent CPA’s in front of the Florida Board of Accountancy (BOA) regarding any licensing issues.  For a free consultation with an attorney call: (888) 760-6552.