You worked hard to obtain your CPA license in Texas. If you are suddenly facing a formal complaint, it could threaten your license. Even if you feel the complaint is unfounded, do not take it lightly. It is critical that you take aggressive action to defend yourself and ideally get the complaint dismissed.
The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy (BPA) is the regulatory agency for Certified Public Accountants in Texas. The Board's mission is "to protect the public by ensuring that persons issued certificates as certified public accountants possess the necessary education, skills, and capabilities and that they perform competently in the profession of public accountancy."
Complaints Against CPAs
The Texas Public Accountancy Act grants the BPA the authority to investigate and prosecute allegations of professional misconduct against CPAs. The Board can discipline Texas CPA's only for violations of the Public Accountancy Act or the Board's Rules. Disciplinary action may include education requirements, corrective action, reprimand, probation, suspension, license revocation or a limitation on practice.
Investigating Allegations of Professional Misconduct
The BPA will investigate allegations of professional misconduct that come from any source, including the public, clients, and other CPAs.
When a complaint is received it is reviewed by Enforcement Division staff, which determines whether the conduct described, if true, involves professional misconduct. Complaints that do not involve professional misconduct will be dismissed. If the complaint involves alleged professional misconduct, then the BPA's Enforcement Division will open an investigative file.
The CPA will be sent written notification that an investigation has been opened and will be asked to respond to the allegations.
If you receive such a notification, you will be given 30 days to respond. Your first responses to allegations of professional misconduct are critical to the ultimate outcome of the investigation. Do not lose this opportunity to properly defend yourself. We encourage you to consult with a professional license defense attorney before responding to the allegations.
After the Board receives your written responses, the investigation will be referred to one of the Board's Enforcement committees. The committee reviewing the complaint will then make a recommendation on how to proceed with the investigation. Often the committee will try to reach an agreed consent order (ACO) with you. An ACO resolves the complaint and delineates the disciplinary or corrective action the Board will impose.
If an agreement cannot be reached, the complaint will then be prosecuted by an administrative law judge (ALJ) at the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). The ALJ will offer a Proposal for Decision, which then can be adopted, changed, or rejected by the Board. At the SOAH hearing and at all stages of the investigation you are have the right to be represented by an attorney. The assistance of counsel helps to protect your rights and your license, it does not make you look guilty.
Defending Your CPA License
If you are under investigation by the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy for allegations of professional misconduct, BERTOLINO LLP can help. We are experienced professional license defense attorneys. We help professionals, like you, keep their licenses when those licenses are under attack by a state agency or board.
BERTOLINO LLP represents licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. To best serve our clients we have offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. Our honest, experienced attorneys will fight aggressively on behalf of your CPA license and reputation. Contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 and schedule a case evaluation.
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