10 Sep 23

Certified Public Accountant Board License Defense Lawyers

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Last Updated on: 12th September 2023, 02:32 am

Fighting to Keep Your CPA License

Getting your CPA license takes years of hard work and dedication. The exams are notoriously difficult, and you have to meet strict education and experience requirements just to sit for them. And that’s before you even get to the ethics exam and background checks. So if your license ends up under investigation by your state board or you’re charged with a crime that could threaten your certification, it’s understandable to feel anxious about the possibility of losing everything you’ve worked so hard for. But with the right legal defense, you can protect your reputation, your career, and your livelihood.

Common Threats to Your CPA License

There are a few key ways your CPA license could potentially be put in jeopardy:

  • Disciplinary actions from your state licensing board, often stemming from complaints by clients or employers
  • Criminal charges like fraud, theft, or embezzlement
  • Tax-related offenses such as failure to file or tax evasion
  • Unethical conduct like revealing confidential information
  • Practice violations like working without a valid license or breaking continuing education requirements

Many of these actions would trigger an investigation by your state board. They have broad authority to impose disciplinary measures if they find violations of accounting regulations or state laws. Penalties can range from mandatory continuing education, fines, probation, suspension, or full revocation of your license. These outcomes can completely derail your career, so you need an experienced lawyer in your corner from the start of any investigation.

The Importance of a Strong Defense

If your license is at risk, the worst thing you can do is nothing at all. Hoping the problem will just go away won’t make it so. You need to take proactive steps to protect yourself. A skilled CPA license defense attorney has the expertise to handle your case strategically and maximize the chance of keeping your certification. Here are some key ways we defend CPAs:

  • Negotiating with the board for lesser disciplinary actions like fines or probation rather than outright revocation
  • Presenting mitigating evidence to cast doubt on the claims against you
  • Bringing to light procedural problems or errors in the board’s investigation or complaint filing
  • Securing expert witnesses to testify to your competence and ethics as an accountant
  • Aggressively defending against criminal charges so a conviction doesn’t jeopardize your license
  • Helping you fulfill reinstatement requirements if your license is suspended so you can get back to practice as quickly as possible

With the right strategic defense and persuasive advocacy early on, we can many times resolve the issue with a minimal impact on your license.

How Past Criminal Charges Can Resurface

If you have a prior criminal record, you may think you’re in the clear once you have your CPA license. But even old charges or convictions can come back to threaten your certification down the road. For instance, one common situation we see is when a CPA applies for their firm to be renewed as a Medicaid provider. Even if the offense is long in the past, it can get flagged during the Medicaid provider background checks. Suddenly your firm’s crucial billing privileges are revoked, and your license may be questioned as a result.

Here’s the thing – those past charges don’t necessarily have to derail your career. An experienced license defense lawyer can intervene in the Medicaid revalidation process and negotiate to get your firm approved. We can also put together a robust defense strategy to convince the board that your prior record doesn’t make you unfit to practice as a CPA today. Don’t let old mistakes continue haunting you. With the right legal help, you may be able to finally put them in the past for good.

When a Restraining Order Threatens Your Livelihood

Restraining orders are another situation where your CPA license could get caught up even if you aren’t doing anything wrong professionally. These court orders are often slapped with overly broad restrictions that extend far beyond the intended scope. For instance, a restraining order could forbid you from contacting former clients or approaching the office that issued the order. Even if the order is completely unfounded, just being accused of violating it could trigger disciplinary action by your licensing board.

You may be tempted to just try and wait out the order, but that’s often a mistake. We routinely see restraining orders renewed again and again, turning what was supposed to be a temporary measure into a career-damaging permanent restriction. Don’t let this happen to you. Fight any unfair or exaggerated restraining order requirements that limit your ability to practice as a CPA. We can file motions to get the order modified or dismissed so you can get back to your normal professional activities.

Responding to Board Complaints

If a complaint has been filed against you with your state’s Board of Accountancy, you need to treat this seriously from the very start. In many cases, CPAs make the mistake of trying to handle communications with the board themselves early on. This is an easy way to make missteps that come back to haunt you later. Any response you give to the board could be used against you, so you need experienced counsel to advise you.

We can help craft a thoughtful response that addresses the board’s concerns without admitting fault. We’ll also begin investigating the claims to start building your defense strategy. Many complaints stem from misunderstandings or disagreements that blew up out of proportion. With our help responding professionally and providing context to the board, we can many times get unfounded complaints dismissed without further action. The sooner you have knowledgeable legal representation, the better.

How We Help Clients Keep Their Licenses

Over the years, I’ve successfully defended countless CPAs facing license investigations and criminal charges. I take an aggressive and proactive approach to protecting my clients’ certifications, livelihoods and reputations.