Alabama CPA License Defense Lawyer

Accountants help clients stay within legal and regulatory boundaries, but a certified public accountant's (CPA) own career may suffer when they are accused of sanction-worthy infractions. Whether you are an Alabama CPA unjustly accused of wrongdoing or a mistake has you facing potential license-related discipline, you must fight to minimize harm.

Without a valid, sanction-free license to practice accountancy in Alabama, you may face immense financial hardship, psychological distress, and diminished quality of life. The attorneys at the Lento Law Firm understand license defense well, as we have helped many accountants (and other professionals) fight discipline and avoid potentially ruinous consequences.

Call the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team today at 888.535.3686 or contact us online to discuss how we can assist you with a license issue.

The Alabama State Board of Public Accountancy Can Sanction You

Code § 34-1-3 details the Alabama State Board of Public Accountancy's authority to discipline CPAs in the state. This statute states in clear terms that:

  • The Board is a seven-member panel appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate
  • Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants nominates members when vacancies arise
  • The Board adopts and amends rules as it sees fit (rules that may apply directly to your case)
  • The Board determines when disciplinary investigations are necessary and oversees the investigative process
  • The Board determines when a hearing is required in a disciplinary matter

The Alabama State Board of Public Accountancy will likely play a central role in your license-related matter. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team is familiar with this Board, and we will work to secure a timely, acceptable resolution to your case.

Potential Grounds for CPA-Specific License Sanctions in Alabama

CPAs in Alabama and elsewhere are expected to display the utmost integrity, morality, professionalism, and discretion Ala. Code § 34-1-12 lists several specific infractions that can expose an accountant to license-related sanctions, including:

  • Fraud related to the acquisition, registration, or maintenance of your CPA license
  • Failure to show proof of educational requirements for CPAs
  • Gross negligence (including dishonesty or fraud) in the course of one's practice as a CPA
  • Violation of Alabama's rules of professional conduct related to CPAs
  • Conviction of a crime related to dishonesty or fraud
  • Conviction of any other crime that the Board determines to be a violation of its standards
  • Suspension of your right to practice by an agency other than the Board of Public Accountancy
  • Failure by foreign-born CPAs to be legally present in Alabama or obtain necessary citizenship requirements
  • Failure to maintain necessary permitting
  • Engaging in “conduct discreditable to the public accounting profession”
  • Making false or misleading statements to an authoritative body, including but not limited to the Alabama State Board of Public Accountancy
  • Failure to meet the standards of the state's peer review program

The Board has broad discretion to determine what qualifies as a violation by a CPA. A misunderstanding, minor mistake, or clerical error could trigger a disciplinary investigation by the Board and may ultimately lead to serious sanctions. No matter how minor the alleged infraction is, you must take any formal action by the Board of Public Accountancy seriously.

Keep in mind that if you don't retain a capable attorney, the mere allegation of wrongdoing could lead to sanctions.

Don't Overestimate the State Board of Public Accountancy's Competence or Integrity

The Alabama State Board of Public Accountancy maintains a running list of sanctions imposed on CPAs in the state. This list proves that CPAs are frequently sanctioned for various alleged misdeeds and shortcomings.

We do not know if any of these rulings were the result of:

  • False allegations against the sanctioned party
  • Inadequate investigation by representatives of the Board
  • A lack of complete evidence (including exculpatory evidence)
  • An improper decision by the Board
  • Other errors or improper actions that may have been prevented if the CPA had a qualified attorney on their side

You should not assume that the Board will handle your disciplinary matter competently or in good faith. Hire an attorney from the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team to ensure you receive the due process to which you are entitled.

What to Expect From the CPA Disciplinary Process in Alabama

An attorney will accompany and guide you through every step in the CPA-specific disciplinary process. Ala. Code § 34-1-14 gives some insight into this process, which will likely include:

A Preliminary Investigation

Once the Board receives a complaint against you, it may:

  • Assign one or more investigators to gather evidence, witness accounts, and other relevant information
  • Speak with you about the allegations and secure any information it needs from you
  • Determine if further action is warranted or whether the complaint should be dismissed

You should retain your attorney once you receive notice of even informal proceedings. Your attorney will protect you from any missteps that could lead to an adverse outcome.

Notice of Formal Proceedings

If the Board decides to pursue formal disciplinary proceedings, you should receive written notice of:

  • The details of the allegations against you
  • The date, time, and location of any upcoming hearing

You should receive this notice no less than 30 days from an impending hearing date. Your attorney will help you interpret the details of the allegations against you and prepare you for any upcoming hearing.

A Hearing

Your attorney will accompany you to any disciplinary hearing related to your case. As Alabama Code explains, these hearings generally entail:

  • The submission of subpoenas related to the hearing
  • Presenting evidence related to the allegation(s) made against you
  • Presenting any witnesses favorable to your case
  • Cross-examining witnesses whose testimony is unfavorable to your case
  • Oral arguments made by all sides involved in the hearing
  • Maintenance of an official record by a stenographer (this record could be key to any appeal your attorney needs to pursue)

Hearings are pivotal steps in every CPA-specific disciplinary matter. Your attorney will prepare exhaustively to defend you, and they will represent you throughout the hearing process.

A Decision

Following the hearing, the Board will issue a decision. They will arrive at a decision based on a majority vote. This decision could be favorable or unfavorable. If you receive an unfavorable ruling, your attorney will explain and exhaust your options for appeal.

A Court Review

“Anyone adversely affected by any order of the board” can:

  • File a petition for review with the Circuit Court of Montgomery County
  • Attach to the petition a copy of the Board's decision
  • Explain the grounds for requesting the review
  • Submit any new evidence or information the court should consider
  • Set forth the expected outcome of your court review (possibly including that the court set aside the Board's decision altogether)

You must file the petition for court review within 30 days of the Board filing its decision. This time-sensitive nature of reviews and appeals makes it critical that you have an attorney on your side, ready to file any necessary review requests.

An Appeal with the Supreme Court of Alabama

License-related sanctions can be immensely harmful to the affected CPA. It is generally worth exhausting all available measures to ensure a proper decision, and appealing to the Supreme Court of Alabama is one possible remedy to an adverse decision.

Knowing that such legal measures may be necessary to prevent the harm that comes with significant license-related sanctions, prepare for the possibility by hiring an attorney from the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team. We will prepare for every potential outcome of your hearing and court review and be ready to complete any necessary appeals.

Should I Hire a CPA License Defense Attorney from the Lento Law Firm?

It is your decision whether to hire a license defense attorney from our firm. As you make this decision, you should consider:

  • Whether you have the time, energy, or mental stamina necessary to handle your license defense demands (especially in light of any professional or personal obligations you already face)
  • Whether you have any familiarity with the disciplinary process for CPAs in Alabama (many accountants are facing sanctions for the first time and have no working knowledge of the process ahead)
  • Whether you have ever negotiated a resolution with the Alabama State Board of Public Accountancy or Alabama courts
  • Whether you believe an attorney's legal training, familiarity with Alabama's laws and professional statutes, and experience resolving license-related issues could benefit your case
  • Whether you have sufficient legal knowledge or experience to handle the regulatory and legal proceedings related to your case

Many accountants are still practicing pending the outcome of disciplinary proceedings. It may be immensely difficult for you to balance your professional obligations and the significant burden of your license defense. An attorney will take the lead in your defense so you can tend to other pressing obligations.

Benefits of Hiring a Professional License Defense Attorney from the Lento Law Firm

Beyond any shortcomings you may have (in terms of time, experience, or legal knowledge), an attorney provides several benefits, including:

  • Knowledge of CPA-specific license defense matters: CPAs' licenses are governed by complex rules and practices. When a disciplinary matter arises, a whole other set of rules and processes come into play. Our attorneys' familiarity with statutes, procedures, and legal strategies will be valuable to your defense.
  • A second set of eyes: Our attorneys warn clients of potential errors that could lead to adverse outcomes. We also ensure the accurate filing of paperwork, our clients' attendance at case-related hearings and appointments, and the honest handling of your case by the Board (and courts).
  • Experience dealing with the Alabama State Board of Public Accountancy: There is no adequate substitute for real-world experience. This is true of CPA-specific license defense matters. Our attorneys have dealt with the Alabama State Board of Public Accountancy, and this experience could help us reach an acceptable resolution to your disciplinary proceedings.
  • Negotiating experience: Negotiations may be a critical aspect of your case. Whether we are dealing with the Board or another body with the power to determine the outcome of your case, we will negotiate for the most ideal resolution possible.
  • Experience leading appeals: If you receive an adverse ruling from the Board, we may need to initiate both a court review and an appeal with the Supreme Court of Alabama. We have filed and completed many appeals, so we are well-positioned for this stage of your case.

Your CPA license and professional reputation are too important to defend meekly. Yours is a high stakes case, and you deserve assistance from a lawyer proven in license defense cases.

Potential Consequences if You Fail to Put Forth an Effective Defense of Your License

The potential consequences of inadequately defending your license could be catastrophic and may include:

  • Formal reprimand
  • Suspension of your license
  • Revocation of your license
  • Permanent barring from the accountancy field

These and other consequences could prevent you from supporting yourself (and loved ones) financially, cause substantial harm to your reputation, and contribute to psychological and emotional distress.

How the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team Will Fight for You

Specific duties we will perform on your behalf include:

  • Gathering evidence favorable to your defense
  • Developing a comprehensive defense and strategy
  • Drafting and filing all case-related paperwork
  • Representing you in disciplinary hearings
  • Accompanying you to all case-related appointments
  • Leading all necessary appeals
  • Protecting your rights throughout your case

We will fight for a just outcome to your case, aiming to protect your reputation and license to the greatest degree possible.

We Are Familiar with the Accounting Landscape (and Disciplinary Boards) in Alabama

Our firm represents CPAs regardless of their position, and we are familiar with Alabama-based accounting firms, including:

  • Warren Averett
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Carr, Riggs & Ingram
  • Jackson Thornton & Co.
  • RSM US
  • JamisonMoneyFarmer

Whether or not you work for any of these firms, our team can help you. Call the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team today at 888.535.3686 or contact us online to discuss how our team will fight to save your reputation and preserve your license to practice accountancy.


Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are committed to answering your questions about Physician License Defense, Nursing License Defense, Pharmacist License Defense, Psychologist and Psychiatrist License Defense, Dental License Defense, Chiropractic License Defense, Real Estate License Defense, Professional Counseling License Defense, and Other Professional Licenses law issues nationwide.
The Lento Law Firm will gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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