CPA License Defense In Iowa

Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are important tax and financial professionals for businesses and individuals in Iowa and nationwide. As the tax code and regulations become more complex, the work of CPAs becomes more challenging. Like all financial professionals, CPAs are vulnerable to discipline for even relatively minor violations of their fiduciary role.  

CPAs and CPA Firms may face professional discipline for several reasons, including: 

  • Conviction of a felony. 
  • Conviction of any crime involving dishonesty. 
  • The failure to file a return or other tax violation. 
  • Personal financial misconduct. 
  • Violations of professional rules. 

If you are a CPA in Iowa facing an action against your license, you need experienced representation and counsel. The Lento Law Firm has experience representing many CPAs and financial professionals in the licensing and disciplinary process. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team will seek early and informal dismissal of the complaint and will seek to take action to protect your good name and reputation. The Lento Law Firm also handles appeals after an initial adverse finding. Wherever you are in the process, the Lento Law Firm can help. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or provide your details online, and we will contact you. 

Board Licensing and Discipline Powers 

The Iowa Board of Accountancy (“the Board”) licenses CPAs and CPA Firms in Iowa. The Board has broad powers to license, regulate, and discipline CPAs and Firms across the state.  

Disciplinary Actions by the Board 

The Board may take the following disciplinary actions against a CPA or Firm:  

  • Revoke a license issued by the Board.  
  • Suspend a license issued by the Board. 
  • Revoke or suspend the privilege to engage in one or more areas of the practice of public accounting. 
  • Impose a period of probation. This probation period may involve a desk or quality review. It also may require the CPA or firm to obtain a pre-issuance review of any audits or reviews done by the licensee during the probation period.  
  • Order a substance abuse evaluation and such care and treatment as are recommended in the evaluation or are otherwise appropriate under the circumstances. 
  • Impose requirements regarding continuing education. This continuing education may be in addition to what is required of other applicants for license renewal. This additional continuing education may be a condition to ending a suspension or seeking reinstatement of a certificate, permit, license, or registration. 
  • Require reexamination, using part or all of the CPA or LPA examination routinely given to candidates.  
  • Impose civil penalties not to exceed $1,000 per individual or $10,000 per firm for each violation.  
  • Issue a reprimand. 
  • Limit a licensee's practice or order a licensee not to engage in a particular area of practice. As part of this sanction, the licensee may need to notify clients of the unprofessional conduct and take other remedial measures.  
  • Order alternative discipline as allowed by law. 

Grounds for Sanctions Against CPAs in Iowa  

In Iowa, the following are possible grounds for sanctions of CPAs or Firms:  

  1. Fraud or deceit in procuring a license.  
  2. Professional incompetence. This involves a lack of knowledge or ability to practice or a failure to rise to the level of skill of other CPAs in the state of Iowa in similar circumstances. 
  3. Deceptive practices. Deceptive practices include false advertising, making fraudulent statements in the practice, fraud in any fee or payment, or making a false or misleading statement in a report. 
  4. Conduct that harms a member of the public or is unethical. CPAs or Firms may be disciplined whether or not they injure a client or member of the public if they engage in unethical behavior. This may involve verbal or physical abuse, improper sexual conduct, or a conflict of interest.  
  5. Lack of proper qualifications. Performing services or practicing without proper licensing. This may include intoxication or addiction, which limits the ability of the CPA to practice safely and competently. 
  6. Negligence in the practice of public accounting.  Negligence involves a failure to use reasonable diligence or care or neglect of duties to a client.  
  7. Professional misconduct. Professional misconduct involves violating a standard, a law or regulation, or other violation of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct. It may also involve revocation or suspension of the right to practice before any state or federal agency. This area also covers confidentiality, assisting another person with a violation, or practicing on a lapsed or expired permit or certificate.  
  8. Willful or repeated violations. The willful or repeated violation or disregard of any provision of the Iowa Code or any administrative rule adopted by the board in administration or enforcement.  
  9. Failure to report. A CPA may not fail to report a judgment, an action taken in another state, or other information required by law to be disclosed. This includes the failure to report the conviction of a felony or other crime described in Iowa Code section 542.5(2) within 30 calendar days of the conviction. 
  10. Failure to comply with board order. Failure to comply with the terms of a Board order, the terms of a settlement agreement consent order, or other decisions of the Board imposing discipline. 
  11. Conviction of a crime. Conviction, in Iowa or any other jurisdiction, of any felony or crime described in Iowa Code section 542.5(2). and whether or not the conviction is on appeal.  
  12. Conduct discreditable to the accounting profession. This broad category includes conduct that tends to discredit the profession of accounting.  

Factors the Board Will Consider in Determining Penalty 

The Board may consider the following factors to determine appropriate  discipline or the amount of civil penalties: 

  1. Other discipline that has been or may be imposed for the same violation. 
  2. The deterrent value of the action taken and whether it will discourage similar violations by other individuals.  
  3. The totality of the circumstances which led to the violation. 
  4. The severity of the violation and any potential risk of harm to the public.  
  5. Whether the CPA or Firm gained monies or other benefits due to the violation.  
  6. The interest of the public. 
  7. Whether the CPA or Firm took any action to remedy the situation or violation.  
  8. The passage of time since the violation occurred. 
  9. If the CPA or Firm has a history of violations or discipline.  
  10. Whether the violation is clear and unambiguous.  
  11. Whether the CPA or Firm acted willfully or with intent to commit the violation.  
  12. Whether the CPA or Firm acted in bad faith. 
  13. Cooperation with the Board by the CPA or Firm.  
  14. Whether the CPA or Firm used an improper title or provided services without a license.  

Complaint Process 

Step One: Complaint or Information on a Violation 

The Board may begin an investigation if it receives information that a CPA (licensee) violated a law, rule, or regulation upon which discipline is justified. The statute provides that the Board may review the work product of a CPA that is “publicly available” or may even look at CPAs randomly. 

The Iowa statute provides that the initiation of a complaint against a CPA may involve the following: 

  • General or random review of financial statements submitted to or filed with local, state, or federal governmental bodies or other publicly available work products. 
  • News or media articles. 
  • Filings from the commissioner of insurance 
  • Complaints from members of the public. 
  • License applications. 
  • Reports from law enforcement or regulatory agencies. 
  • Board audits of compliance, such as peer review.  

Step Two: Disciplinary Committee Investigation 

The Board will appoint 2-4 members to serve on the Disciplinary Committee. This Committee will review the complaint files and supervise the complaint investigation. This Committee must make a recommendation concerning the complaint to the Board. If the Committee finds the complaint does not state a violation (even if true), it will refer it to the Board and recommend closing it. It will recommend an investigation if the Committee finds a credible basis for discipline. The Committee may assign an investigator or appoint a peer review committee for further investigation. Upon completion of an investigation, the investigation peer review committee or other board staff will report to the Disciplinary Committee.  

Step Three: Probable Cause Finding  

Following the investigation, the Disciplinary Committee will make a probable cause finding to the Board and may do the following: 

  1. Find a lack of probable cause and recommend dismissal. 
  2. Find probable cause that a violation occurred, but that action is unwarranted.  
  3. Find probable cause for a violation and refer the case to the Board with a recommendation to begin disciplinary action.  

Step Four: Informal Discussion 

The Disciplinary Committee may invite the CPA to appear before the Committee for an informal discussion of the facts. This is meant to allow the CPA the opportunity to relate their side of the story before formal proceedings begin. At this point, the Committee may present a Consent Order to the CPA.  

Step Five: Formal Discipline 

Formal discipline proceedings can be initiated only by Board action by a majority vote of the Board at a public meeting. The Board will serve a statement of charges and a notice of hearing on the CPA or Firm.  

Any person seeking a contested case proceeding must file a written request promptly. This request must describe facts or Board action in dispute and why a proceeding is required. The Board must either set notice of hearing or specify reasons for the denial.  

Step Six: Hearing 

The Presiding Official in the hearing will be the Board, a panel of board members, or non-board specialists. This Hearing may take place electronically or telephonically. The Hearing will involve a formal order of proceedings. The Board will present the basis of the complaint, along with witnesses' testimony and documents. The CPA or legal counsel will cross-examine these witnesses. The CPA will then present their witnesses and documents. The parties will have the opportunity to present arguments and rebuttal evidence.  

Step Seven: Initial or Final Order 

The Board will produce a Final Decision, which is filed with the executive officer. This Decision will be served on the CPA and their attorney.  

Step Eight: Agency Review/Reconsideration/Appeal  

The CPA may Petition the full Board for review or reconsideration of the Final Order. If this is unsuccessful, a CPA adversely affected may file for a Court review of the Final Order

Why You Should Hire the Lento Law Firm 

The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team are some of the most experienced license defense attorneys in the country. They have represented countless financial professionals, including CPAs and firms.  

Whether you work in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Sioux City, Ames, or elsewhere in Iowa, the Lento Law Firm can defend your CPA license.  

How Does the Lento Law Firm Defend You? 

The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team will be with you every step of the way as we defend your license and reputation. The Lento Law Firm will: 

  1. Review the allegations in the complaint and advise you as to the risks and challenges of various options.  
  2. Seek early dismissal of the case based on alternative dispute resolution.  
  3. Review your answer to the complaint or charge.  
  4. Advise you when a settlement or a consent order may be the best course of conduct in your case and when it is not.  
  5. Represent you at the Hearing, including opening and closing statements, examination of witnesses, cross-examining Board witnesses, and all other hearing tasks.  
  6. Represent you in the Appeal process, even if we were not your attorneys during the investigation and hearing.  

Even if you have come this far without counsel, the Lento Law Firm can help, but it is imperative to call and begin the process as quickly as possible. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team will vigorously defend your livelihood and profession. Act now to protect your reputation and your future. Call us today at 888-535-3686 or submit your details online, and we will contact you. 


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.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.