Georgia CPA Professional License Defense

We know exactly how much your CPA license matters to you. Our license to practice law is pretty important to us, too. Your license doesn't just give you permission to work as a CPA in the state of Georgia. It tells customers that you are qualified; it tells your community that you are trustworthy. So, any time that license is threatened, it's a big deal.

At the Lento Law Firm, we're always on your side in any licensing dispute. We understand how hard you work, and we recognize how difficult it can sometimes be to deal with your state's licensing system. It's hard enough to get a CPA license in the first place and keep up with renewal requirements, such as 80 hours of continuing education. A license defense, though, can be downright scary. It isn't just that the weight of the Georgia State Board of Accountancy (GSBA) is against you. Rules and procedures are a matter of state law. That means the process itself is bound to be complex, and proving your innocence could come down to subtle interpretations of that law.

The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team knows the law. We're also well-versed in Georgia's professional licensing system. We've worked with hundreds of professional clients, defending them from all types of charges, from sexual harassment allegations to accusations of embezzlement. Whether you work in Dahlonega, Savannah, Augustus, or Columbus, we can make sure you're treated fairly and that you get the very best possible outcome for your case.

To find out more, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or use our online questionnaire to tell us about your case.

Just What Can Put Your CPA License at Risk?

In Georgia, your work as a CPA is governed by Title 43 of the Georgia Code on Professions and Businesses, particularly Chapter 3 of that Title, which focuses on Accountants. Most of that information is further enumerated in the GSBA's own Code of Professional Conduct. We couldn't possibly list here all the rules to which you're subject, and you've been to school, examined, and licensed as a CPA, so you know them better than we do anyway.

It does seem worthwhile, though, to list the most common offenses the GSBA investigates each year since this offers some idea of what kinds of violations are most likely to get the Board's attention.

  • Negligence
  • Fraud, Deceit, and Misrepresentation
  • Failure to Follow Professional Standards
  • Criminal Convictions
  • Administrative Actions by Other Government Authorities (SEC, IRS, etc.)
  • Administrative Violations Related to License Application and Renewal

Whatever charge you might be facing, you can count on the attorneys at the Lento Law Firm to be familiar with the law, the system, and how to use both to your best advantage. You know the rules, but we know how to parse the law and how to navigate judicial processes. Even if you think the charge is relatively light, you never want to try and defend yourself alone. There's simply too much at stake.

The Disciplinary Process for CPAs in Georgia

Just what does the disciplinary process for CPAs look like in Georgia? The outline is fairly straightforward. In fact, the process very much resembles the process of criminal trials that you've probably seen on TV.

  • As you would expect, cases typically begin when some level of a complaint against you.
  • The GSBA then initiates an investigation.
  • You have the right to challenge the findings of that investigation at a formal hearing.
  • A decision-maker or judge decides whether or not you are guilty of an offense and, if necessary, assigns a punishment.
  • You may then be able to appeal, depending on the circumstances of your case.

Each step in the process, though, can be complicated, which is one reason why it's so important to have a Lento Law Firm attorney on your side. Let's take a little time to talk about each of these steps and what you can expect.


Complaints can come from a wide variety of sources:

  • Consumers
  • Colleagues
  • Supervisors
  • Employees
  • Professional Societies
  • Law Enforcement Agencies
  • Other Government Agencies

Additionally, the GSBA itself has the authority to initiate its own investigations. Georgia has an active Peer Review system for accountants, for instance, and charges frequently arise out of this process.


Of course, a complaint is just that: a complaint. Before it can take any disciplinary action against you, the GSBA must substantiate that complaint, and it must provide you with due process protections. One of these is the right to an investigation. That is, the GSBA must first determine that a given complaint is credible—that the complainant is believable and the complaint seems logical—and that it is actionable—that it falls under GSBA jurisdiction. The Board isn't going to investigate you, for instance, just because a client disagrees with your fees or doesn't approve of your brusque manner. In fact, your Lento Law Firm attorney may be able to intervene at this early stage in a case to prevent the situation from going further. Often, a resolution involves no more than clarifying the nature of your actions in relation to what the law says.

Should the GSBA decide to conduct a full investigation, it must provide you with notice of the charges. As part of this notice, you should be told exactly what you're alleged to have done and given a complete list of your due process rights. A GSBA case is not a criminal case, but you are still entitled to fair treatment and a just resolution.

For example, you have the right to a presumption of innocence until you are proven guilty. You have a right to examine all evidence in the case. You also have the right to legal representation, so your Lento Law Firm attorney can help you navigate the process from beginning to end.

Investigators usually begin by asking you to respond to the charges. This is your first chance to give your side of the story. Of course, they'll also speak with the complainant and any witnesses, and they'll gather any physical evidence associated with the case. Georgia law gives the Board the power to subpoena witnesses and conduct depositions.

Throughout the investigative process, your Lento Law Firm attorney will perform a number of crucial tasks.

  • They'll work with you to develop a defense strategy
  • They'll draft your response to the charges
  • They'll help you formulate answers to investigative questions
  • They'll accompany you to any depositions
  • They'll gather and submit evidence in support of your case
  • They'll conduct negotiations with all parties on your behalf

Your attorney's most important job, though, is to protect your rights. They'll make sure you're treated fairly and that you have every opportunity to defend yourself.


The investigation itself could clear you of charges. If it doesn't, though, you have a formal opportunity to defend yourself at a hearing before the GSBA. As with the investigation, your Lento Law Firm will be on hand to represent you through all phases of the hearing.

  • Initially, you'll have an opportunity to review the state's evidence against you. Your attorney will also help you to conduct any depositions you need to build your case.
  • Your attorney will file any necessary motions. Motions help to determine how the hearing is conducted.
  • Cases are heard and decided by a designated Hearing Officer, who may be the Board Chairman.
  • Your attorney makes an opening statement on your behalf, framing the case for the Hearing Officer.
  • You may call witnesses to testify, and you may submit evidence relevant to the case. In addition, you may cross-examine any witnesses against you and raise questions regarding the state's evidence.
  • Your attorney makes a closing statement, summarizing the important points of your case.
  • The Hearing Officer must then determine whether or not you are guilty of an offense and assign any necessary penalties.
  • Finally, you also have the right to request judicial review of the Hearing Officer's decision via the Superior Court located in the Board's local region.


Should the Board find you guilty of an offense, it then has the power to assign sanctions. Georgia state law offers several possibilities.

  • Refusal to grant or renew a license
  • Public or private reprimand
  • License suspension
  • License restriction
  • License revocation
  • Mandated counseling or other care
  • Payment of administrative fees
  • Specified continuing education
  • Required reporting
  • Mandated peer review
  • Civil penalties, including fines

Any sanction can have a devastating effect on your career. Obviously, revocation makes it impossible to practice as a CPA. Suspension means an interruption in your work and can create serious inconvenience for your clients. Even something as relatively minor as a reprimand, though, can have long-lasting repercussions. A public reprimand puts your reputation in doubt and that can make it difficult to find a position with a firm or to convince clients you're trustworthy. The bottom line is that you can't afford to take any allegation or any proposed sanction lightly.

Why You Need Some from the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team

It should be clear by this point exactly why you need someone from the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team on your side any time you go into battle with the GSBA.

  • First, your career is at stake. In simple terms, losing your license means finding another profession. Even lesser sanctions than revocation, though, can make it difficult, if not impossible, to build a business or find work through a CPA firm.
  • License defense cases can be enormously complex. Just finding your way through the system can be a difficult task, let alone trying to mount a competent defense. You need to know the law, you need to understand the process, you need a facility to ask and answer questions, and you need to know how to stand up for your rights. No matter how brilliant a CPA you may be, you're not an attorney, and this situation calls for one.
  • The GSBA is against you. You may be used to thinking of the GSBA as an ally. Under most circumstances, it is. The GSBA administers the state CPA exam. It issues licenses and operates the license renewal system. Beyond all of this, it advocates to the Georgia legislature on your behalf and offers information and training to help you get better at your job. If you've been accused of some form of misconduct, however, the GSBA is not your friend. It is tasked with both investigating you and determining whether or not you're guilty of an offense. You need someone on your side, someone who's solely devoted to looking after your interests. You need someone from the Lento Law Firm.

In fact, Georgia state law recognizes that you need legal representation during a license defense. That's why the law allows you to retain representation.

Make sure, though, that you choose the right representation. You don't want just any attorney. A local or family attorney, for instance, just won't have the background and knowledge to handle a professional license defense. While such attorneys are highly skilled at dealing with local issues like drawing up wills or dealing with minor criminal charges, they usually haven't spent much time, if any, studying professional license law, and they likely have little to no experience representing clients in these matters.

The Lento Law Firm, on the other hand, was actually built to handle professional license defenses. We've worked with hundreds of clients, responding to every conceivable type of complaint. There is simply no one better qualified to take your case than the attorneys at the Lento Law Firm.

What Can the Lento Law Firm Do for You?

The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team can help you defend yourself from any charges that might threaten your CPA license. Because we understand the Georgia state licensing system, we can help with other licensing issues as well.

  • If you need help navigating the licensing system, we can walk you through the entire process.
  • If you've been denied a license for any reason, we can work with you to challenge the GSBA
  • If you've already been through a misconduct hearing and been issued a sanction, we can help you appeal that sanction.
  • If you're moving from another state, we can guide you through the process of obtaining your Georgia license.

And we work with CPAs across the state, including in

  • Atlanta
  • Columbus
  • Savannah
  • Athens
  • Augusta
  • Macon
  • Marietta
  • Valdosta
  • Alpharetta
  • Albany
  • Roswell
  • Dahlonega
  • Conyers
  • Rome
  • Duluth

To find out more about exactly what the Lento Law Firm can do for you, contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or use our online form.


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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