Minnesota Certified Public Accounting Defense

Few things are more stressful than a threat to your professional license. As a Minnesota certified public accountant (CPA), you have dedicated years of your life and likely tens of thousands of dollars to your education to become a CPA. After all that, you have committed yourself to helping others with their tax and financial needs. When you work so hard every day for your clients, it may be surprising to learn that a complaint has been filed against you and your CPA license. 

Even if you have done nothing wrong and the allegations against you are baseless, the relevant Minnesota regulatory body will thoroughly investigate every allegation. There is no guarantee they will see things through your eyes, which is why it is so important that you retain legal counsel immediately. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team understands what disciplinary action against your license can mean for your career, reputation, and professional and personal relationships. Our Team works tirelessly to help Minnesota CPAs facing disciplinary action by vigorously defending their licenses and mitigating the short- and long-term consequences of disciplinary action. When you retain the Lento Law Firm, we will walk you through every part of the Minnesota CPA disciplinary action process and build a solid and effective defense for your case. To get started, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or contact us online

Minnesota Certified Public Accounting Regulatory Body  

The Minnesota Board of Accountancy is the state agency regulating CPAs, registered accounting practitioners, and public accounting firm certifications and licensure, as well as enforcing the relevant laws and regulations related to accounting practice. The Board maintains archives and a current list of disciplinary and enforcement actions against CPAs and public accounting firms. The list is updated several times a year to keep the public informed of such actions.  

The Board has its own designated Complaint Committee to deal with all CPA and public accounting firm disciplinary actions. The complaint committee is made up of three members who meet monthly. The Board takes the training of the Complaint Committee members incredibly seriously. Each appointed Complaint Committee member completes a comprehensive series of trainings conducted by experts, including the staff investigator and the Minnesota Assistant Attorney General. The staff investigator will provide training on the following topics:  

  • The Complaint Registration Form  
  • The complaint process  
  • The closure of complaints without disciplinary action or with a recommendation to take disciplinary action  
  • The Minnesota law limits the penalties and fines and the mitigating factors used in determining the amount of a civil penalty 

The Board thoroughly prepares the Complaint Committee on all procedural aspects of the disciplinary process through the Assistant Attorney General's training. These trainings cover numerous topics, including, but not limited to:  

  • The Board's jurisdiction 
  • Verified written complaint 
  • Investigations 
  • Conferences 
  • Committee action and remedies 
  • Settlement Agreement and Cease and Desist Order 
  • Stipulation and Consent Order 
  • Contested Case Hearing 
  • Unilateral Cease and Desist Order 
  • Minnesota Government Data Practices Act 
  • Open Meeting Law  
  • Conflicts of interest 

Minnesota Certified Public Accounting Law and Regulations  

A few main laws and regulations govern the Board of Accountancy, CPAs, and public accounting firms. The first is the Minnesota statute governing all examining and professional licensing boards. The second is the Minnesota statute on accountants; this statute details the role of the Board, CPA qualifications and competency standards, unlawful acts, and more. The last is the regulation within the Minnesota Administrative Rules on the licensure and regulation of accountants. This regulation provides extensive detail on how the Board operates, the courses and education required for CPAs, all requirements related to CPA examinations, continuing professional education requirements, interstate and international reciprocity, permitting of accounting firms, the codes of professional conduct, and grounds for disciplinary action.  

Minnesota Certified Public Accountant Disciplinary Action 

As discussed above, the Board takes disciplinary action against CPAs incredibly seriously and has an extensive disciplinary process. The Minnesota Board's disciplinary process generally looks like this:  


The Board accepts complaints only via its complaint form, which must be submitted to the Board by mail or in person. Its website states that verbal, email, or faxed complaints will not be accepted. When filing a complaint, the complainant must disclose their personal information; the Board does not accept any anonymous complaints. The person filing the complaint does not need to be the aggrieved party; they are only required to have knowledge of the conduct or act subject to the complaint. The Board encourages complainants to provide as much information as possible and any relevant documentation in the complaint. The requested information to be included in the complaint is:  

  • Identification of the CPA  
  • What happened  
  • When it happened  
  • Where it happened  
  • Why did it happen  
  • How did it happen  
  • Who are the involved parties 
  • Copies of documents, such as tax returns and bookkeeping records 

When the Board receives a complaint, its staff will open a complaint file and assign the complaint to a Complaint Committee member. The complainant will be sent a receipt of the complaint.  


The assigned Complaint Committee member will review the complaint and accompanying documentation to see if the facts indicate a violation of Minnesota laws or regulations, and the Board has jurisdiction to take disciplinary action. The Complaint Committee member may decide an additional investigation must be conducted. The Complaint Committee can hire an outside consultant to participate in the investigation if they deem it necessary to complete their investigation. If the facts discovered in the investigation indicate a potential violation, the CPA will be sent an Allegation Letter, which will cite the specific laws or regulations the CPA may have violated. You should retain counsel as soon as you receive an Allegation Letter; the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team will immediately familiarize themselves with your case and begin developing a defense. The Complaint Committee will continue investigating the complaint as needed before proposing any disciplinary action. 

Negotiations & Determination  

If the Complaint Committee finds a violation of relevant Minnesota CPA laws and regulations, it may move forward with various actions. The Complaint Committee will likely work directly with you, the CPA, to find a solution. You should never meet or speak with the Complaint Committee or the Board without your Lento Law Firm attorney present. When the Complaint Committee works with you directly, they will encourage you to agree to a Stipulation and a Consent Order. A Stipulation is simply an agreement between you and the Complaint Committee where you agree to the enforcement action it is proposing; the full list is detailed here:   

  • Warning  
  • Censure and reprimand  
  • Civil Penalty  
  • Requirement of continuing professional education  
  • Consent Agreement  
  • Suspension  
  • Revocation  
  • Refusal to renew 

The Order is the judgment made against you by the Board. You will view the Proposed Order, and if you agree to the terms, a Final Order will be issued. All Final Orders will be drafted with the guidance of the Assistant Attorney General and issued by the full Board.  

Your Lento Law Firm attorney has negotiated with numerous accountancy boards and can be a crucial asset to minimizing the disciplinary action you may face. By negotiating with the Complaint Committee, your Lento Law Firm attorney can advocate for a resolution you feel comfortable with so you can move forward with the Stipulation and Consent Order.  

If you are uncomfortable with the terms of the Stipulation and Proposed Consent Order, your Lento Law Firm attorney will notify the Complaint Committee that you are rejecting them. When you reject the Stipulation and Proposed Consent Order, your case will move to a contested case hearing.  


Contested case hearings are administrative proceedings conducted before an Administrative Law Judge. Hearings are procedurally similar to civil court cases; your attorney and the Board will each have the opportunity to present testimony and evidence and make your case before the Judge. Just as with court cases, hearings have many rules on what evidence can be presented, what motions must be filed, and a variety of other protocols you must adhere to. If you do not comply with these requirements, you can face trouble with the Administrative Law Judge. You cannot risk the success of your hearing on technicalities. Our Team is well-versed in all the protocols and procedures of administrative hearings. The hearing is your opportunity to have your side of the story heard, and your Lento Law Firm attorney will put forward a strong defense on your behalf.  

Hearings end like court cases, with closing arguments on both sides; the Administrative Law Judge will then take time to deliberate. The Administrative Law Judge is limited in their authority; they will draft a Findings of Fact, which just states the facts of the case as presented during the hearing, and then they will issue a recommendation to the Board. Their authority is limited in that the Judges themselves cannot issue disciplinary action; they may only recommend to the Board whether the CPA should face disciplinary action or not. It is then up to the Board to state what disciplinary action will be taken.  


If you disagree with the Board's disciplinary action against you, you are legally entitled to an appeal. Many CPAs do not have an attorney representing them through the disciplinary process and find themselves unhappy with the Board's conclusion. Whether your Lento Law Firm attorney has been by your side from the beginning or you are just exploring retaining counsel, the Lento Law Firm can help. Our Team is frequently retained at the appeals stage, and we have successfully defended our clients, getting them less severe disciplinary action and reduced penalties.  

Appeals are filed in court and are official court proceedings. It would be unwise to proceed with an appeal without an attorney. The Lento Law Firm files appeals for Minnesota CPAs all the time, and our Team is knowledgeable of all the necessary filings and procedures necessary to put up a strong fight on appeal.  

Grounds for Disciplinary Action Against Your Minnesota Certified Public Accounting License  

Minnesota regulations fully detail all grounds for CPA disciplinary action. Numerous actions may lead a CPA to face disciplinary proceedings; such actions include:  

  • Fraud, dishonesty, or deceit in obtaining a CPA license  
  • Dishonestly, fraud, deceit, or gross negligence through knowingly or negligently making misleading, deceptive, or untrue representations in the performance of public accounting services  
  • Practicing with a suspended or revoked license  
  • Failure to satisfy continuing professional education requirements  
  • Failure to comply with professional standards or competency requirements  
  • Failure to comply with applicable peer review requirements  
  • Any conduct reflecting adversely upon the CPA's fitness to perform public accounting services  
  • Failure to make child support payments  
  • Practicing without a firm permit  
  • Criminal charges, including fraud, deceit, theft, or bribery  
  • Failure to file taxes  
  • Failure to renew CPA licensure 

Areas We Serve in Minnesota  

The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team has worked with CPAs throughout Minnesota. Our clients are primarily located in larger cities, including Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Duluth, Brooklyn Park, Maple Grove, and St. Could. Whether you are in the big city of Minneapolis or way out in Moose Lake, the Lento Law Firm is there to protect your CPA license.  

Retain the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team  

No allegation threatening your Minnesota CPA license is worth gambling on. You need to take action to defend your CPA license as soon as you learn of the allegations against you. At the Lento Law Firm, our Professional License Defense Team will do everything in our power to keep your CPA license active and in good standing. To be represented by our dedicated Professional License Defense Team, call us at 888-535-3686 or contact us online


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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