New Hampshire CPA License Defense

As a Certified Public Accountant in the Granite State, you have made countless sacrifices to earn your credentials and professional reputation over the years. In a profession that requires a rigorous adherence to detail, excellent analytical skills, and an ever-evolving understanding of tax laws, regulations, and financial standards, it can feel like there is no room for shortcomings. Unfortunately, simple mistakes or misunderstandings can trigger disciplinary investigations before the New Hampshire State Board of Accountancy, threatening your livelihood.

If you are being investigated by the New Hampshire State Board of Accountancy, you may feel like your license is beyond redemption. Fortunately, the Lento Law Firm's skilled Professional License Defense Team has successfully navigated these investigations for CPAs all across the United States, especially within New Hampshire.

Contact a helpful Professional License Defense Team member today by calling 888-535-3686 or utilizing our online contact form.

The Important Role New Hampshire CPAs Play

With a keen understanding of local business dynamics, New Hampshire CPAs bring invaluable expertise to various sectors that are vital to the state's economy. From the burgeoning tech startups in Manchester's Millyard to the state's traditional manufacturing and forestry industries, New Hampshire CPAs ensure that state entities and businesses operate in accordance with state and federal law. Without the assistance of CPAs within the state, both New Hampshire businesses and individuals would be lost on ways to optimize their financial strategies and remain compliant with federal and state standards.

New Hampshire CPAs also serve a broad spectrum of clients across the healthcare sector, which is significant in cities like Lebanon, home to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. CPAs are also irreplaceable in the state's well-known higher education arena, with institutions like Dartmouth College and the University of New Hampshire relying on their assistance to continue their operational efforts.

Given the state's strategic position within the New England region, CPAs also aid local businesses in interstate and international commerce, providing expertise in export controls and cross-border taxation, which are crucial for companies engaged in trade with Canada and beyond.

Steps to Obtain a New Hampshire CPA License

Becoming a CPA in New Hampshire is a very involved process that consists of steps designed to ensure that applicants are of good character and have met specific educational, examination, and experience requirements. Section 309-B5 of the state's Accountancy Act notes the various steps that must be met to achieve this goal, which include:

  • Good Character: Applicants must have no history of dishonest or felonious acts and showcase integrity and ethical conduct.
  • Education: At least 150 semester hours, including a bachelor's degree, 30 semester hours of accounting courses, and 24 semester hours of business courses. Before this, candidates could sit for the exam with 120 semester hours and a bachelor's degree in accounting.
  • Examination: The CPA exam tests knowledge in accounting and auditing, among other subjects. Applicants must pass all sections with a score of at least 75 and complete the exam within 18 months of passing the first section. The examination process, grading, and standards aim to be uniform across all states, utilizing parts of the Uniform CPA Examination and services of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
  • Experience: One year of relevant experience under the guidance of a licensed CPA. It's important to note that knowledge gained in auditing governmental or nongovernmental entities under the direction of a licensee can qualify for the experience requirement.
  • Fees: Applicants are subject to fees for each section of the examination or reexamination, as determined by the board.

The New Hampshire State Board of Accountancy

Section 309-B:4 of the State's Accountancy Act establishes the New Hampshire Board of Accountancy. The Board's seven members are appointed by the State's governor and serve staggered five-year terms, with limitations on consecutive reappointments. The Board oversees the accounting profession's rules, policies, and regulations within the state, which are designed and closely monitored to ensure that the public is safe from unfair or unethical accounting practices.

Some of the Board's duties include drafting rules for licensure qualifications, professional conduct, peer reviews, administrative fines, professional ethics, continuing education, and applicant character assessments. In instances of professional or ethical misconduct, the Board is also granted the power to initiate investigations. Depending on the results of these investigations, the Board can pursue a variety of disciplinary consequences, such as license denials, limits, suspension, or revocation. The Board may also opt to pursue retribution-like consequences such as participating in counseling, anger management, continuing education courses, or even fines.

Grounds for Disciplinary Action

Section 309-B:14, entitled “Unlawful Acts,” and Section 309-B:10, entitled “Enforcement Against Holders of Certificates,” address the various misconduct violations that can result in disciplinary actions against a CPA or a firm. Some of the prohibited conduct that can result in license suspension or revocation under New Hampshire state law include:

  • Using the title “certified public accountant” or “CPA” without a valid certificate or practice privilege.
  • Performing commission-based services for a client while also performing attestation services (independent reviews of a company's financial statements).
  • Performing contingent-fee services under certain conditions while performing attestation services.
  • Fraudulent, dishonest, or grossly negligent behavior.
  • Cancellation, revocation, or suspension of a right to practice public accounting in other states within the United States.
  • Conviction of a felony or any other crime with dishonesty or fraud, whether the crime occurred within or outside New Jersey.
  • Any conduct reflecting “adversely upon the licensee's fitness to perform services as a licensee.”
  • Making false or misleading statements

Other grounds for disciplinary conduct can also include sobriety issues, failure to pay court-ordered child support payments, tax evasion, and competency issues as declared by a court of law.

The Disciplinary Process

The Complaint and Investigation Phase

The State Board of Accountancy's disciplinary process begins with the Board receiving a complaint, leading to a preliminary review. After this review, the accused professional is notified of the charges and briefed on the following investigation and hearing process. This ensures that the professional partially receives “due process,” – a legal term that guarantees the right to be notified about allegations someone is facing and present their side of the story before a neutral decision-maker.

Although investigations vary widely, they typically involve document review and interviews with colleagues, supervisors, or clients. The professional in question will often be asked to participate in the investigation by turning over requested documents or submitting a written or oral statement about the incident in question. It's important to note that any level of non-cooperation can potentially worsen the situation. Failure to comply with New Hampshire Accountancy investigations, even against oneself, can trigger additional misconduct violations and consequences.

Settlement or Adjudication Phase

After the investigation, the accused professional can settle claims through a settlement or consent order or proceed to an administrative hearing, which is considered the adjudication phase. Settlement agreements often require the accused to accept some form of punishment in exchange for avoiding the time, expense, and unknown nature of participating in an administrative hearing.

While administrative hearings are not jury trials, they require a great deal of skill. These hearings operate within the context of state accountancy, administrative, and evidentiary laws. In addition to arguments of law and fact, hearings also include the submission of evidence, witness testimony, and cross-examination.

While it may be tempting to represent yourself at these hearings, this is ill-advised! Administrative Hearings require in-depth legal knowledge and acumen, especially when considering that the State Board of Accountancy will be represented by an attorney who not only focuses their practice on license defense but also has the entire state's bureaucratic resources at their disposal.

Hearing Outcome

Depending on the hearing's outcome, the decision might involve dismissing the charges or imposing disciplinary actions such as license suspension, monetary fines, or mandatory participation in educational or rehabilitation programs. Hearing outcomes are never guaranteed and can vary from case to case.

Can I Appeal The Hearing Officer's Decision?

Yes. Section 309-B:12 of the Accountancy Act, entitled “Enforcement Procedures, Hearings by the Board,” grants the professional the right to appeal decisions issued by the Board. Following a request for appeal, the superior court reviewed the Board's hearing record under procedures and standards with the authority to affirm, reverse, modify the Board's order, or mandate a new hearing.

If you have already received an unfavorable decision issued by the New Hampshire State Board of Accountancy, contact The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team today for more information on filing your request for appeal.

My License Was Suspended or Revoked, Can it be Reinstated?

Under Section 309-B:13 of the state's Accountancy laws entitled “Reinstatement,” previously suspended or revoked licenses can be reinstated upon the Board's approval. Requests for reinstatement must be made in writing and may be subject to conditional items such as completing a peer review or other continuing education standards.

Consequences of Losing Your CPA License

Navigating the financial aftermath of losing a CPA license requires careful planning and adaptation to a “new normal.” Losing your license can have varied financial consequences, impacting your immediate income, long-term career prospects, and professional reputation.

Financial Consequences

For many CPAs, their license is their livelihood. Losing it can mean an immediate halt to their professional activities, especially if they are in private practice or working in a role that requires the CPA designation. This sudden income disruption can affect their personal finances, including their ability to meet living expenses, pay debts, or save for the future.

Multi-License Fall Out

New Hampshire law requires the Board to inform any other licensing board that may oversee a license in other jurisdictions about disciplinary proceedings and outcomes that occur within New Hampshire. The state emphasizes that the notification process ensures that disciplinary actions are recognized across state and national boundaries. For CPAs who have old multi-state licenses or live a bi-coastal life, their ability to practice outside of New Hampshire can be significantly affected.

Reputational Damage

If you have been the subject of a misconduct allegation, the Board of Accountancy retains publicly accessible disciplinary documents for a period of seven years. Even if you apply for positions outside the accounting profession, this, unfortunately, means that other potential employers who do a simple Google search may quickly learn of your past professional misconduct issues.

Personal Stress and Mental Health

Losing your license can lead to significant personal stress, anxiety, and depression. Many professionals who face disciplinary proceedings may experience shame, guilt, or failure, affecting their self-esteem and professional identity. The mental health impact of losing your New Hampshire CPA license cannot be understated, as it will likely challenge your self-image and idea of future aspirations.

Relationship Problems

Losing your license can also place significant stress on personal relationships. Stress over finances, future employment prospects, and a lifestyle change can lead to tension and conflict within the home. Partners and children may also face the emotional burden of seeing a loved one go through such a challenging period, causing them to experience feelings of helplessness or distress.

Friendships and professional relationships may also suffer or become strained. Colleagues may distance themselves, either because they feel unsure of how to offer support or because they have concerns about their professional association.

New Hampshire CPA License Defense

The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team supports professionals in disciplinary proceedings across the country. Our Nationwide Team understands the intricate laws, policies, and procedures that defend CPAs in state accountancy board hearings.

Having done the work ourselves, we understand your significant effort and commitment to your career. We also understand the critical nature of the situation and are equipped with the experience needed to navigate an investigation launched by New Hampshire's bureaucratic system.

Our team is ready to offer you the guidance you need during this pivotal time. For detailed information on how we can help protect your New Hampshire CPA license, contact a member of our Team today by calling 888-535-3686 or by utilizing our online contact 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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