The businesses and individuals that come to you for help with their finances trust you with some of their most important and sensitive information. Having even just one complaint against you can jeopardize the business and reputation you've worked so hard to build because it can cause current and prospective clients to doubt you. No matter where you practice as a CPA in the United States, Attorney Joseph D. Lento can help you protect your reputation, defend your license, and save your business and career. Contact the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team at (888) 535-3686 today and let us help you navigate this difficult situation.
Your CPA license is regulated by the state where you live, and a license is required in order for you to continue to practice accounting legally. However, just like any other professional license, your CPA license can be at risk of being suspended or revoked if you are found to have violated certain rules or regulations. But, even if you are not found to have violated any rules or regulations, your professional reputation can be damaged simply by an allegation. That's why it's so important that you work with an experienced attorney who has successfully helped others defend their professional licenses. Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm have helped many licensed professionals like you who are worried about losing their licenses and having their reputations ruined.
What Could Cause my CPA License to be Revoked?
CPA professional license defense refers to the process of defending a CPAs license when it is challenged by allegations that the CPA has not performed to high standards of accuracy, honesty, and professionalism. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including allegations of professional misconduct, fraud, or violations of the accounting profession's ethical standards. When a CPA's license is being challenged, it is very important to have a strong defense in place as early in the process as possible in order to defend your professional reputation and protect your ability to practice accounting.
Across the United States, some violations of rules and regulations that could cause you to lose your license include:
- Conviction for a felony offense (or fraud-related misdemeanor). In most states, criminal convictions might prevent you from becoming an accountant, especially if they concern fraud or financial misconduct.
- Gross negligence, dishonesty, or fraud. Some examples include filing fraudulent tax returns on behalf of clients, failing to file required returns, doctoring a company's financial records, or mishandling confidential client information.
- Violating the rules of professional conduct. The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA)Code of Professional Conduct is used by most states as the standard that licensed CPAs must follow. Breaching these rules could lead to losing your license.
- Any other professional or ethical violation that suggests you are incapable of fulfilling your duties as a CPA.
Someone has filed a complaint against me; what happens next?
Once a complaint has been received, the licensing board will work to decide if the complaint is within their jurisdiction, and if so, they will open an investigation. At this point, you may be asked to provide a written response and any evidence that might refute the claim. It is very important that you do not do this until you have spoken with an attorney who understands professional license defense.
On our end, our first step in CPA license defense is to understand the allegations being made against you. This involves gathering all relevant information and documentation related to the alleged misconduct or violation. It is also important for us to understand the procedures and timelines in place for responding to the allegations, as these can vary state-to-state.
If the board has enough evidence to corroborate a claim, they may try to get you to agree to a consent order. This is an agreement in which you admit your wrongdoing and agree to the board's punishment. In lieu of a consent order, you may be summoned to appear at a formal hearing. At the end of the hearing, the board will decide what action to take against you, which can include revoking your CPA license.
Once we understand the allegations, our next step is to mount a defense. This could mean that we present evidence or testimony that supports your case, and it will likely mean that we challenge any evidence or testimony presented by the board.
However, even if you are not punished or are punished with lesser penalties, such as fines or probation, a disciplinary action against your license can still damage your reputation. This is why it's so important that you hire an experienced professional license defense attorney at the Lento Law Firm, as wise counsel can help you limit any punishments you might face and help you limit the damage to your reputation. Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team are often able to negotiate with the board to have a complaint dismissed or help you avoid other potentially damaging disciplinary actions.
Why do I need an attorney?
CPA license defense can be a complex and challenging process, and it requires a significant investment of time, resources, and expertise. The professional board will begin looking for evidence against you as soon as the complaint is filed, and licensing boards are given broad authority to discipline you.
You have so much at stake—not just your license but also the career and business you have built and your professional and personal reputation. An experienced, knowledgeable CPA legal defense team, like the Lento Law Firm team, can help you understand the process, meet all the deadlines, and mount the defense that is most likely to be successful.
Whether you live in a large state like New York, California, or Texas or in a smaller state like Wyoming, Rhode Island, or West Virginia—or anywhere in between—Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team know how to help you get through this difficult time and keep your CPA license.
Do not hesitate, and definitely do not respond to the licensing board until you have spoken with the Lento Law Firm. Contact us today at (888) 535-3686 or online for a case evaluation.