June 2012

In This Issue:


Message From The Secretary Ken Lawson Secretary Ken Lawson

Here at the Department, we take unlicensed activity very seriously and each day we are committed to preserving jobs for our licensed professionals through our unlicensed activity enforcement and education efforts. We know that unlicensed activity takes jobs away from licensed professionals who have met the standard requirements that certify his or her ability to provide a unique skill or service. It also puts the public at harm and is illegal.

As a licensed professional, you understand the effects unlicensed activity can have on other licensed professionals and the risks and/or harm it can pose on consumers. I ask that you join us in our efforts to stop unlicensed activity. Please feel free to notify us of any suspected unlicensed activity by emailing ULA@dbpr.state.fl.us or by calling 1-866-532-1440. Encourage your customers and potential customers to check licenses at www.myfloridalicense.com.

Through our combined efforts, we will continue to make Florida the best place to do business.

Ken Lawson,
DBPR Secretary

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Message From The Board Chair
Cynthia Borders-Byrd

I am elated that my colleagues on the Florida Board of Accountancy unanimously elected me to serve as the 2012 Board Chair.  I offer my congratulations to William “Bill” Durkin, who was also unanimously elected to serve as Vice-Chair of the Board.  Thank you to the members of the Board who have agreed to serve in leadership roles as follows:

Steve Riggs, Vice-Chair, Probable Cause Panel

Theresa Borcheck, Probable Cause Panel

Maria Caldwell, Chair, Minority Scholarship Committee

Dave Dennis, Chair, Budget Task Force

Dr. M.G. “Bud” Fennema, Chair, Education Advisory Committee

Eric Robinson, Chair, CPE Committee

Steve Vogel, Chair, Rules Committee

Membership on many of these committees is composed of licensed Florida CPAs.  We are inviting you to express your interest and willingness to serve by sending your resume to the attention of our Executive Director, Veloria Kelly at Veloria.Kelly@dbpr.state.fl.us.  Thank you in advance for your interest and willingness to serve.

Periodically, I plan to communicate with the Florida CPAs regarding current events.

ON THE RADAR

Listed below are a number of current events of which I would like to ensure that Florida practitioners are aware.

CPE Self-Reporting – 2011 was the first year that Florida CPAs renewing their licenses were not required to submit CPE as a requirement of licensure renewal. We encourage each licensee to maintain the proper records, as all Florida CPAs are subject to the CPE audit.

Legislation – HB769, which was was passed by the Florida Legislature during the 2012 session and signed by Governor Scott, amends our practice act as follows:

  • Amendment to s. 473.308(4), F.S., to allow the one-year work experience requirement to be attained by the verification of another CPA versus direct supervision of a CPA.
  • Allows licensure by endorsement for a CPA who has held a license in another state for 10 years prior to application.
  • Creates a one-time amnesty to reactivate a license by notifying the Board of their intention by December 31, 2012 and completing 120 hours of continuing professional education by June 30, 2014 (a similar amnesty program in 2009 reactivated 214 inactive licenses).
  • Allows licensees who are delinquent for failure to report completion of CPE by December 31 to apply for reactivation by March 15 immediately after the delinquency period.  Applicants must certify to the Board that they satisfactorily completed their CPE.
  • Provides for a report from the Board of Accountancy to the legislature on the potential cost savings through privatization or outsourcing of board functions.

In addition to the two upcoming meetings in Tampa, the Board is scheduled to hold its August 3, 2012 meeting in Miami.  I invite all of our CPAs, especially those in South Florida, to attend the board meeting.

I look forward to continuing to work with the Florida legislature and Governor Rick Scott to keep simplifying the Board’s rules to provide even better service to our CPAs. 

We want to thank our outstanding staff in Gainesville and Tallahassee, without whom we would be unable to operate.

Cynthia Borders-Byrd, Chair
Florida Board of Accountancy

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Message from the Executive Director, Veloria Kelly

The Board of Accountancy and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation take the enforcement of unlicensed activity seriously.   Licensees are encouraged to report suspected unlicensed activity.  Complaint forms can be submitted via fax, email or mail in the following ways:

In this issue you will also find information to report abusive tax schemes and preparers to the IRS. If your schedule allows, I encourage you to attend a board meeting.  Meeting dates have been scheduled through the end of the year and can be found on our webpage as well as in the newsletter.

Veloria A. Kelly
Executive Director, Florida Board of Accountancy
Department of Business and Professional Regulation

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Ethics Courses

When completing CPE it is important to remember the state of Florida will only accept hours earned in ethics from a board-approved ethics provider. All other ethics courses, regardless of whether the class is accepted in another jurisdiction, will be awarded behavioral credit only. For a list of board-approved ethics courses, please click on the following link Approved Ethics Providers.

If you have any questions please call the customer contact center at 850.487.1395.

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Rule Updates

Changes have been made to Rule 61H1-27.001 College or University Requirements of the Florida Administrative Code.  Effective February 6, 2012, the Hong Kong provincial education bodies were added to the accrediting bodies accepted by the Board of Accountancy.

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CPE Audit News

Each year an audit of CPE is conducted by the Bureau of Education and Testing.  It is important that the randomly selected participants do not ignore the audit notices and provide the information being requested of them.  Failure to comply with the audit is a violation of the accountancy practice act.

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Notice of Non-Compliance & Citations

The Board office receives numerous complaints that are often considered to be minor violations.  As a result, the Board has recently begun enforcing Rules 61H1-36.0055 Minor Violation, Notice of Non-Compliance and Rule 61H1-36.005 Citations, F.A.C.  A violation is a minor violation if it does not:

  • Demonstrate a serious inability to practice the profession;
  • Result in economic or physical harm to a person;
  • Adversely affect the public health, safety, or welfare or create a significant threat of such harm.

When compared to a formal investigation, both of these regulatory options shorten the processing time considerably and can be less costly to the licensee.

A Notice of Non-Compliance can be issued for a first violation and licensees are given 15 days to correct the violation.  If the violation is corrected within this time frame the case is closed and the matter remains confidential.  A failure to correct the violation may result in regular disciplinary proceedings.

Citations can also be issued for minor violations.  The licensee can elect to pay the citation within 30 days and the matter is closed.  If the citation is disputed the investigative file is then sent to legal for further review.  If the citation is not paid or disputed within 30 days after service, the citation becomes a final order.  Citations are considered discipline and do not remain confidential.

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Licensee Numbers as of June 1, 2012

CPA:  30,658

CPA Firms: 4,990

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Declaratory Statement Procedures

The Board office has received a number of requests from individuals requesting staff to interpret statute and rules; please understand that board staff is unable to honor these requests. For statute interpretation or to request an opinion from the Board, you must file a petition for a declaratory statement with the board office. In order to file a petition for a declaratory statement with the Board, you must be a substantially affected party.

Please submit your petition to:

Florida Board of Accountancy
240 NW 76th Drive, Suite A
Gainesville, FL 32607

You may also fax your request to 352.333.2508.

The Board website also has a list of informal opinions previously released by members of the Board.  Please check these prior to submitting your request, as they may be able to help answer your questions. 

If you have any questions about Declaratory Statements and the process please call the Department’s Customer Contact Center at 850.487.1395 or check out the FAQs for Declaratory Statements located on the Board website.

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IRS Lead Development Center Working to Combat Abuse

Stopping abusive promoters and preparers as early as possible is a high priority to the IRS. The IRS would like your help in identifying promoters of “too good to be true” abusive tax schemes and tax preparers using illegal schemes to avoid paying taxes.

Abusive tax schemes cause harm to both the federal government and the promoter’s clients who participate in these schemes. 

Even innocent taxpayers taken advantage of by abusive tax preparers can face staggering amounts of additional tax due, including penalties and interest.

Use the Reporting Abusive Tax Promotions or Preparers form to make a referral to the IRS. Learn more about the role of the Lead Development Center and abusive tax schemes at http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=106788,00.html.

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Customer Service Enhancements

The Department is constantly looking for ways to improve our customer service, including our customer contact phone system and our internet site. Please check our site frequently over the next few months for additional upgrades and while you are there check out our new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section. We welcome your feedback.

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Improved Online Applications

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation has improved online applications for new licensees.

The most significant change is that the upgraded system requires all users – even those who have had online accounts with our Department for years – to create a one-time registration profile before accessing the system. Once the new profile has been created and you have supplied your license number, the system automatically transfers all data associated with your old account. Additionally, if you had to manage multiple accounts under the old system to manage all of your licenses, you will be able to link them all into the new single profile.

Applicants now have the ability to upload required documents, allowing them to fully complete and submit applications online. This enhancement ensures that applications and supporting documentation submitted online will remain together. The online system allows for faster processing times, thus getting our licensees to work more quickly. The upgraded system also provides licensees many new online services, including the ability to:

  • Register with an email address and secure password;
  • Receive registration confirmation via email confirmation;
  • Link an existing license(s) to online profile;
  • Retrieve a forgotten password;
  • Answer eligibility questions to ensure you are using the correct application;
  • Attach necessary documents for licensure;
  • Receive an application summary and payment summary via email;
  • Check your application status;
  • Log in and finish an incomplete application before submission, if you were not able to complete the application when initially applying;
  • Make payments;
  • View Continuing Education history, if applicable; and
  • Maintain license relationships

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Renew Your License Online

To complete your renewal online, follow these instructions:

> Go to www.MyFloridaLicense.com.

> Click on “Renew Your License.”

>Read through the instructions and click “Continue.”

> Click on your profession type.

>Read through the instructions, take the tutorials or click “Continue to Online Services.”

> New users will need to “Create a New Online Profile.” Returning users will need to login.

> Complete all the required information and click “Next.”

> The user will receive an email with a temporary password and a link back to the system; the user will then be asked to supply a new password and enter it twice for confirmation; enter your email address and password and click “Log on.”

> The user will now need to link their license to their online account by selecting "Link an Existing License to My Account" on the left hand side of the screen; the user will need their license number and social security number.

> Select the correct license type to link from the drop down list, enter the license number, and click “Next.”

> Enter the user’s social security number, security measure, and click “Next.”

> Click “Add.”

> Click “Next” to continue linking the license.

> Select the license you intend to renew.

> The user can now select “Renew”; this is an introduction to the renewal requirements; click “Next” to continue.

> Renew – Name and Personal Details Screen – this is a view only screen; press "Next" to continue.

> Renew – Address Detail Summary – the user can update/add addresses; click "Next" to continue.

> Renew – Application Summary – allows a user to verify all details prior to submitting renewal; if anything needs to be revised, the user can click “Previous” to update; if everything is correct, click “Next” to continue.

> Renew – Attestation – the user will now attest that everything they have said is true by clicking on “Yes” and then on “Submit”; if the user clicks “No,” then they will not be able to proceed. > The user will now receive an email with an attached renewal summary pdf.

> Confirmation Screen – the user can now pay for their renewal by clicking “Pay Now.”

>After payment is made, the user will receive an Online Payment Summary pdf.

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DBPR Smart Phone App Florida D B P R smart phone icon

Need to check a Florida license? There’s an app for that! Download the DBPR iPhone or Android app and stay connected with the Department. More>>

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eNewsroome Newsroom

Check out DBPR's eNewsroom, your source for important Department news and information. Here, you can watch public service announcements, read news releases, and subscribe to and flip through our publications.

Ask UsAsk us Contact UsContact Us Find Us on Facebook Find us Follow Us on TwitterFollow us

 

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Visit us on the Web at www.MyFloridaLicense.com

Board of Accountancy

Governor

Rick Scott


Secretary

Ken Lawson


Board Members

CHAIR
Cynthia Borders-Byrd, CPA
Fort Lauderdale

VICE CHAIR
William “Bill” Durkin, CPA
Valrico

Teresa Borcheck, Consumer Member
Orlando

Maria E. Caldwell, CPA
Miami

David L. Dennis, CPA
Orlando

M. G. Fennema, PhD, CPA
Tallahassee

Stephen C. Riggs, CPA
Destin

Eric Robinson, CPA
Venice

H. Steven Vogel, Consumer Member
Miami

Upcoming Board Meetings


June 8, 2012
Tampa Airport Marriott
4200 George J. Bean Pkwy
Tampa, FL 33607
813.879.5151

August 3, 2012
Miami Airport Marriott
1201 NW Le Jeune Rd, Bldg A
Miami FL 33126
305.649.5000

September 28, 2012
Tampa Airport Marriott
4200 George J. Bean Pkwy
Tampa, FL 33607
813.879.5151

November 16, 2012
DBPR
1940 North Monroe St
Tallahassee, FL 32399
840.487.1395

All meeting dates and locations are subject to change. Please verify meeting infomation on the department's
Board Meeting Calendar.

Board Membership

For a list of available positions and information regarding requirements for board membership, please visit the department's board opportunities page.

Disciplinary Actions

Please refer to the Board’s Web site for the most up-to-date information regarding disciplinary actions. This action may be found in the minutes of the board meetings. Although we make every effort to ensure information is correct, before making any specific decision based on this information, you may choose to request a copy of the administrative complaint and final order to ensure accuracy.

Contact the Department’s Office of
Open Government at jennifer.ganey@dbpr.state.fl.us
for this information.

Report Unlicensed Activity

State licenses are important because they offer consumers and the general public reassurance that the person holding that license has been trained and meets the standard requirements for working in a specific field. Florida law sets specific rules and guidelines for obtaining professional licensure, and the people who have met these requirements are held to professional standards. Professional licenses can be verified online at www.myfloridalicense.com.

Unfortunately, unlicensed activity happens throughout the state, and as Florida continues to face economic challenges, the number of times unlicensed activity takes place may increase. This unregulated and illegal activity can threaten the livelihood of licensed professionals and can also pose serious personal or financial harm to consumers. Every time unlicensed activity occurs, a licensed professional loses work that he or she might otherwise have been asked to perform.

Floridians and licensed professionals can help by notifying the Department of Business and Professional Regulation of any suspected unlicensed activity.

To report unlicensed activity, please call the Department’s Unlicensed Activity Hotline at 1.866.532.1440, Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) or e-mail the information to ULA@dbpr.state.fl.us.

Subscribe to DBPR Newsletters

You can now subscribe online at www.MyFloridaLicense.com to receive your profession’s newsletter as well as other Department publications via e-mail. Subscribing is very quick and easy.

  • Go to www.MyFloridaLicense.com
    > Publications
  • Select “Subscribe to Department Newsletters.”
  • Type in your name and email
  • Choose which newsletters or publications you would like to receive via email.
  • Select “Subscribe.”

When the newsletters you have subscribed to are available, you will receive an email from the Department with a link to your newsletter.

Contact Information Updates

Please help us by notifying the Department when your address, telephone number, and/or email changes. If you fail to notify the Department in writing of your correct mailing address of record, you could be charged with violating the law.

Official communications by the Board or the Department (such as renewal notices or legal action notices) will only be sent to your last known mailing address of record. Failure to update your mailing address of record is not only a violation of law, but it could affect the timely renewal of your license or result in the waiver of your legal rights in resolving any case brought against you by the Department. Therefore, it is extremely important that your contact information is correct.

The Department cannot change your mailing address of record without your written request. To update your mailing address of record, you can choose one of the following options:

1. You can change your individual mailing address through your online account.

2. Send a fax to(850) 488-8040 requesting that your mailing address of record be changed and provide the correct address;

3. Speak with a DBPR Call Agent at (850) 487-1395, requesting that your mailing address of record be changed and provide the correct address; the Call Agent will require additional information from you during the call to verify your identity; or,

4. Send a written request to: Department of Business and Professional Regulation, 1940 N. Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0783.

When corresponding with the Department, please include your full name and all department license numbers that you hold so we can apply the address of record change to all of your licenses.

If you have any questions regarding this requirement, or need assistance using the online services menu, please telephone the Customer Contact Center at 850.487.1395 or use our convenient contact form to submit any comments and/or questions you may have. In order to better serve you, please include as much information as possible about the nature of your request.

The Correct Zip Code Makes a Difference!

The Department's Bureau of Central Intake and Licensure, located within the Division of Service Operations, receives and processes your license applications. To ensure your application and required documentation is sent directly to the Bureau of Central Intake and Licensure section for processing, always use the correct zip code, "plus-4" on all correspondence you send to us. The "plus-4" refers to the unique four-digit code that identifies the divisions and offices within the Department.

The proper zip code, plus-4 for the Bureau of Central Intake and Licensure is 32399-0783.

Thanks for helping us serve you better!