Paperless Licensing, effective 07/08/2019
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation is excited to announce an advancement in how we license Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) in the State of Florida. The Department has implemented an innovative way to expedite the licensing process for CPAs. The Department will no longer be mailing licenses upon issuance, as licensees can now print their licenses by logging into their secure online account with the Department. In addition to new licenses, this process will allow licensees to renew online and print the license at their convenience, as well as print duplicate licenses as needed without paying a fee.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: In accordance with House Bill 977, which changes the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirements for renewals to 80 CPE hours with 8 in accounting and auditing and 4 in board approved ethics and the reactivation requirements to a maximum of 120 CPE hours with 30 in accounting and auditing and 8 in board approved ethics, was signed into law by Governor DeSantis on June 7, 2019, and goes into effect on July 1, 2019. The renewal changes will go into effect with the re-establishment period ending June 30, 2020. House Bill 977 also includes an addition to the definition regarding attestation engagements. (For more details click on the HB 977 link above).
Update: If you are having technical difficulties with the new CPE Audit Service, please contact the CPE Audit Service team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Within Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), the Division of Certified Public Accounting is responsible for the regulation of certified public accountants (CPAs) and accounting firms. The division processes applications to sit for the CPA exam, original Florida licensure applications, licensure by endorsement applications, reactivation of a delinquent or inactive CPA license, temporary permit applications, accountancy firm licensure and continuing education reporting forms. In addition, the division provides administrative support to the Board of Accountancy. The Board consists of nine members. Seven members are licensed CPAs, and two are consumer members. The board meets approximately 10 times a year at various locations throughout the state. Meetings are open to the public.
Mission: To promote consumer protection by ensuring that certified public accountants and firms meet and adhere to the statutory requirements for licensure.
Certified Public Accountant
A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is someone who has passed the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Uniform CPA examination, met educational, and licensure requirements in the state of Florida and have been issued a license to practice public accounting. CPAs provide accounting, auditing, tax, financial planning, and management consulting services. Florida CPA firms must be licensed and CPAs can only practice in a licensed firm.
Certified Public Accounting Firm
Certified Public Accountant firms, “CPA Firm“, practicing public accounting in Florida must be licensed. For purposes of firm licensure, practicing public accounting is defined in Florida Statute 473.302(8)(a)(b)(c):
(8)“Practice of,” “practicing public accountancy,” or “public accounting” means:
(a)Offering to perform or performing for the public one or more types of services involving the expression of an opinion on financial statements, the attestation as an expert in accountancy to the reliability or fairness of presentation of financial information, the utilization of any form of opinion or financial statements that provide a level of assurance, the utilization of any form of disclaimer of opinion which conveys an assurance of reliability as to matters not specifically disclaimed, or the expression of an opinion on the reliability of an assertion by one party for the use by a third party;
(b)Offering to perform or performing for the public one or more types of services involving the use of accounting skills, or one or more types of tax, management advisory, or consulting services, by any person who is a certified public accountant who holds an active license, issued pursuant to this chapter, or who is authorized to practice public accounting pursuant to the practice privileges granted in s. 473.3141, including the performance of such services by a certified public accountant in the employ of a person or firm; or
(c)Offering to perform or performing for the public one or more types of service involving the preparation of financial statements not included within paragraph (a), by a certified public accountant who holds an active license, issued pursuant to this chapter, or who is authorized to practice public accounting pursuant to the practice privileges granted in s. 473.3141; by a firm of certified public accountants; or by a firm in which a certified public accountant has an ownership interest, including the performance of such services in the employ of another person. The board shall adopt rules establishing standards of practice for such reports and financial statements; provided, however, that nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to permit the board to adopt rules that have the result of prohibiting Florida certified public accountants employed by unlicensed firms from preparing financial statements as authorized by this paragraph.
CPA Firms that provide services as described in 473.302 (8)(a)(b)(c), as listed above, must obtain a firm license. To license a multi-owner firm in an even year requires a fee of $150 (for a two-year license) and $75 in an odd year (such as 2005, 2007 and 2009) for a one-year license.
Ethics CPE Provider
Clay Ford Scholarship
- Florida Military Veteran Fee Waiver
- Florida National Guard Fee Waiver
- Military Personnel, Veterans and Military Spouses Licensing Fee Waiver
- Low Income Waiver of Licensing Fee
Note: If you have previously applied for your license, you may check your application status.
Firm Renewals All firm licenses expire December 31st each odd year. Renewals notices are mailed no later than October 1st. Firms must renew active. Firms who change their structure or names must submit a new application. To change a firm name in an even year requires a fee of $150 (for a two-year license) and $75 in an odd year (such as 2003, 2005 and 2007) for a one-year license. Sole proprietor firm name changes are $50 regardless of year of change.
Continuing Professional Education
Please review the Continuing Professional Education Guidelines
Licensees are still required to complete CPE, but there is no longer a need to report. Florida requires the completion of 80 hours of CPE for each re-establishment period. The 80 hours must include eight (8) hours of accounting and auditing, four (4) hours of board approved ethics, and no more than 20 hours in behavioral subjects. Florida statutes do not allow a CPA to obtain ethics credit for ethics courses not approved by the Florida Board of Accountancy even if courses are accepted by other jurisdictions. Below is a list of board approved ethics providers:
Florida certified public accountants who do not meet the requirements by June 30th will be granted an automatic extension until September 15th provided the Florida certified public accountant completes an additional 8 hours in Accounting and Auditing subjects. An automatic extension will be granted until December 31st provided the Florida certified public accountant completes an additional 16 hours in Accounting and Auditing subjects.
Continuing Professional Education Reporting
Professional development courses shall be credited for continuing professional education purposes in increments of not less than one half hour, equivalent to the actual number of contact hours (hours in the classroom which must include at least fifty minutes of continuous participation per contact hour or twenty-five minutes per contact half hour) provided an outline (defined as a schedule of activity listing major topics of discussion) is prepared in advance and retained; a course is at least one contact hour or half hour in length; the course conducted by a qualified instructor, lecturer or discussion leader; and a record of registration and attendance is maintained.
Licensees may use the DBPR Reporting form found at the following link to record their CPE coursework:
All self-study continuing education courses qualifying for accounting, auditing or technical business credit must be taken from sponsors approved by NASBA’s Quality Assurance Service (QAS) program. Self-study providers offering behavioral credit only will not be required to register with the QAS program. Sponsors that are approved QAS providers can be found on NASBA’s web site at www.nasba.org or by contacting NASBA at 615.880.4200.
Becoming An Approved CPE Sponsor
To obtain an application, you may download the information from:
Continuing Professional Education can be obtained through either group study or self-study. Group study does not have to be taken by an approved sponsor, provided the content of the course qualifies based on the Board’s CPE Guidelines. Below is a list of approved group study providers and their sponsor identification numbers. The letter “P” in parenthesis after the sponsor identification number designates a probationary sponsor. This simply means that the sponsor is currently in their initial two-year probationary period. This list will be updated periodically, as new sponsors are approved for sponsorship, or sponsorships are revoked.
Individual Course Approval
If a licensee is unsure whether a course they have attended from a non-approved sponsor will qualify for continuing professional education credit they can request a determination of the course from the Committee on Continuing Professional Education (CPE Committee). In order for the Committee to review a course, a detailed course outline including the time spent on each topic along with a letter indicating the number of hours being requested and the classification of the hours must be submitted to the Division of Certified Public Accounting.
The CPE Committee is appointed by members of the Board of Accountancy and consists of CPA professionals who review questionable courses and make recommendations to the Board of Accountancy for rules and guidelines regarding other Continuing Education topics and issues. The CPE Committee meets at least four times a year. If you have questions regarding CPE Continuing Education, you may contact the Customer Contact Center at (850) 487-1395.
Annual CPE Audit 61H1-33.003(5)
On September 11, 2018, the Bureau of Education and Testing initiated an annual audit of certified public accountants’ compliance with continuing professional education requirements completed during the two-year reestablishment period of July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2017. Certified public accountants who were randomly selected to participate in the audit were notified by mail.
What do I do if I receive notice that I was selected for the audit?
Selected licensees must respond to the audit within 30 days of receipt of the notice either using the NASBA electronic CPE tracking tool or in writing to the Department at the following address:
- Department of Business and Professional Regulation
- Bureau of Education and Testing
- Continuing Education Unit
- 2601 Blair Stone Road
- Tallahassee, FL 32399-1046
If responding electronically, the CPE tracking tool is located at https://cpeauditservice.nasba.org. A user account has already been created for you. You will need your Florida CPA license number and password to log in to your account for the first time. Once logged into the CPE tracking tool enter all CPE courses completed for the audit period and upload the certificates of completion for all courses entered. If you encounter any technical problems with reporting your information, please contact NASBA at 844.273.8722. If responding in writing to the Department, you must include:
- A copy of the audit notification letter addressed to the Bureau of Education and Testing
- Signed and dated CPE reporting form listing all courses completed for the audit period
- Certificates of completion for all courses listed on the CPE reporting form
If responding manually use the CPE reporting form on the back of the audit notification letter or use the link below to download an enterable PDF form and return it with your documents. Telephone confirmation of your CPE hours will not satisfy the audit requirement. Click here to Download the Approved CPE Reporting Form
What were the continuing professional education requirements for the reestablishment period?
As specified in Chapter 473, Florida Statutes, and Rule 61H1-33.003(1), Florida Administrative Code, (rule changes pending) you were required to complete the following hours prior to renewing your active license:
- 80 hours CPE, to include at least 8 hours of accounting/auditing, 4 hours of Board approved ethics, and no more than 20 hours of behavioral if completed by June 30, 2017, or
- 88 hours CPE, to include at least 28 hours of accounting/auditing, 4 hours of Board approved ethics, and no more than 20 hours of behavioral if completed by September 15, 2017, or
- 96 hours CPE, to include at least 36 hours of accounting/auditing, 4 hours of Board approved ethics, and no more than 20 hours of behavioral if completed by December 31, 2017
I received the audit notification letter and have a question or need additional information about the audit. Who do I contact?
For questions regarding the audit, contact the Bureau of Education and Testing’s Continuing Education Unit at 850.921.8582.
What happens if I fail to comply with the audit?
Failure to comply with the audit is a violation of the public accountancy practice act and may subject your license to disciplinary action by the Board of Accountancy. Licensees who fail to comply with the audit will be referred to the Board of Accountancy’s Enforcement Section. The public accountancy practice act provides a range of penalties for violations of CPE requirements; these include, but are not limited to, a fine, reprimand, probation, and suspension of your license.
What happens if staff review or review by the Committee on Continuing Professional Education determines that courses are either improperly classified or do not otherwise meet the requirements?
The Florida certified public accountant will be given 30 days from the date of notification to comply with the continuing professional education requirements. Florida certified public accountants who complete the continuing professional education requirements timely but who are found to be deficient after December 31 of their renewal year must correct the error and pay a $50 fine within 30 days.
Renewing Your CPA License
The Re-establishment Period: The Re-establishment Period is the two-year period for completing the CPEs. Generally, this period is from July 1 of one renewal year to June 30 of next renewal two years later. For initial licenses, this period begins the date the license was issued and ends the third June 30th after initial licensure date.
The Renewal Cycle: The Renewal Cycle is the period from October 1st to December 31st of the year in which your current active license expires. This is the period in which you may renew your license for the following re-establishment period. The agency normally sends out renewal notices during the last week of September. However, you may use the www.myFloridaLicense.com portal to renew your license online using a credit card.
The Renewal Notice: All renewal notices are mailed to the last known mailing address on file for your license. The post office does not forward renewal notices. It is MANDATORY for you, the licensee, to keep up-to-date personal and professional information with DBPR. You will need to provide written and official documentation of the change you request.
Required Continuing Professional Education: CPAs are required to renew their license biennially (every two years). Effective with the re-establishment period ending June 30, 2011, licensees are no longer required to submit CPE to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation as a condition of renewal. CPAs still must complete the required CPE by June 30th of their renewal year. Documentation of course completion should be retained in the event the licensee is selected for the CPE audit. Renewing a current active CPA license consists of:
- Evidencing completion of 80 total continuing professional education (CPE) hours with at least eight (8) hours in accounting and auditing and four (4) hours in board approved ethics. Note: No more than 20 hours can be in behavior subjects.
- Pay the current license renewal fee.
CPE courses must be complete by June 30th of the renewal year. There are two automatic extensions that can be utilized by licensees who are unable to meet their CPE requirements by June 30th. The first extension is September 15th and requires the licensee to complete an additional eight (8) hours of accounting and auditing credits. Therefore, the licensee would complete a total of 88 hours with at least 28 in accounting and auditing. The second extension is December 31st and requires the licensee to complete an additional 16 hours of accounting and auditing. Therefore, the licensee would complete a total of 96 hours with at least 36 in accounting and auditing. Failure to meet the renewal requirements by December 31st of the renewal year will result in the license reverting to delinquent status effective January 1 of the following year. Delinquent status licenses will revert to Null and Void after two years unless the license is reactivated or placed on Inactive status.
Renewing a Current Inactive License: Renewing a current inactive CPA license only requires payment of the license renewal fee. A current active licensee may request inactive status during their renewal cycle (October 1st through December 31st) by checking the inactive box on the renewal notice and remitting the appropriate renewal fee. If the request for inactive status is made outside of the renewal period, the licensee must remit the Change of Status Application and a $50.00 change of status fee to DBPR, 2601 Blair Stone Road, Tallahassee, FL 32399.
Renewing a Delinquent Active License: If a license is delinquent on January 1 for failure to comply with Rule 61H1-33.003, F.A.C., through failure to report compliance with continuing professional education requirements by the immediately prior December 31st, a Florida certified public accountant may reactivate, pursuant to Section 473.311, F.S., by certifying the required hours have been completed, paying the fees required by Rules 61H1-31.003, 31.004 and 31.006, F.A.C., by March 15 of the same year of the delinquency.
Reactivate a CPA License
Reactivating a delinquent or inactive license requires the licensee complete penalty continuing professional education credits, plus the hours for the current period and paying the appropriate fees.
To apply for reactivation, Reactivate CPA License.
Null and void licensees must meet the new rule education requirements and successfully retake the CPA examination before they will be issued a license or if licensed in another state they can apply for Licensure by Endorsement. However, null and void licensees who can demonstrate substantial hardship can submit a letter to the Director of the Board of Accountancy requesting to reactivate a null and void license.
Requests can be mailed to:
- Division of Certified Public Accounting
- Attention: Angela Francis, Acting Director
- 240 NW 76th Drive, Suite A
- Gainesville, FL 32607
Request Inactive Status
Licensees who no longer wish to maintain an active license can elect inactive status. CPAs who elect inactive status are not allowed to use the CPA designation nor can they practice public accounting. If you have questions or need assistance in completing this application, please call the Customer Contact Center at 850.487.1395 or use our convenient contact form.
Voluntary Relinquishment Request
Licensees who no longer wish to maintain a Florida CPA license can request voluntary relinquishment. Your license must be in current, active or current, inactive status to request relinquishment. If you have questions or need assistance in completing this application, please call the Customer Contact Center at 850.487.1395 or use our convenient contact form.
Name Change and/or Address Change
All requests for publications, documents, forms, applications for licenses, permits and other similar certifications can be obtained by contacting the Customer Contact Center.
Division of Certified Public Accounting
240 NW 76th Drive, Suite A
Gainesville, FL 32607