Division of Certified Public Accounting
Frequently Asked Questions - Complaints
1. How do I search for a license?
There are two ways to search for a license:
Via telephone to Customer Contact Center at 850-487-1395
Via licensing portal at www.myfloridalicense.com, click Search for a License,
Permit or Registration
2. How do I confirm my “accountant” is a CPA?
You can verify licensure at the link below:
3. What kind of information is needed to file a complaint?
Supporting documentation to support allegations
Any court orders
Any documents relating to the complaint
List of witnesses with contact information
4. Can I file an anonymous complaint?
Yes, however, supporting documentation is needed.
It is helpful to have a contact name/address/phone number to contact the complainant of the status of the case, but this information is not required.
5. Where do I locate the complaint form?
6. What is the process of a complaint?
View Flow Chart
After the complaint is received, a copy of the form and supporting documentation is sent to the subject for a written response within 20 days. Depending on the complaint, more information may be requested from both the subject and complainant. After the investigation is complete, the documentation is sent to the Office of General Counsel for review and recommendation to the Probable Cause Panel.
7. When can I expect to receive information regarding the completion of the investigation?
The complainant will be informed when the investigation is completed and the file is forwarded to the Office of General Counsel. Upon review by the Office of General Counsel and the Probable Cause Panel, the complainant will receive written notification of their action.
8. What happens to my complaint after the investigation is complete?
After the investigation is complete, the file is forwarded to the Office of General Counsel for review. The case is also reviewed by the Probable Cause Panel who determines the outcome of the investigation. A CPA can be disciplined, the case can be closed, or the CPA can be issued a letter of guidance or caution.
9. Are complaints public records?
If probable cause is found, the complaint becomes public record. If no probable cause is found or letters of guidance/caution are issued, the case remains private.
10. Can a complaint be closed at the local level?
Yes, due to lack of insufficient evidence.
11. Can a complaint be withdrawn?
A complaint can be withdrawn by the complainant if a written statement is provided.
12. What if I have other questions or concerns regarding the complaint process?
Please visit http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/cpa/index.html.
13. How do I know if a complaint has been filed against my license or firm?
The Board will send out a copy of the complaint and supporting documentation. Upon receipt of the information, the subject will have 20 days to respond in writing to our office.
14. Should I seek an attorney if a complaint has been filed against my license?
An attorney to represent the CPA is not required. The decision to seek representation by an attorney is optional.
15. What happens if Probable Cause is found against me?
The Probable Cause Panel takes into consideration the nature and severity of the violation and public harm. Disciplinary actions can include: corrective action, probation, suspension, revocation, limitation of practice, and fines/costs.
16. When are Notices of Non-Compliance issued?
Notices of Non-Compliance are only issued for Florida licensed CPAs and are issued for minor violations. For more information, please refer to Rule 61H1-36.0055 Minor Violation, Notice of Non-Compliance.
17. Do you have to be a board member of a condo association to file a complaint against a CPA/firm?
No, anyone can file a complaint.
18. Does the Board of Accountancy conduct investigations regarding condos and their respective boards?
No, the Board of Accountancy only conducts investigations relating to CPA activity. For complaints relating to condos and their respective boards, contact the Division of Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes.
19. Can the Board of Accountancy force CPA’s/firms to comply with providing information to condo owners?
No, refer all questions to the Division of Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes.
20. Is it CPA/firm responsibility to report to the condo association of suspected fraud or embezzlement?
If the CPA finds fraud, then they have a duty to report it. When doing an audit, a CPA must make a concerted, professional effort to determine if there is fraud.
21. What is an engagement letter?
An engagement letter is a contract which specifies the services and fees to be performed.
22. Should an engagement letter be required?
It is recommended but not required.
23. How long is a CPA required to maintain records?
24. How can I obtain a copy of Florida Statutes?
Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : flsenate.gov
25. Can CPA’s be reported for known criminal activities?
F.S. 473.323 (1), (d) -Being convicted or found guilty of, or entering a plea of nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a crime in any jurisdiction which directly relates to the practice of public accounting or the ability to practice public accounting.
26. Do you have to be a Florida CPA or have a Florida CPA firm license in order to perform bookkeeping or tax related services?
It is not required to be a Florida licensed CPA to perform these types of services.
27. I am not a CPA but offer bookkeeping and tax preparation to clients. Do I need to follow Florida Statutes?
The Florida Board of Accountancy’s jurisdiction is limited to Florida licensed CPA/firm licensees. Unlicensed individuals or firms are not permitted to use the title of CPA in signage, business cards/stationery, advertisements or other forms of media.
28. I received a letter offering their accounting services from someone stating they are a CPA. I checked your website to verify licensure, but they were not licensedin the State of Florida. Can they advertise they are licensed if they are not? If not, can I file a complaint against them?
Yes, you can file an unlicensed activity complaint against them. You will need to provide proof that the subject is using titles or designations “CPA” or title, designation, words, letters, abbreviations, sign, card.
An unlicensed activity complaint can be filed. Complaints against unlicensed individuals, firms and community association managers are not confidential. However, if your complaint is not against an unlicensed individual, firm or community association manager, then this department is prohibited from discussing the details of your complaint with you any further. This is pursuant to Section 455.225(10), Florida Statutes, which states: “The complaint and all information obtained pursuant to the investigation by the department is confidential and exempt from S. 119.09(1) until 10 days after probable cause has been found to exist by the probable cause panel or the department or until the regulated professional or subject of the investigation waives his or her privilege of confidentiality, whichever occurs first.”
29. Can a complaint be filed regarding income tax or bookkeeping services?
If the services were provided by a Florida licensed CPA then a complaint can be filed. It is recommended that licensed CPA/firms be used for this type of service.
30. Can a CPA firm employ an unlicensed person to practice public accounting and/or assist in audits?
No, the individual must be Florida licensed.
31. Do you have to be a Florida licensed CPA to conduct audits?
Yes, it is a requirement.
32. Can a non-Florida licensed CPA have clients that live in Florida but conduct the business outside the State of Florida?
Yes, if the CPA is licensed in his/her home state, resides in his/her home state, and conducts the work in his/her home state.
33. Does the Florida Board of Accountancy collect or disburse revenue for complainants?
No, we do not. The Florida Board of Accountancy enforces F.S. 455 and 473, and disciplines Florida CPAs and licensed firms as well as unlicensed activities.
34. My income taxes were not filed timely and the IRS is assessing penalties, fines and/or additional taxes. Can the Board help me to receive reimbursement from the CPA/firm?
No, the Board does not have authority to force the CPA/firm to make restitution. This type of complaint should be filed through a civil lawsuit. The Board determines if the CPA/firm has violated any Florida Statutes.
35. I believe I was overcharged by a CPA who performed some work for me. Does the Board of Accountancy regulate CPA fees?
No, the Board of Accountancy does not have the authority to regulate fees.
36. Can the Board of Accountancy force CPA’s or forensic CPA’s to produce or reproduce financial statements in civil suits (i.e. domestic, probate, assigned trustees)?
No, please refer these types of questions to your local County Court. For trust questions, contact the appropriate Probate Court.
37. Can financial statements be falsified to obtain capital gains/assets?
No. In a civil matter, if the financial statements are misrepresented or falsified, contain fraudulent entries or hidden assets, the Board of Accountancy does not override a judicial decision. The Board of Accountancy cannot force them to redo the financial statements. You would have to confer with an attorney or file an appeal in the circuit where the documents were originally filed.
38. Is a CPA allowed to engage in the selling of real estate?
Only if the property is their own or the individual is a Florida licensed real estate broker or sales associate with a listed agreement.
39. Can I file a complaint against a CPA that took my lifetime investments to purchase property that does not exist?
No, this matter would need to be referred to the Division of Real Estate. Refer to F.S. 475.25, Failure to Account and Deliver.
Statutes & Constitution :Search Statutes : flsenate.gov
40. Is a CPA required to produce software relating to tax and financial data?
If a CPA purchased the software, the software belongs to the purchaser. The CPA is only required to produce paper documents as the purchase of software would have copyright law protection.
41. If a CPA no longer works for the firm, is it required for his/her name and CPA designation to be removed from signage and advertisements?
42. May I use the term “& Associates” if there is only one Florida licensed CPA?
No, the use of “& Associates” refers to more than one Florida licensed CPA.
43. What is a Peer Review?
A Peer Review is the review of a CPA firm’s quality control practices. Peer Reviews are required for all firms that are members of the AICPA. The exceptions to Peer Reviews are firms that do not perform audits, reviews, compilations and/or attest service engagements. For more information, visit http://www.ficpa.org/ficpa/ResourceCenter/PeerReview. Another place to look to for answers to questions about Peer Reviews is a document entitled, Questions and Answers about the AICPA Peer Review Program. You can find this at http://www.aicpa.org/download/practmon/qandaprp.pdf.
44. Where can I get a copy Florida Statutes and Administrative Code?
Click on the appropriate link below:
For additional information concerning the practices of certified public accountants, please visit the following websites:
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA)
Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB)
Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)
National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA)