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Board of Accountancy

How to File a Complaint

 

Complaint FormsConduct & Ethics | Unauthorized Use of CPA Title

 

 

The Accountancy Act authorizes the Tennessee State Board of Accountancy to respond to complaints filed against licensees for possible violations of the Accountancy Act and allegations of unprofessional conduct. Complaints generally come from consumers, other state agencies and other CPAs. The most common allegations in a complaint are unauthorized use of the term accountant, unprofessional conduct in preparing tax returns and the issuance of substandard financial statements.

 

Click here to learn answers to some questions that are commonly asked by potential complainants and CPAs.

 

Conduct and Ethics

 

The mission statement of the TNSBA is to protect the public welfare by ensuring that only qualified persons are certified, permitted or licensed and once licensed, these persons who are licensed uphold the highest professional standards of practice, independence and competency. To this end, a CPA should be aware of and understand state law and rules regarding licensing requirements, maintain independence of thought and action, endeavor to continually improve professional skills, observe generally accepted accounting principles and auditing standards, promote sound financial reporting, uphold the dignity and honor of the accounting profession, and maintain high standards of professional conduct.

 

The Rules of Professional Conduct adopted and enforced by the board cover a broad range of behaviors, but do not cover every possible unethical act. These rules include the issues of integrity, contingent fees, disclosures, competence, compliance with standards and confidential client information. When the rules are silent on any matter, the licensee should defer to the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct. When interpreting the rules of professional conduct, the board may give consideration to relevant interpretations, rulings and opinions issued by other boards of accountancy or authorized ethics committees of professional accounting organizations such as the Tennessee Society of CPAs and the American Institute of CPAs.

 

Finally, it is important to note that the CPA is not only responsible for his or her compliance with these rules, but is also responsible for ensuring that partners, shareholders, or employees under his or her supervision comply with the rules.

 

Unauthorized Use of CPA Title

 

Tennessee Accountancy Law is unique in that no one can represent him self as a CPA, PA or an accountant unless they have passed the CPA Exam, an ethics exam, obtained appropriate experience and obtained a license to practice in TN. It is important to note here, that the Accountancy Act of 1998 eliminated the Public Accountant designation, once all currently licensed PAs expire. One can only become licensed in Tennessee as an initial Tennessee candidate or through reciprocity. This means that:

  • It is unlawful for any one who has not received a certificate of qualification admitting him or her to practice as a certified public accountant to assume the use of such title, or to use any words, letters, abbreviations, symbols or other means of identification to indicate that the person has been admitted to practice as a CPA or PA or accountant;
  • It is unlawful for any firm, co-partnership, or association to provide attest services or assume or use the title of certified public accountant, or to use any words, letters, abbreviations, symbols, or other means of identification to indicate that the members of the firm, co-partnership, or association have been admitted to practice as CPAs or PAs unless each of the professional members of the firm, co-partnership, or association have indeed received certificate of qualification admitting him or he r to practice as a CPA or PA;
  • It is unlawful for any business entity to assume or use the title of certified public accountant, or to use any words, letters, abbreviations, symbols, or other means of identification that such business entity has received a certificate of qualification from the Board admitting it to practice as a CPA firm, until licensed by the Board.
  • Non-licensees may not use language in any statement relating to the financial affairs of a person or entity which is conventionally used by licensees in reports on financial statements; non-licensees may use Safe Harbor Language set forth in Rule 0020-4-.06.

File a Complaint

 

Print Complaint Form [pdf] | Online Form