Pursuant to the Public Accountancy Act of 2003, (Code of Ala. § 34-1-1 – § 34-1-22), Alabama State Board of Public Accountancy may promulgate and amend rules of professional conduct appropriate to establish and maintain a high standard of integrity in the profession of public accountancy.
Code of Ala. § 34-1-4 provides that the certificate of certified public accountant shall be granted by the board to any person who:
- is a citizen of the United States or, if not a citizen of the United States, a person who is legally present in the United States with appropriate documentation from the federal government, or has duly declared his/her intent to become a citizen.
- has attained the age of 19 years.
- is of good moral character.
- have earned a college degree from a four-year college or university accredited by a regional accreditation board such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities, with a concentration in accounting or what the board determines to be substantially the equivalent of a concentration in accounting.
The board may, according to Code of Ala. § 34-1-5, in its discretion and upon application and the payment of an initial registration fee not in excess of $100.00, permit the registration of any person with good moral character who is the holder of a certificate, license or degree in a foreign country constituting a recognized qualification for the practice of public accounting in such country.
Furthermore, Code of Ala. § 34-1-12 provides that after notice and hearing as provided in Section 34-1-14, the board may suspend for a period not to exceed three years or revoke any certificate issued under Section 34-1-4, or any registration granted under Section 34-1-5 or 34-1-8, or any practice privilege granted pursuant to Section 34-1-7; may revoke, suspend, or refuse to renew any permit issued under Section 34-1-11; or may censure the holder of any permit or any practice privilege for any one or any combination of causes such as:
- Fraud or deceit in obtaining a certificate as a certified public accountant or in obtaining registration or in obtaining a permit to practice public accounting.
- Dishonesty, fraud, or gross negligence in the practice of public accounting.
- Any violation of a rule of professional conduct promulgated by the board.
- Conviction of any crime, an element of which is dishonesty or fraud, under the laws of any state or of the United States.
- Conviction of a felony under the laws of any state or of the United States.
- Cancellation, revocation, suspension, or refusal to renew authority to practice as a certified public accountant or a public accountant by any other state for any cause other than failure to pay an annual registration fee in the other state.
- Suspension or revocation of the right to practice before any state or federal agency.
- Failure to be legally present in this state, or to become a citizen of the United States within six years by any person not a citizen of the United States when s/he received a certificate as a certified public accountant or was registered as a public accountant.
- Conduct discreditable to the public accounting profession.
- Failure of a certificate holder or registrant to furnish evidence of satisfaction of requirements of continuing education as required by the board pursuant to Section 34-1-11 or to meet any conditions in respect of continuing education which the board may have ordered with respect to the certificate holder under that section.
- Failure to comply with the provisions and requirements of the board’s peer review program.
- Making any false or misleading statement or verification in support of an application for a certificate, registration, or permit filed by another.
Moreover, in addition to the disciplinary powers granted, the board may singly, or in combination with any other disciplinary action, levy and collect administrative fines for violations of this chapter or the rules and regulations of the board of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) for each violation.
Code of Ala. § 34-1-13 provides that after notice and hearing as provided in Section 34-1-14, the board shall revoke the registration and permit to practice of a firm if at any time it does not have all the qualifications prescribed for registration. After notice and hearing as provided in Section 34-1-14, the board may revoke or suspend the registration of a firm or may revoke, suspend, or refuse to renew its permit under Section 34-1-11 to practice, or may censure the holder of any permit for any of the causes enumerated in Section 34-1-12 or for any of the additional causes such as:
- The revocation or suspension of the certificate or registration or the revocation, suspension, or refusal to renew the permit to practice of any licensee.
- The cancellation, revocation, suspension, or refusal to renew the authority of the firm or any owner thereof, to practice public accounting in any other state for any just cause other than failure to pay an annual registration fee in the other state.
Upon application in writing and after hearing, pursuant to notice, the board may issue a new certificate to a certified public accountant whose certificate shall have been revoked, may allow the reregistration of anyone whose registration has been revoked, may reissue or modify the suspension of any permit to practice public accounting which has been revoked or suspended, or may restore or modify the suspension of any practice privilege granted pursuant to Section 34-1-7 which has been revoked or suspended.
According to Code of Ala. § 34-1-16, no person shall assume or use the title or designation “certified public accountant,” the abbreviation “CPA” or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviation, sign, card, or device tending to indicate that the person is a certified public accountant, unless:
- the person has received a certificate as a certified public accountant under Section 34-1-4;
- if in public practice, the person holds a permit issued under Section 34-1-11, which is not revoked or suspended, hereinafter referred to as a live permit; and
- all of the offices of the person in this state for the practice of public accounting are maintained and registered as required under Section 34-1-10; or
- the person is practicing pursuant to Section 34-1-7.
Code of Ala. § 34-1-18 also provides that whenever it appears to the board that any person has engaged, or is about to engage, in any acts or practices which constitute or will constitute a violation of Section 34-1-16, the board may in its own name bring action in an appropriate court for an order enjoining such acts or practices. Moreover, upon a showing by the board that such person has engaged, or is about to engage, in any such acts or practices, an injunction, restraining order or such other order as may be appropriate may be granted by such court without bond; and, such proceeding may be maintained regardless of whether proceedings have been or may be instituted before the board, or whether criminal proceedings have been or may be instituted.
Pursuant to Code of Ala. § 34-1-19, any person who violates any provision of Section 34-1-16 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $500.00. The person may also be imprisoned in the county jail, or sentenced to hard labor for the c