The purpose of the chapter on Accountants, A.C.A. § 17-12-102, is to promote the dependability of information which is used for guidance in financial transactions or for accounting for or assessing the status or performance of commercial and noncommercial enterprises, whether public or private.
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 17-12-104, any person who violates any provision of § 17-12-106 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be subject to a fine of not more than $500 or to imprisonment for not more than one 1 year, or to both fine and imprisonment for each violation.
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 17-12-105, if any person has engaged, or is about to engage, in any acts or practices which constitute, or will constitute, a violation of § 17-12-106, the board may make application to the appropriate court for an order enjoining such acts or practices, and upon a showing by the board that the 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 shall be granted by the court without bond.
A.C.A. § 17-12-106 deals with unlawful acts. No person shall assume or use the title or designation “certified public accountant” or the abbreviation “CPA” or “public accountant” any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviation, sign, card, or device tending to indicate that he or she is a certified public accountant, unless he or she holds a current license as a certified public accountant or a public accountant.
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 17-12-301, a certificate as a certified public accountant shall be granted by the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy to any person of good moral character who has met the education and experience requirements and who has passed an examination in accounting and auditing and such related subjects as the board shall determine to be appropriate. Any person who has received from the board a certificate as a certified public accountant which is currently in full force and effect shall be styled and known as a “certified public accountant” and may also use the abbreviation “CPA”. The board shall maintain a list of certified public accountants. Any certified public accountant may also be known as a public accountant.
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 17-12-601, the following acts, conduct, or practices are prohibited, and any licensee or holder of a practice privilege found guilty by the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy of the acts, conducts, or practices shall be subject to disciplinary action as provided in § 17-12-602 after notice and hearing as provided in § 17-12-603:
- Fraud, dishonesty, or deceit in obtaining or attempting to obtain a certificate or registration as a certified public accountant or public accountant, registration of a firm, or a practice privilege under this chapter;
- Dishonesty, fraud, or gross negligence in the practice of public accountancy;
- Violation of any of the provisions of this chapter;
- Violation of a rule of professional conduct or other rule promulgated by the board under the authority granted by this chapter;
- Conviction of a felony;
- Conviction of any crime an element of which is dishonesty, fraud, or moral turpitude;
- Imposition of any sanction or disciplinary action, other than for failure to pay annual fees, by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, Internal Revenue Service, or other federal or state agency or foreign authority or credentialing body that regulates public accounting regarding the licensee’s conduct while rendering public accounting or other professional services;
- Conduct discreditable to the public accounting profession; and
- Violation of any board order or agreement for the resolution of asserted violations of this chapter, a board rule of professional conduct, or other board rule.
The board may deny an application for a license, registration, certificate, or practice privilege if it finds the applicant committed any of the above acts, conduct, or practices.
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 17-12-602, if a licensee or holder of a practice privilege is found to have committed an action or omission identified in § 17-12-601, the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy may impose any one (1) or more of the following sanctions:
- Suspension, revocation, or denial of his or her license or practice privilege or the renewal thereof;
- A penalty not to exceed $1,000 for each violation;
- Completion of appropriate education programs or courses;
- Preissuance review of audits, review reports, or compilations;
- Quality review conducted in such a manner as the board may specify;
- Successful completion of the licensing examination;
- Conditions or restrictions upon the license, registration, or practice privilege; and
- All other requirements or penalties the board finds appropriate to the circumstances of the case and that would achieve the desired disciplinary purposes but that would not impair the public welfare and morals.
The board is authorized to file suit in either the Pulaski County Circuit Court or the circuit court of any county in which the defendant resides or does business to collect any monetary penalty assessed under this chapter if the penalty is not paid within the time prescribed by the board.
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 17-12-603, the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy may initiate proceedings either on its own motion or on the complaint of any person. A written notice stating the nature of the charges against the accused and the time and place of the hearing before the board on the charges shall be served on the accused not less than 30 days prior to the date of the hearing. If, after having been served with the notice of hearing, the accused fails to appear at the hearing and defend, the board may proceed to hear evidence against him or her and may enter any order as shall be justified by the evidence, which order shall be final unless he or she petitions for a review thereof as provided herein. The decision of the board shall be by majority vote.
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 17-12-604, upon application in writing and after hearing, the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy may issue a new certificate to a certified public accountant whose certificate shall have been revoked, or the board may permit the reregistration of anyone whose registration has been revoked or may reissue or modify the suspension of any license to practice public accounting which has been revoked or suspended.