Regulation of Accountants – Delaware

Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 106, the use of the title or designation “certified public accountant” or the abbreviation “CPA” or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviation, sign, card or device tending to indicate that a person is a certified public accountant shall be limited to a person who holds a valid certificate and permit to practice issued by the State Accountancy Board pursuant to this chapter or issued under the laws of another jurisdiction, except that a person who holds a valid certificate, but is not engaged in the practice of certified public accountancy or public accountancy, may use the abbreviation “CPA”; provided, that it is clearly indicated that such person is not holding himself/herself out as practicing certified public accountancy.  The use of the title or designation “public accountant” or the abbreviation “PA” or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviation, sign, card or device tending to indicate that such person is a public accountant shall be limited to a person who holds a valid permit to practice.

24 Del. C. § 107 provides that each person who intends to be or is engaged in the practice of certified public accountancy in this State, whether as a principal or employee of a firm, shall be required to obtain and maintain a valid certificate and permit to practice certified public accountancy, or to qualify for the practice privilege under § 108 of this title.  The Board shall grant or renew permits to persons who make application and demonstrate their qualifications in accordance with this section.  A certificate and permit to practice certified public accountancy shall be granted by the Board to any person of good character.  However, the Board, by an affirmative vote of a majority of the quorum, may waive this paragraph (a)(1) of this section, if it finds all of the following:

  • Holds a master’s degree, conferred by an accredited college or university, with a concentration in accounting, or what the Board determines to be substantially the equivalent of such concentration;
  • Holds a baccalaureate degree, conferred by an accredited college or university, with a concentration in accounting, or what the Board determines to be substantially the equivalent of such concentration; or
  • Holds an associate degree, conferred by an accredited college or university, or a degree from an accredited 2-year college with a concentration in accounting, or what the Board determines to be substantially the equivalent of such concentration;
  • Unless otherwise provided in § 113 of this title, has successfully passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination and/or such successor examinations as may be required to qualify for a certificate;
  • Has passed the AICPA self-study course and examination in professional ethics; and
  • Has at least the equivalent of 1 year of accounting experience as an employee of a firm engaged in the practice of certified public accountancy; or not less than 1 year of experience as an accountant in government, commerce, industry or other field of endeavor which, in the opinion of the Board, is substantially equivalent to 1 year of experience as an employee of a firm engaged in the practice of certified public accountancy; or 2 years of full-time experience as an owner, principal or employee of a firm engaged in the practice of public accountancy, when such experience has occurred and the individual has obtained the education requirement described in paragraph (a)(2)a. of this section; provided that experience shall include providing any type of service or advice involving the use of accounting, compilation, internal audit, management advisory, financial advisory, tax or consulting skills, all of which was verified by a licensee, meeting requirements prescribed by the Board by rule;
  • Has at least the equivalent of 2 years of accounting experience as an employee of a firm engaged in the practice of certified public accountancy; or not less than 2 years of experience as an accountant in government, commerce, industry or other field of endeavor, which in the opinion of the Board is substantially equivalent to 2 years of experience as an employee of a firm engaged in the practice of certified public accountancy; or 4 years of full-time experience as an owner, principal or employee of a firm engaged in the practice of public accountancy when such experience has occurred and the individual has obtained the education requirement described in paragraph (a)(2)b. of this section; this experience shall include experience in engagements resulting in the issuance of financial statements including appropriate footnote disclosure and prepared in accordance with accepted accounting principles or other comprehensive bases of accounting as defined in standards established by the AICPA, or internal audit; or
  • Has at least the equivalent of 4 years of accounting experience as an employee of a firm engaged in the practice of certified public accountancy; or not less than 4 years experience as an accountant in government, commerce, industry or other field of endeavor, which in the opinion of the Board is substantially equivalent to 4 years of experience as an employee of a firm engaged in the practice of certified public accountancy; or 8 years of full-time experience as an owner, principal or employee of a firm engaged in the practice of public accountancy when such experience has occurred and the individual has obtained the education requirement described in paragraph (a)(2)c. of this section. For purposes of this paragraph, experience shall not include experience completed more than 10 years prior to the date of an individual’s application for a certificate and permit.

The Board may refuse or reject an applicant if the Board finds that the applicant has failed to meet the requirements in subsection (a) of this section; has misstated or misrepresented a material fact in connection with the applicant’s application; has violated any section of the Code of Professional Conduct for Accountants; has practiced public accountancy or certified public accountancy without being registered in accordance with this chapter; or comes within the provisions of subsection (f) of this section.

In the event that the Board has questions about an applicant’s qualifications or application materials, the Board may request an explanation or additional information.  A certificate and permit to practice will be issued to applicants who satisfy the requirements of subsection (a) of this section.  Permits shall be renewed biennially.  An applicant for renewal of a permit under this section shall show that the applicant has completed no less than 80 hours of continuing professional education in accordance with the Board guidelines during the 2-year renewal period that has elapsed since the last biennial renewal date.

An applicant for initial issuance of a certificate and permit or renewal of permits under this section shall not have engaged in any of the acts or offenses that would be grounds for disciplinary action under this chapter and have no disciplinary proceedings or unresolved complaints pending against the applicant in any jurisdiction where the applicant has previously held or currently holds a permit to practice.  Each holder of or applicant for a certificate and permit under the section shall notify the Board in writing, within 30 days after its occurrence, of any issuance, denial, revocation or suspension of a certificate or permit by another state or jurisdiction.  Where the Board has found to its satisfaction that an applicant has been intentionally fraudulent or intentionally supplied false information, it shall report its findings to the Attorney General for further action.

24 Del. C. § 110 provides that each person who intends to be or is engaged in the practice of public accountancy in this State, whether as a principal of a firm or an employee of a firm, shall be required to obtain and maintain a valid permit to practice public accountancy.  The Board shall grant and/or renew permits to persons who make application and demonstrate their qualifications in accordance with this section.

Permits shall be issued and renewed for periods of 2 years.  The Board shall grant or deny any application for issuance or renewal of a permit no later than 120 days after the application is filed in proper form.  In any case, where the applicant seeks the opportunity to show that issuance or renewal of a permit was mistakenly denied, or where the Board is not able to determine whether a permit should be granted or denied, the Board may issue to the applicant a provisional permit, which shall expire 90 days after its issuance or when the Board determines whether or not to issue or renew the permit for which application was made, whichever shall first occur.

An applicant for initial issuance of a permit under this section shall show that the applicant:

  • Meets the requirements of § 107(a)(1) of this title;
  • Meets, as a minimum, the education requirement of § 107(a)(2)c. of this title;
  • Has passed either all parts of the examination recognized by the National Society of Public Accountants or both the Accounting and Reporting and Auditing portions of the Uniform Certified Public Accounting Examination;
  • Has passed the AICPA self-study course and examination in professional ethics; and
  • Has not engaged in any acts or offenses that would be grounds for disciplinary action under this chapter and has no disciplinary proceedings or unresolved complaints pending against the applicant in any jurisdiction where the individual has been or currently holds a permit to practice. Each holder of or applicant for a permit under this section shall notify the Board in writing, within 30 days after its occurrence, of any issuance, denial, revocation or suspension of a permit by another state.

An applicant for renewal of a permit under this section shall show that the applicant has completed no less than 80 hours of continuing professional education in accordance with Board guidelines during the 2-year renewal period that has elapsed since the last biennial renewal date.  Prorated continuing professional education requirements consisting of no less than 40 hours are to be met by an applicant whose initial permit was issued less than 2 years and at least 1 year prior to the renewal date.  No continuing professional education is required of an applicant whose initial permit was issued less than 1 year prior to the renewal date.  The Board may also provide by regulation that fulfillment of continuing professional education requirements of other states will be accepted in lieu of the foregoing requirements; provided, that such other states require at least 80 hours in a 2-year period.

Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 115, no person or firm shall perform compilation, review or audit services, as defined by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), except holders of a valid permit to practice.  Audit services provided by holders of permits to practice public accountancy shall be limited to services for nonpublic entities.

24 Del. C. § 117 provides that an individual holding a certificate and any individual or firm holding a permit to practice shall be subject to those disciplinary actions set forth in § 118 of this title if, after a hearing, the Board finds that the individual or firm:

  • Has employed or knowingly cooperated in fraud or material deception in order to acquire or renew a certificate or permit to practice or be otherwise authorized to practice accountancy; or impersonated another person holding a certificate or permit to practice; or allowed another person to use the individual’s certificate or permit to practice; or aided or abetted a person not holding a certificate or permit to practice to represent himself or herself as holding a certificate or permit to practice;
  • Has engaged in an act of fraud or gross negligence in the practice of accounting or engaged in dishonorable, unethical or unprofessional conduct intended to or likely to deceive, defraud or harm the public;
  • Has been found guilty of or has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a crime that is substantially related to the practice of accountancy;
  • Has been subject to disciplinary sanction or censured or has had the individual’s certificate or permit to practice revoked or suspended in any other state for any cause other than failure to pay an annual registration fee;
  • Has been subject to disciplinary sanction or censured or has had the individual’s right to practice revoked before any state or federal agency; or
  • as violated a lawful provision of this chapter or any lawful regulation or rule of professional conduct established thereunder.

24 Del. C. § 121 provides that where the Board has determined, upon notice and hearing pursuant to Chapter 101 of Title 29, that a person is engaged in the practice of certified public accountancy or public accountancy, or is representing himself or herself to the public as the recipient of a certificate or permit, or is holding himself or herself out as being authorized to practice certified public accountancy or public accountancy, without having lawfully obtained a certificate or permit, or without having a practice privilege under § 108 of this title, or otherwise wrongfully uses such title or any similar title to practice certified public accountancy or public accountancy, or continues to practice certified public accountancy or public accountancy after the revocation or suspension of a practice privilege in this State or after the revocation, suspension or expiration of a certificate or permit from this State or another state, the Board may issue a cease and desist order. In addition to the power to issue a cease and desist order, the Board may seek an injunctive order prohibiting such unlawful practice and/or seek the imposition of other civil penalties defined by this chapter.

Where the Board has determined, upon notice and hearing pursuant to Chapter 101 of Title 29, that a firm is improperly holding itself out as being authorized to practice certified public accountancy or public accountancy, the Board may issue a cease and desist order.  In addition to the power to issue a cease and desist order, the Board may seek an injunctive order prohibiting such unlawful practice and/or seek the imposition of other civil penalties defined by this chapter.  Upon notice and hearing pursuant to Chapter 101 of Title 29, the Board may fine any person who violates such cease and desist order not less than $ 500 or more than $ 1,000, and any firm that violates such cease and desist order not less than $ 2,000 or more than $ 5,000.  Each day a violation continues may be deemed a separate offense in the Board’s discretion.  Any person or entity who violates any provisions of this chapter or any rules or regulations promulgated hereunder, shall be liable for a civil penalty as set forth in § 118(a)(6) of this title.  Where a partnership or corporation engages in the practice of certified public accountancy or public accountancy in violation of this chapter, or any rules or regulations promulgated hereunder, every partner of such partnership and every officer, director, shareholder or principal of such corporation, shall be deemed to have committed the violation in question.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent prosecution under, or be inconsistent with, Chapter 5 of Title 11.

Pursuant to 24 Del. C. § 124, in the event that a permit holder fails to timely renew a permit, such permit can be reinstated within a period of 1 year from the lapse of the permit to practice, at the discretion of the Board, upon payment of the regular renewal fee plus an additional late renewal processing fee established by the Division of Professional Regulation, and upon the permit holder furnishing proof of compliance with all other permit requirements established by the Board, including proof that the permit holder has met the continuing education requirements established by the Board.


Inside Regulation of Accountants – Delaware