O.C.G.A. § 43-3-6 provides “requirements for certificate of “certified public accountant”; disclosure of commissions from sale of insurance or financial products.
The certificate of “certified public accountant” shall be granted by the board to any person:
- Who has attained the age of 18;
- Who is, in the opinion of the board, of good moral character;
- Who meets the requirements of education and experience.
One year of continuous experience in public accountancy immediately preceding the date of application for the certificate or within a reasonable time prior to the date of such application as provided by the board by rule, provided that the board may promulgate rules stating certain circumstances which shall constitute acceptable breaks in the continuity of said experience; and provided, further, that the board may accept, in lieu of such year of experience in public accounting, evidence satisfactory to it of one year of continuous employment in the accounting field in industry, business, government, or college teaching; any combination of the above; or any combination of the above and practice of public accountancy immediately preceding the date of application for the certificate or what the board determines to be the equivalent thereof; and provided, further, that any person certified as a certified public accountant under the laws of this state on July 1, 1977, shall be deemed to have the experience in the practice of public accountancy required by this subparagraph; and who shall have passed an examination approved by the board in such related subjects as the board deems appropriate.
When an applicant is found to be unqualified for a certificate because of lack of good moral character, the board shall furnish the applicant a statement containing the findings of the board and a complete listing of the evidence upon which the determination was based, and the applicant may request a hearing on that determination. Any person who holds a certificate as a “certified public accountant” and who is engaged in the sale of insurance or financial products for which such person receives commissions must disclose in writing to the client the fact that the person shall receive commissions from the sale to the client of any such insurance or financial products; provided, however, that the person shall not be required to disclose the actual amount of such commissions. A person who violates this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 43-3-31, upon written application after a hearing pursuant to Chapter 13 of Title 50, the “Georgia Administrative Procedure Act,” the board may recertificate a certified public accountant or reregister a foreign accountant whose certification or registration has been revoked or may reissue or modify the suspension of a live permit or practice privilege which has been revoked or suspended.
O.C.G.A. § 43-3-24 provides a permit to engage in the practice of public accountancy in the state shall be issued by the division director, at the direction of the board, to each person who is certificated as a certified public accountant under Code Sections 43-3-6 through 43-3-12 or registered as a foreign accountant under Code Section 43-3-20 who shall have furnished evidence, satisfactory to the board, of compliance with the requirements of Code Section 43-3-25, and to individuals and firms registered under Code Section 43-3-21, provided that such entities are maintained and registered as required under Code Sections 43-3-21 and 43-3-23. There shall be a biennial permit fee in an amount to be determined by the board.
Individuals may practice based on a substantial equivalency practice privilege as follows:
- An individual whose principal place of business is outside this state shall be presumed to have qualifications substantially equivalent to this state’s requirements, shall have all the privileges of live permit holders of this state, and may practice public accountancy in this state without the requirement to obtain a live permit, certificate, or registration under this chapter or to otherwise notify or register with the board or pay any fee if the individual holds a valid license as a certified public accountant from any state which requires, as a condition of licensure, that an individual:
- Has at least 150 semester hours of college education including a baccalaureate or higher degree conferred by a college or university;
- Achieves a passing grade on the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination; and
- Possesses at least one year of experience, including providing any type of service or advice involving the use of accounting, attest, compilation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, or consulting skills, which may be obtained through government, industry, academic, or public practice all of which was verified by a licensee; or
- Holds a valid license as a certified public accountant from any state which does not meet the requirements of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph but such individual’s certified public accountant qualifications are substantially equivalent to those requirements. Any individual who passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination and holds a valid license issued by any other state prior to January 1, 2012, may be exempt from the education requirement in division (1)(A)(i) of this subsection for purposes of this subparagraph;
- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an individual who offers or renders professional services, whether in person or by mail, telephone, or electronic means, under this Code section shall be granted practice privileges in this state and no notice, fee, or other submission shall be provided by any such individual. Such an individual shall be subject to the requirements of paragraph (3) of this subsection;
- An individual licensee of another state exercising the privilege afforded under this subsection, and the firm that employs that individual, shall simultaneously consent, as a condition of exercising this privilege.
- That in the event the license from the state of the individual’s principal place of business is no longer valid, the individual shall cease offering or rendering professional services in this state individually and on behalf of a firm; and
- To the appointment of the state board that issued the individual’s license as the individual’s agent upon whom process may be served in any action or proceeding by this state’s board against the individual;
O.C.G.A. § 43-3-33 provides that after notice and hearing as provided in Code Section 43-3-30, the board may revoke or suspend any certification issued under Code Sections 43-3-6 through 43-3-12 or a registration issued under Code Section 43-3-20 or may revoke, suspend, or refuse to renew any live permit or may censure the holder of any such permit, or may forbid an individual from exercising the substantial equivalency practice privilege, for any cause which the board may deem sufficient, including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, any one or any combination of the following causes:
- Violation of any rule, regulation, or order promulgated by the board in accordance with the chapter;
- Fraud or deceit in obtaining certification as a certified public accountant or registration as a public accountant, in obtaining registration under this chapter, or in obtaining a live permit;
- Violation of any of the provisions of Code Section 43-3-35 or any other Code section of this chapter;
- Dishonesty, fraud, or gross negligence in the practice of public accountancy;
- Commission of a felony under the laws of any state or of the United States;
- Commission of any crime, an element of which is dishonesty or fraud, 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 as a public accountant by any other state for any cause other than voluntary withdrawal or failure to pay an annual registration fee in such other state;
- Suspension or revocation of the right to practice before any state or federal agency; Failure to furnish evidence of satisfaction of requirements of continuing professional education as required by the board pursuant to Code Section 43-3-25 or to meet any conditions with respect to continuing professional education which the board may have ordered under that Code section;
- Conduct which discredits the accounting profession; or
- Failure of such holder’s firm to register or renew its registration under Code Sections 43-3-21 and 43-3-23 or the failure of such firm to comply with any of the provisions of Code Section 43-3-23.
A person, firm, corporation, association, authority, or other entity shall be immune from civil and criminal liability for reporting or investigating the acts or omissions of a licensee or applicant which violate the provisions of subsection (a) of this Code section or any other provision of law relating to a licensee’s or applicant’s fitness to practice public accounting or for initiating or conducting proceedings against such licensee or applicant, if such report is made or action is taken in good faith, without fraud or malice. Any person who testifies or who makes a recommendation to the board in the nature of peer review, in good faith, without fraud, or malice, before the board in any proceeding involving the provisions of subsection (a) of this Code section or any other law relating to a licensee’s or applicant’s fitness to practice public accounting shall be immune from civil and criminal liability for so testifying.
Whenever, in the judgment of the board, any person has engaged or is about to engage in any acts or practices which constitute or will constitute a violation of Code Section 43-3-35 or any other Code section of this chapter, the board may make application to the superior court of the county in which such acts or practices have occurred or may be reasonably expected to occur for an order enjoining such acts or practices; and 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 shall be granted by such court.