Regulation of Accountants – Iowa

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 542.5, a certificate as a certified public accountant may be granted to a person of good moral character who makes application pursuant to section 542.6 and who satisfies the education, experience, and examination requirements of this section and rules adopted pursuant to this section.  An applicant for a certificate who has been convicted of forgery, embezzlement, obtaining money under false pretenses, theft, extortion, conspiracy to defraud, or other similar offense, or of any crime involving moral character or honesty, in a court of competent jurisdiction in this state, or another state, territory, or a district of the United States, or in a foreign jurisdiction, may be denied a certificate by the board on the grounds of the conviction.  An applicant for a certificate who has had a professional license of any kind revoked in this or any other jurisdiction may be denied a certificate by the board on the grounds of the revocation.

A person who makes a false statement of material fact on an application for a certificate, or who causes to be submitted, or has been a party to preparing or submitting a false application for a certificate, may be denied a certificate by the board on the grounds of the false statement or submission.  A certificate holder found to have made such a false statement or who has caused to be submitted, or was a party to preparing or submitting any false application for a certificate, may have the holder’s certificate suspended or revoked by the board on the grounds of the false statement or submission.

An applicant shall complete at least one hundred fifty semester hours, or the trimester or quarter equivalent of one hundred fifty semester hours, of college education, and receive a baccalaureate or higher degree conferred by a college or university recognized by the board, the total educational program to include a concentration in accounting or what the board determines to be substantially equivalent.  A person holding a certificate as a certified public accountant issued by the state prior to July 1, 2002, is deemed to have met the requirements of this section.

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 542.8, the license of a licensed public accountant shall be granted by the board to any person who holds a license as an accounting practitioner issued under the laws of this state in full force and effect on July 1, 2002, and has completed additional educational requirements as prescribed by the board.  The licensed public accountant license shall expire in multiyear intervals as determined by the board.  The board shall notify a person licensed under this chapter of the date of expiration of the license and the amount of the fee required for its renewal.  A person who fails to renew a license as a licensed public accountant by the expiration date shall be allowed to do so within thirty days following its expiration, but the board may assess a reasonable penalty.  A licensee, for renewal of a license under this section, shall participate in a program of learning designed to maintain professional competency.

Iowa Code § 542.10 provides that after notice and hearing pursuant to section 542.11, the board may revoke, suspend for a period of time not to exceed two years, or refuse to renew a license; reprimand, censure, or limit the scope of practice of any licensee; impose an administrative penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars per violation; or place any licensee on probation; all with or without terms, conditions, and in combinations of remedies, for any one or more of the following reasons:

  • Fraud or deceit in obtaining a license, which may also result in permanent revocation of the license.
  • Dishonesty, fraud, or gross negligence in the practice of public accounting.
  • Engaging in any activity prohibited under section 542.13 or permitting persons under the licensee’s supervision to do so.
  • Violation of a rule of professional conduct adopted by the board under the authority granted by this chapter.
  • Conviction of a felony under the laws of any state of the United States.
  • Conviction of any crime, any element of which is dishonesty or fraud as provided in section 542.5, subsection 2, under the laws of any state of the United States.
  • Practice as a certified public accountant, licensed public accountant, or accounting practitioner, or the acceptance of the voluntary surrender of a license to practice as a certified public accountant, licensed public accountant, or accounting practitioner to conclude a pending disciplinary action, by any other state or foreign authority for any cause other than failure to pay appropriate fees in the other jurisdiction.
  • Suspension or revocation of the right to practice before any state or federal agency.
  • Conduct discreditable to the public accounting profession.

Multiple violations arising from the same factual circumstances or from different factual circumstances containing a common error shall be considered as a single violation for the purpose of imposition of an administrative penalty.  In lieu of or in addition to any remedy specifically provided in subsection 1, the board may require a licensee to satisfy a peer review or desk review process on such terms as the board may specify, satisfactorily complete a continuing education program, or such additional remedies as the board may specify by rule.

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 542.12, in any case in which the board has suspended, revoked, or restricted a license, refused to renew a license, or accepted the voluntary surrender of a license to conclude a pending disciplinary investigation or action, the board may, upon written application, modify or terminate the suspension, reissue the license, or modify or remove the restriction, with or without terms and conditions.  The board is vested with discretionary authority to specify by rule the manner in which such applications shall be made, the times within which they shall be made, the circumstances in which a hearing will be held, and the grounds upon which such applications will be decided.

Iowa Code § 542.13 provides that only a certified public accountant may issue a report on financial statements of a person, firm, organization, or governmental unit, or offer to render or render any attest service.  Only a certified public accountant or licensed public accountant may render compilation services.  A person not holding a certificate shall not use or assume the title “certified public accountant” or the abbreviation “CPA” or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviation, sign, card, or device tending to indicate that such person is a certified public accountant.  A person shall not assume or use the title “licensed public accountant” or the abbreviation “LPA” or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviation, sign, card, or device tending to indicate that such person is a licensed public accountant unless that person holds a license issued under section 542.8.

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 542.14, if, as a result of an investigation under section 542.11 or otherwise, the board believes that a person or firm has engaged, or is about to engage, in an act or practice which constitutes or will constitute a violation of section 542.13, the board may make application to the district court for an order enjoining such act or practice.  Upon a showing by the board that such person or firm has engaged, or is about to engage, in any such act or practice, an injunction, restraining order, or other order as may be appropriate shall be granted by the court.  In addition to a criminal penalty provided for in section 542.15, the board may issue an order to require compliance with section 542.13 and may impose a civil penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars for each offense upon a person who is not a licensee under this chapter and who engages in conduct prohibited by section 542.13.

An action to enforce an order under this section may be joined with an action for an injunction.  The board, in its discretion and in lieu of prosecuting a first offense under this section, may enter into a consent agreement with a violator, or with a person guilty of aiding or abetting a violator, which acknowledges the violation and the violator’s agreement to refrain from any further violations.

Iowa Code § 542.15 provides that a person who violates a provision of section 542.13 is guilty of a serious misdemeanor.  If the board has reason to believe that a person has committed a violation subject to subsection 1, the board may certify the facts to the attorney general of this state, or to the county attorney of the county where the person maintains a business office, who, in the attorney general’s or county attorney’s discretion, may initiate an appropriate criminal proceeding.


Inside Regulation of Accountants – Iowa