Regulation of Accountants – Louisiana

Pursuant to La. R.S. 37:75A, certificate of certified public accountant shall be granted to persons of good moral character who meet the education, experience, and examination requirements of this Section and who make application to the board.  The board may refuse to grant a certificate on the grounds of failure to satisfy the requirement of good moral character only if there exists a substantial connection between the lack of good moral character of the applicant and the professional responsibilities of a licensee and if the findings of the board are supported by clear and convincing evidence.  When an applicant is found to be unqualified for a certificate because of lack of good moral character, the board shall furnish the applicant with a statement containing the findings of the board, records of evidence upon which the determination is made, and a notice of the applicant’s right of appeal.

An applicant is eligible to apply for the examination provided for in the section upon meeting the educational requirement of at least one hundred fifty semester hours of college education including a baccalaureate or higher degree conferred by a college or university acceptable to the board, the total educational program to include an accounting concentration or equivalent as determined by the board to be appropriate.  In addition, the applicant shall have maintained continuous residence in the state for a period of not less than one hundred twenty days preceding the date of the board’s next scheduled examination.  The examination required to be passed as a condition for the granting of a certificate shall be held at least twice a year and shall test the applicant’s knowledge of the subjects of accounting and auditing and such other related subjects as the board may specify including but not limited to business law and taxation.

An applicant for initial issuance of a certificate under the section shall show that s/he has had one year of experience.  Such experience shall include providing any type of service or advice involving the use of accounting, attest, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, or consulting skills.  All persons having held or holding a valid license as a licensed certified public accountant issued or renewed by the board on or after January 1, 1998, shall be deemed to have met the requirements of this Section, provided that the license has not been revoked or suspended by the board.  All persons, who on June 17, 1999, have met the then-existing requirements to become certified public accountants, but who have not met the then-existing requirements to be licensed as a certified public accountant, shall be presumed to have met all of the requirements for obtaining a certificate under this Part except for the experience requirements set forth in subsection G of the Section.

La. R.S. 37:76 A provides that the board shall grant or renew certificates to persons who make application to the board and demonstrate that their qualifications are in accordance with the provisions of this Part or that they are eligible under the substantial equivalency standard prescribed in this Part.  Only the holder of an active certificate may provide attest services and must do so in a CPA firm that holds a permit issued pursuant to this Part.  Certificates shall be initially issued and renewed annually.  Issuance or renewal of a certificate shall not preclude the board from any further investigation and action against such certificate or certificate holder.  Any certificate which is not timely renewed with all required information shall expire on the date specified by the board.  Any certificate which has expired because of non-renewal may be reinstated by the board upon payment of the renewal fee and any penalty fees as may be prescribed by the board provided that the applicant is otherwise qualified for certification under this Part.

For renewal of an active certificate, each licensee shall participate in a program of learning designed to maintain professional competency with regard to the current job duties of the licensee.  The board shall charge a fee for each application for initial issuance or renewal of a certificate in an amount prescribed by rule.

Applicants for initial issuance, renewal, or reinstatement of certificates shall list in their applications all reasonable and relevant information required by the board, which may include but not be limited to all states in which they have applied for or hold certificates, licenses, or permits and any past denial, revocation, or suspension of a certificate, license, or permit.

The board may issue a certificate to a holder of a substantially equivalent foreign designation provided that the foreign authority which granted the designation makes similar provision to allow a person who holds a valid certificate issued by this state to obtain such foreign authority’s comparable designation.

La. R.S. 37:83 provides that only licensees or individuals granted privileges under R.S. 37:94 may issue a report on financial statements of any other person, firm, organization, or governmental unit, which purports to be in compliance with standards applicable to attest services, or otherwise offer to render or render any attest service.  Licensees or individuals granted privileges under R.S. 37:94 performing attest services must provide those services in accordance with applicable professional standards.  No person shall 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, unless the person holds a valid active certificate issued as provided for in this Part or a privilege pursuant to R.S. 37:94.

Moreover, no person or firm shall assume or use the title “public accountant”, “certified accountant”, “chartered accountant”, “enrolled accountant”, “licensed accountant”, “registered accountant”, or any other title or designation likely to be confused with the title “certified public accountant” or use any of the abbreviations “CA”, “LA”, “RA”, “PA”, or similar abbreviation likely to be confused with the abbreviation “CPA”, unless such person or firm holds a valid active certificate or permit issued as provided for in this Part.  No person holding a certificate nor firm holding a permit under this Part shall use a professional or firm name or designation that is misleading about the legal form of the firm or about the persons who are partners, officers, members, managers, or shareholders of the firm, or about any other matter.  No holder of a certificate shall perform attest services in any firm that does not hold a valid permit.  Nothing herein shall prohibit a practicing attorney or firm of attorneys from preparing or presenting records or documents customarily prepared by an attorney or firm of attorneys in connection with an attorney’s professional work in the practice of law.

A licensed certified public accountant or licensed CPA firm shall not, for a commission, recommend or refer to a client any product or service, or for a commission recommend or refer any product or service to be supplied by a client, or receive a commission, when the licensee also performs for that client any of the following:

  • An audit or review of a financial statement.
  • A compilation of a financial statement when the licensee expects or reasonably might expect that a third party will use the financial statement and the licensee’s compilation report does not disclose a lack of independence.
  • An examination of prospective financial information.

This prohibition applies during the period in which the licensee is engaged to perform any of such services and the period covered by any historical financial statements involved in such services.

A licensee shall not perform any professional services for or receive a contingent fee from a client for whom the licensee or the licensee’s firm performs any of the following:

  • An audit or review of a financial statement.
  • A compilation of a financial statement when the licensee expects or reasonably might expect that a third party will use the financial statement and the licensee’s compilation report does not disclose a lack of independence.
  • An examination of prospective financial information.
  • Prepare an original or amended tax return or claim for a tax refund for a contingent fee for any client.

These prohibitions apply during the period in which the licensee is engaged to perform any such services and the period covered by any historical financial statements involved in such services.

La. R.S. 37:82 provides that in any case where the board has suspended or revoked a certificate or permit or refused to renew a certificate or permit, the board may, upon a written application by the person or firm affected and upon a showing of good cause, modify the suspension or reissue the certificate or permit or issue a new certificate or permit under a new number.  Before reissuing or terminating the suspension of a certificate or permit, the board may require the applicant to show successful completion of specified continuing professional education and may make the reinstatement conditional and subject to satisfactory completion of a peer review conducted in such fashion as the board may specify or under such other conditions as the board may specify.

Pursuant to La. R.S. 37:84, whenever the board believes that any person or firm has engaged in or is about to engage in any acts or practices which constitute or will constitute a violation of R.S. 37:83, the board may:

  • Apply to the appropriate court for an order enjoining such acts or practices. Upon a showing by the board that such person or firm has engaged in or is about to engage in any such acts or practices, an injunction, a restraining order, or other appropriate order shall be granted by such court.
  • Bring its information to the attention of the attorney general of any state, or other appropriate law enforcement officer, who may in his/her discretion cause appropriate criminal proceedings to be brought.

Any person or firm who knowingly violates any provision of R.S. 37:83 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be subject to a fine of not more than five hundred dollars for each violation or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.


Inside Regulation of Accountants – Louisiana