Regulation of Accountants – Mississippi

Miss. Code Ann. § 73-33-1 provides that any person residing or having a place for the regular transaction of business in the State of Mississippi being of good moral character, and who shall have received from the State Board of Public Accountancy a license certifying his/her qualifications as a certified public accountant as hereinafter provided, shall be styled or known as a certified public accountant, and it shall be unlawful for any other person or persons to assume such title or use any letters, abbreviations or words to indicate that such person using same is a certified public accountant, unless, at the discretion of the board, such person has been granted use of the title of “certified public accountant retired” by the Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy or has received a reciprocal certified public accountant license from the State Board of Public Accountancy.

A certified public accountant practicing public accounting must be associated and registered with a certified public accountant firm, except a certified public accountant who is practicing as a sole proprietor not acting as a practice unit.  In order to obtain and maintain a firm permit, a certified public accountant firm must meet the qualifications as set and determined by the board and shall be required to show the following:

  • It is wholly owned by natural persons and not owned in whole or in part by business entities;
  • A simple majority of the ownership of the firm in terms of financial interests and/or voting rights hold Mississippi certified public accountant licenses; and
  • The certified public accountant members of the firm are registered and in good standing with the board.

In order to obtain and maintain a firm permit, a certified public accountant firm or office thereof having its principal place of business located outside of the State of Mississippi that offer to perform or practices public accounting for a client or a potential client who is a Mississippi resident, has a principal place of business or is domiciled in Mississippi shall be required to show the following:

  • It is wholly owned by natural persons and not owned in whole or in part by business entities;
  • A simple majority of the ownership of the firm in terms of financial interests and/or voting rights hold certified public accountant licenses from a statutorily authorized licensing jurisdiction; and
  • The certified public accountant members of the firm offering to perform work for a Mississippi client are registered and in good standing with the board.

Any certified public accountant firm may include nonlicensee owners, provided that:

  • The firm designates a licensee of this state, who is responsible for the proper registration of the firm and identifies that individual to the board;
  • All nonlicensee owners are active individual participants in the certified public accountants firm or affiliated entities; and
  • The firm complies with such other requirements as the board may impose by rule.

Any person residing or having a place for the regular transaction of business in the State of Mississippi being of good moral character, and who shall have received from the State Board of Public Accountancy a license certifying his qualifications as a certified public accountant as hereinafter provided, shall be styled or known as a certified public accountant, and it shall be unlawful for any other person or persons to assume such title or use any letters, abbreviations or words to indicate that such person using same is a certified public accountant, unless such person qualifies for a practice privilege under Section 73-33-17, at the discretion of the board, such person has been granted use of the title of “certified public accountant retired” by the Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy or has received a reciprocal certified public accountant license from the State Board of Public Accountancy.  A certified public accountant practicing public accounting must be associated and registered with a certified public accountant firm, except a certified public accountant who is practicing as a sole proprietor not acting as a practice unit.  The State Board of Public Accountancy shall grant and renew permits to practice as a CPA firm to applicants that demonstrate their qualifications in accordance with this section.

Unless exempt from the firm permit requirement under Section 73-33-1(3)(b) or (c), no person or persons shall engage in the practice of public accounting as defined herein as a partnership, joint venture or professional corporation, sole proprietor acting as a practice unit, or other business organization allowed by law, unless and until each business organization or office thereof located inside the State of Mississippi has registered with and been issued a firm permit by the State Board of Public Accountancy.

Miss. Code Ann. § 73-33-11 provides that the Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy may revoke, suspend, impose a civil penalty or take other appropriate action with respect to any license, practice privilege or permit issued pursuant to this chapter for any unprofessional conduct by the licensee or permit holder, or for other sufficient cause, provided written notice shall have been sent by certified mail (with the addressee’s receipt required) to the holder thereof, twenty (20) days before any hearing thereon, stating the cause for such contemplated action and appointing a day and a place for a full hearing thereon by the board, provided further, no certificate or license be cancelled or revoked until a hearing shall have been given to the holder thereof according to law.  But, after such hearing, the board may, in its discretion, suspend the certified public accountant from practice as a certified public accountant in this state.  When payment of a civil penalty is assessed and levied by the board in accordance with this section, such civil penalty shall not exceed Five Thousand Dollars ($ 5,000.00) for each violation and shall be deposited into the special fund to the credit of the board.

In a proceeding conducted under this section by the board for disciplinary action, those reasonable costs that are expended by the board in the investigation and conduct of a proceeding for discipline, including, but not limited to, the cost of service of process, court reporters, expert witnesses, investigators and legal fees may be imposed by the board on the accused, the charging party or bothThe board may, at any time, reinstate a license, practice privilege or permit if it finds that such reinstatement is justified.  The board shall be authorized to suspend the license of any licensee for being out of compliance with an order for support, as defined in Section 93-11-153.  The procedure for suspension of a license for being out of compliance with an order for support, and the procedure for the reissuance or reinstatement of a license suspended for that purpose, and the payment of any fees for the reissuance or reinstatement of a license suspended for that purpose, shall be governed by Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163, as the case may be.  Actions taken by the board in suspending a license when required by Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163 are not actions from which an appeal may be taken under this section.

Pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. § 73-33-13 if any person shall:(a) falsely represent himself/herself to the public as having received a certified public accountant license or falsely represent a firm in which he has an ownership interest to the public as having received a firm permit as provided in this chapter; or (b) falsely assume to practice as a certified public accountant; or (c) falsely use the abbreviation, “CPA,” or any similar words or word, letters or letter to indicate that the person using the same is a certified public accountant, without having received a certified public accountant license as provided in this chapter or without qualifying for a practice privilege under Section 73-33-17; or (d) if any person having received a certified public accountant license and having lost such license by cancellation, revocation or suspension as provided by this chapter, shall continue to use the “CPA” abbreviation, use the words certified public accountant, or practice public accounting after losing his license; or (e) if any person shall represent that a CPA firm with a suspended or revoked permit in which s/he has an ownership interest is entitled to perform such practice, s/he shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a criminal fine of not less than Five Hundred Dollars ($ 500.00) or of not more than Five Thousand Dollars ($ 5,000.00), or by imprisonment in the county jail for not longer than six (6) months, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court for each such an offense.

Miss. Code Ann. § 73-33-15 provides that it shall be unlawful for any person, except either a registered public accountant who is associated and registered with a firm permit holder or an individual qualifying for the practice privilege under Section 73-33-17, and/or for any firm, except for a certified public accountant firm that is in compliance with the applicable requirements of Section 73-33-1(3), to:

  • Issue, sign or permit his name or firm name to be associated with any report, transmittal letter or other written communication issued as a result of an examination of financial statements or financial information which contains either an expression of opinion or other attestation as to the fairness, accuracy or reliability of such financial statements;
  • Offer to perform, or perform, for the public, public accounting, tax consulting or other accounting-related services while holding himself/herself out as a certified public accountant or as a firm of certified public accountants or certified public accountant firm; or
  • Maintain an office or other facility for the transaction of business as a certified public accountant or certified public accountant firm.

Any person or firm violating subsection (1) of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and may, upon conviction therefor, be punished by a criminal fine of not less than Five Hundred Dollars ($ 500.00) nor more than Five Thousand Dollars ($ 5,000.00), or by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than ten (10) days nor more than six (6) months, or by both such fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court.  In addition to any other penalty which may be applicable, the board may impose a civil penalty against any person adjudged by the board to be in violation of subsection (1) of this section.  The civil penalty shall not exceed Five Thousand Dollars ($ 5,000.00) per violation and shall be deposited into the special fund to the credit of the board


Inside Regulation of Accountants – Mississippi