Regulation of Accountants – New Mexico

New Mexico’s 1999 Public Accountancy Act deals with registration and licenses of accountants in the state.  However this Act will become repealed effective July 1, 2012.  The purpose of the 1999 Public Accountancy Act is to protect the public interest by regulating the practice of public accountancy.

According to the Act, specifically N.M. Stat. Ann. § 61-28B-7, an applicant for a certified public accountant certificate shall complete the application form provided by the board and demonstrate to the board’s satisfaction that s/he is of good moral character and lacks a history of dishonest or felonious acts; and meets the education, experience and examination requirements of the board.

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 61-28B-9 requires the board to grant or renew a certificate upon application and demonstration that the applicant’s qualification are in accordance with the Act.  The board shall grant or deny an application for certification no later than 120 days after the complete application is filed.  If an applicant appeals the decision of the board to deny a certificate, the board may issue a provisional certificate for no longer than 90 days while the board reconsiders its decision.  A certificate holder shall provide satisfactory proof to the board of continuing professional education that is designed to maintain competency.

Pursuant to N.M. Stat. Ann. § 61-28B-12, a person who on July 1, 1999 holds a certificate as a registered public accountant shall be entitled to have his or her certificate renewed upon fulfillment of the continuing professional education requirements, application and payment of fees prescribed for certificate renewal.  As long as a registered public accountant holds a valid certificate and permit, they shall be entitled to perform attest services to the same extent as a certified public accountant and certified public accountant firm.  In addition, they shall be entitled to use the titles “registered public accountant” and “registered public accountants”, but no other title.

Pursuant to N.M. Stat. Ann. § 61-28B-15, upon receipt of a complaint or other information suggesting a violation of the Act, the board may conduct an investigation to determine whether there is probable cause to institute a proceeding against a person or firm.  Upon a finding of probable cause, if the subject of the investigation is a certificate or permit holder, the board shall direct that a notice of contemplated action be issued.  Upon a finding of no probable cause, the board shall close the matter.  The board may review the publicly available professional work of a certificate or permit holder without any requirement of a formal complaint or suspicion of impropriety on the part of a particular certificate or permit holder.  In the event that such review reveals reasonable grounds for a more specific investigation, the board may proceed pursuant to Act.  N.M. Stat. Ann. § 61-28B-16 requires that hearings by the board shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Uniform Licensing Act.

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 61-28B-17 states that, it is unlawful for a person to engage in practice in New Mexico unless the person is a licensee.  No person shall issue a report or financial statement for a person or a governmental unit or issue a report using any form of language conventionally used respecting an audit or review of financial statements, unless the person holds a current license or permit.  No person shall indicate by title, designation, abbreviation, sign, card or device that the person is a certified public accountant or a registered public accountant unless the person is currently certified by the board.  A person shall not engage in practice unless s/he holds a valid certificate or current permit; or s/he is an employee supervised by a licensee and not a partner, officer, shareholder or member of a firm.  A person shall not sell, offer to sell or fraudulently obtain or furnish any certificate or permit or fraudulently register as a certified public accountant or registered public accountant or practice without being granted a certificate or permit.

According to N.M. Stat. Ann. § 61-28B-20, the board may take, after providing a person due process pursuant to the Uniform Licensing Act, corrective action following a finding that an applicant or licensee:

  • a certificate or permit through cancellation, revocation, suspension or refusal of renewal in any other state for cause, as defined by board rule;
  • failed to maintain compliance with the requirements of the 1999 Public Accountancy Act and board rules for issuance or renewal of a certificate or permit or failed to report material changes to the board, as required by board rule;
  • lost the authorization to practice in any state or before any federal agency through revocation or suspension of that authorization;
  • committed dishonest, fraudulent or grossly negligent acts in the practice of public accountancy or in the filing or failure to file the applicant’s or licensee’s own income or other federal, state or local tax returns;
  • violated a provision of the 1999 Public Accountancy Act or a rule promulgated by the board;
  • violated a rule of professional conduct promulgated by the board pursuant to the 1999 Public Accountancy Act;
  • has been convicted of a felony or of a crime an element of which is dishonesty or fraud;
  • performed a fraudulent act while holding a certificate or permit issued; or
  • participated in any conduct reflecting adversely upon the applicant’s or licensee’s fitness to engage in practice.

After a finding by the board that an applicant or licensee has committed any of the above violation, the board may take, with or without terms, conditions and limitations, one or more of the following corrective actions:

  • deny an application or revoke a certificate or permit
  • suspend a certificate or permit for a period of not more than five years;
  • reprimand, censure or limit the scope of practice of a licensee;
  • impose an administrative fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($ 10,000); or
  • place the licensee on probation.

In addition, the board may require of a licensee, a quality review conducted in such a fashion as the board may specify or satisfactory completion of such continuing professional education programs as the board may specify; or any other suitable remedial action as determined by the board.

Pursuant to N.M. Stat. Ann. § 61-28B-21, if the board has suspended or revoked a certificate or permit or refused to renew the same, the board may, upon application in writing by the person or firm affected and for good cause shown, modify the suspension or reissue the certificate or permit.

Pursuant to N.M. Stat. Ann. § 61-28B-22, when the board has reason to believe that a person or firm has knowingly engaged in an act or practice that violates the provisions of the 1999 Public Accountancy Act, the board may bring its information to the attention of the district attorney or other appropriate law enforcement officer of any jurisdiction who may bring a criminal proceeding.  A person or firm that knowingly violates a provision of the 1999 Public Accountancy Act  is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be subject to a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($ 1,000) or by a definite term of imprisonment not to exceed six months or both.

Pursuant to N.M. Stat. Ann. § 61-28B-23, evidence of the commission of a single act prohibited by the Act is sufficient to justify a penalty, injunction, restraining order or conviction, respectively, without evidence of a general course of conduct.

Inside Regulation of Accountants – New Mexico