Regulation of Accountants – Colorado

Pursuant to Public Accountancy Act of 1975, C.R.S. 12-2-104, no person shall assume or use the title or designation “certified public accountant” or the abbreviation “CPA” or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviation, sign, card, or device tending to indicate that s/he is a certified public accountant, unless s/he holds a current license as a certified public accountant under § 17-12-301 et seq. and all of his/her offices in this state for the practice of public accounting are currently maintained and registered as required under § 17-12-403.  No person shall assume or use the title or designation “public accountant” or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviation, sign, card, or device tending to indicate that s/he is a public accountant, unless:

  • S/he is currently licensed as a public accountant and all of the person’s offices in the state for the practice of public accounting are currently maintained and registered as required under § 17-12-403; or
  • S/he is currently licensed as a certified public accountant under § 17-12-301 et seq. and all of the person’s offices in the state for the practice of public accounting are currently maintained and registered as required under § 17-12-403.

No firm shall assume or use the title or designation “public accountant” or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviation, sign, card, or device tending to indicate that the firm is composed of public accountants unless the firm is currently registered under § 17-12-401 or § 17-12-402 and all offices of the firm in the state for the practice of public accounting are currently maintained and registered as required under § 17-12-403.  No person or firm shall assume or use the title or designation “certified accountant”, “chartered accountant”, “enrolled accountant”, “licensed accountant”, “registered accountant”, “accredited accountant”, “accounting practitioner”, or any other title or designation likely to be confused with “certified public accountant” or “public accountant”, or any of the abbreviations, “CA”, “LA”, “RA”, “AA”, “AP”, or similar abbreviations likely to be confused with “CPA” or “PA”.

No person shall assume or use the title or designation “certified public accountant” or “public accountant” in conjunction with names indicating or implying that there is a partnership, corporation, or limited liability company if there is, in fact, no bona fide partnership, corporation, or limited liability company currently registered under § 17-12-401 or § 17-12-402.

The board has the power and duty to make appropriate rules of professional conduct in order to establish and maintain a high standard of integrity in the profession of public accounting. nAny rule of professional conduct applies with equal force to all persons holding certificates under the article.  No rule of professional conduct shall be promulgated which will work to the disadvantage of one group and in favor of another. Every person practicing as a certified public accountant in the state shall be governed and controlled by such rules.  All rules of professional conduct shall be promulgated pursuant to the provisions of article 4 of title 24, C.R.S.

C.R.S. 12-2-108 provides that a certificate of certified public accountant shall be granted by the board to any applicant who:

  • has passed a written examination;
  • meets the further requirements of section 12-2-109 (1) (b) and (1) (c) or who meets the further requirements of section 12-2-109 (1) (a) and (1) (b);
  • meets the requirements of section 12-2-113; or
  • otherwise satisfies the board of the applicant’s continued competence.

All certificates shall expire pursuant to a schedule established by the director of the division of registrations within the department of regulatory agencies and shall be renewed or reinstated pursuant to section 24-34-102 (8), C.R.S.  Any person who practices public accounting after the expiration of his/her certificate shall be practicing in violation of the article.  The board may refuse to reactivate or reinstate any expired certificate for conduct which constitutes a violation of any provision of the article.

Furthermore,  pursuant to C.R.S. 12-2-109, any person who has qualified under the provisions of section 12-2-108 shall be granted a certificate of certified public accountant if s/he:

  • has a baccalaureate degree conferred by an accredited college or university with an accounting program approved by the board and has a concentration in accounting or what the board determines to be the equivalent thereof or has a nonaccounting concentration supplemented by what the board determines to be the equivalent of an accounting concentration, including related courses in other areas of business administration; has one year’s experience doing public accounting work as an employee of a certified public accountant or what the board determines to be the equivalent;
  • has successfully completed a course of study concerning the subject of professional ethics, approved by the board, and passed a written examination concerning such subject prepared and given by educational institutions or professional organizations deemed qualified by the board to administer such examination;
  • has a baccalaureate or higher degree conferred by an accredited college or university with an accounting program approved by the board and has a concentration in accounting, plus, when the baccalaureate is the highest degree held, not less than thirty semester hours’ additional study, the total educational program to include an accounting concentration or its equivalent and such related subjects as the board determines to be appropriate.

After notice and hearing as provided in section 12-2-125, the board may deny the issuance of, refuse to renew, revoke, or suspend any certificate of a certified public accountant issued under the article or any prior law of this state or may fine, censure, issue a letter of admonition to, or place on probation the holder of any certificate and impose other conditions or limitations for any of the following causes:

  • Fraud or deceit in obtaining or in attempting to obtain a certificate as a certified public accountant or in obtaining registration under the article;
  • Fraud or negligence in the practice of public accounting in Colorado or any other state or in the filing of or failure to file his/her own income tax returns;
  • Violation of any provision of the article, of any final rule or regulation promulgated by the board, or of any valid agency order;
  • Violation of a rule of professional conduct promulgated by the board under the authority granted by the article;
  • Conviction of a felony under the laws of any state or of the United States;
  • Conviction 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 a public accountant in any state;
  • Suspension or revocation of the right to practice before any state or federal agency for improper conduct or willful violation of the rules or regulations of such state or federal agency;
  • Providing public accounting services to the public for a fee without an active certificate of certified public accountant or a valid registration or acting as a member, partner, or shareholder of a partnership or professional corporation registered pursuant to section 12-2-117;
  • Failure to comply with the requirements for continuing education as prescribed by the board;
  • An act or omission which fails to meet generally accepted accounting principles or generally accepted auditing standards in the profession;
  • Use of false, misleading, or deceptive advertising;
  • Habitual intemperance with respect to or excessive use of any habit-forming drug, any controlled substance as defined in section 12-22-303 (7), or any alcoholic beverage, any of which renders him/her unfit to practice public accounting;
  • Failure to retain records of the work performed for each client for a period of five years;
  • Failure of a partnership, professional corporation, or limited liability company to register with the board pursuant to section 12-2-117 and to renew such registration once every three years as prescribed by the board.
  • C.R.S. 12-2-123 provides that no certificant whose certificate is revoked shall be allowed to apply for reinstatement of such certificate earlier than two years after the effective date of the revocation.

In addition to any other penalty which may be imposed pursuant to this section, any person violating any provision of the article or any rules or regulations promulgated pursuant to the article may be fined upon a finding of misconduct by the board as follows:

  • In the first administrative proceeding against a certificant, a fine not in excess of one thousand dollars;
  • In any subsequent administrative proceeding against a certificant, a fine not less than one thousand dollars nor in excess of two thousand dollars;

Inside Regulation of Accountants – Colorado