Regulation of Accountants – Utah

Pursuant to Utah Code Ann. § 58-26a-301, a license is required for an individual to engage in the practice of public accounting, except as specifically provided in Section 58-26a-305 or 58-1-307.  Registration with the division is required for a qualified business entity to engage in the practice of public accounting, except as specifically provided in Section 58-26a-305 or 58-1-307.  The division shall issue to an individual who qualifies under this chapter a license in the classification of Certified Public Accountant.  The division shall issue to a qualified business entity which qualifies under this chapter a registration in the classification of Certified Public Accountant Firm.

Utah Code Ann. § 58-26a-302  provides that each applicant for licensure under this chapter as a certified public accountant shall submit an application in a form prescribed by the division; pay a fee determined by the department under Section 63J-1-504; show evidence of good moral character; submit a certified transcript of credits from an accredited institution acceptable to the board showing:

  • successful completion of a total of 150 semester hours or 225 quarter hours of collegiate level education with a concentration in accounting, auditing, and business;
  • a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent at a college or university approved by the board; and
  • compliance with any other education requirements established by rule by the division in collaboration with the board in accordance with Title 63G, Chapter 3, Utah Administrative Rulemaking Act;
  • submit evidence of one year of accounting experience in a form prescribed by the division;
  • submit evidence of having successfully completed the qualifying examinations in accordance with Section 58-26a-306; and
  • submit to an interview by the board, if requested, for the purpose of examining the applicant’s competence and qualifications for licensure.

The division may issue a license under this chapter to a person who holds a license as a certified public accountant issued by any other jurisdiction of the United States of America if the applicant for licensure by endorsement:

  • submits an application in a form prescribed by the division;
  • pays a fee determined by the department under Section 63J-1-504;
  • shows evidence of good moral character;
  • submits to an interview by the board, if requested, for the purpose of examining the applicant’s competence and qualifications for licensure; and
  • shows evidence of having passed the qualifying examinations; and
  • meets the requirements for licensure which were applicable in this state at the time of the issuance of the applicant’s license by the jurisdiction from which the original licensure by satisfactorily passing the AICPA Uniform CPA Examination was issued; or
  • had four years of professional experience after passing the AICPA Uniform CPA Examination upon which the original license was based, within the ten years immediately preceding the application for licensure by endorsement; or
  • shows evidence that the applicant’s education, examination record, and experience are substantially equivalent to the requirements of Subsection (1), as provided by rule.

Utah Code Ann. § 58-26a-303 provides that the division shall issue each license and registration under this chapter in accordance with a two-year renewal cycle established by rule.  The division may by rule extend or shorten a renewal cycle by as much as one year to stagger the renewal cycles it administers.

At the time of renewal a licensee shall show satisfactory evidence of each of the following renewal requirements:

  • completion of qualified continuing education as required under Section 58-26a-304; and
  • successful completion of a peer review meeting the requirements established by rule by the division in collaboration with the board.

Each license or registration automatically expires on the date shown on the license or registration unless it is renewed in accordance with Section 58-1-308.

Pursuant to Utah Code Ann. § 58-26a-401, grounds for refusing to issue a license to an applicant, for refusing to renew the license of a licensee, for revoking, suspending, restricting, or placing on probation the license of a licensee, for issuing a public or private reprimand to a licensee, and for issuing a cease and desist order shall be in accordance with Section 58-1-401.

Utah Code Ann. § 58-26a-501 provides that “Unlawful conduct” includes using “certified public accountant,” “public accountant,” “CPA,” or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviation, sign, card, or device tending to indicate that the person is a certified public accountant, unless that person:

  • has a current license as a certified public accountant issued under this chapter; or
  • qualifies for a practice privilege as provided for in Subsection 58-26a-305(1);

Pursuant to Utah Code Ann. § 58-26a-502 “Unprofessional conduct” includes:

  • undertaking an engagement when the licensee knows or should know that the licensee could not reasonably expect to complete it with professional competence;
  • making unauthorized disclosures of confidential information obtained in the practice of public accountancy;
  • engaging in any business or activity that creates a conflict of interest with a licensee’s practice in the profession when the licensee knows or should know that it is a conflict of interest and the licensee does not fully disclose the conflict of interest in writing to all affected parties;
  • failing to meet the requirements for continuing professional education or peer review required under this chapter; or
  • issuing a report on financial statements of a client, other than a report in which a lack of independence is disclosed, or performing an attest engagement subject to the attestation standards of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants when the licensee is not independent, in fact and appearance, to the client.

A licensee may not, for a commission, recommend or refer to a client a product or service, or for a commission recommend or refer a product or service to be supplied by a client, or receive a commission, when the licensee also performs for that client:

  • 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; or
  • an examination of prospective financial information.

A licensee may not perform for a contingent fee a professional service for, or receive a contingent fee from a client for whom the licensee or the licensee’s firm performs:

  • 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; or
  • an examination of prospective financial information; or
  • prepare an original or amended tax return or claim for a tax refund for a contingent fee for a client.

Inside Regulation of Accountants – Utah