Regulation of Accountants – Vermont

In Vermont, 26 V.S.A. § 71a provides that a license as a “certified public accountant” shall be granted by the board to any person:

  • who is of good character;
  • who completes:

(i) a baccalaureate degree, including a minimum of 30 semester hours of accounting, auditing, and related subjects as the board determines to be appropriate, and two years of experience in public accounting, and meets the requirements prescribed by board by rule, or has other experience or employment, which the board in its discretion considers substantially equivalent; or

(ii) 150 or more semester hours of college credit at a college or university recognized by the board, including a baccalaureate degree and a minimum of 42 semester hours of accounting, auditing and related subjects as the board determines to be appropriate, and one year of experience in public accounting, meeting the requirements prescribed by board rule or other experience or employment which the board in its discretion considers substantially equivalent; and

(3) who has passed the examination required under subsection (b) of this section.

The board shall administer an examination using nationally recognized uniform certified public accountants’ examination and advisory grading service.  An applicant who has not yet completed a baccalaureate degree may sit for the exam upon the completion of 120 semester hours at an institution recognized by the board, including a minimum of 30 semester hours of accounting, auditing, and related subjects as the board determines to be appropriate.

Pursuant to 26 V.S.A. § 72a, if a licensee has a principal place of business for the practice of public accounting, the license shall be prominently displayed at that place.  Licensing standards adopted and used by the board, and its procedures, shall be fair and reasonable and shall be designed and implemented to measure and reasonably ensure an applicant’s qualifications to practice public accounting.  They shall not be designed or implemented for the purpose of limiting the number of licensees.

26 V.S.A. § 72b provides that without requiring an examination, the board shall issue an appropriate license to a public accountant who is licensed or certified under the laws of another state:

  • with education, examination, and experience requirements which the board considers to be substantially equal to those of this state; or
  • upon a showing that the applicant has had five years of experience in the practice of public accountancy or meets equivalent requirements prescribed by the board by rule within the ten years immediately preceding the application; and
  • has fulfilled the requirements of continuing education or continuing professional competence programs that would have been applicable under subsection 75(b) of this title.

26 V.S.A. § 76 provides that unprofessional conduct means:

  • The conduct prohibited by this section, by section 129a of Title 3, or by other statutes relating to public accounting, whether or not that conduct is by a licensee, an applicant, or a person who later becomes an applicant;
  • Disciplinary action by another state or country or federal agency of a license or certificate to practice public accountancy;
  • Failing to make available, upon request of a person using public accounting services, copies of documents in the possession or under the control of the accountant, when those documents have been prepared for and paid for by the user of services;
  • Failing to return client-supplied information and documents, in whatever form contained, upon request of the client;

Any of the following except when reasonably undertaken in an emergency situation in order to protect life, health or property:

  • Practicing or offering to practice beyond the scope permitted by law; or
  • Accepting and performing public accounting responsibilities which the licensee knows or has reason to know that he or she is not competent to perform;
  • Performing public accounting services which have not been authorized by the consumer or the consumer’s legal representative;
  • Dishonesty, fraud or negligence in the practice of public accountancy, including making misleading, deceptive or untrue representations in the practice of public accountancy;
  • The making of any false or misleading statement in support of an application filed by another;
  • Failure of a licensee to provide any explanation requested by the board regarding evidence submitted by the licensee in support of an application for licensure filed by another, or regarding evidence submitted by the licensee in support of an application for licensure filed by another, or regarding a failure or refusal to submit such evidence; and failure by a licensee to furnish for inspection, upon request by the board, or its representative, documentation relating to any evidence submitted by the licensee in support of such an application; or
  • Failing to report changes to the board as required by statute and the board’s rules.

Pursuant to 26 V.S.A. § 78, in addition to other powers specifically established by law, the board may:

  • Refuse to accept the return of a license tendered by the subject of a disciplinary investigation;
  • Refuse to license a person who is under investigation in another jurisdiction for an offense which would constitute unprofessional conduct in this state; and
  • Issue warnings and reprimands, condition, suspend, revoke, or reinstate licenses and order restitution to aggrieved consumers.

The board shall accept complaints from any member of the public, any licensee, any state or federal agency or the attorney general.  The board may initiate disciplinary action in any complaint against a licensee and may act without having received a complaint.  After hearing, the board may take disciplinary action against a licensee, registrant or applicant found guilty of unprofessional conduct.  On petition, the board may reinstate any license or registration it earlier conditioned, revoked or suspended.


Inside Regulation of Accountants – Vermont