Regulation of Accountants – Virginia

Pursuant to Va. Code Ann. § 54.1-4409.1, a person must be licensed in order to use the CPA title in Virginia.  The person shall hold a Virginia license if s/he provides services to the public using the CPA title and the principal place of business in which he provides those services is in Virginia.  Other persons shall not be required to hold a Virginia license in order to use the CPA title in Virginia provided that they hold the license of another state and comply with the substantial equivalency provisions of § 54.1-4411.  The Board shall prescribe the methods, fees, and continuing professional education requirements for a person to apply for the issuance, renewal, or reinstatement of a Virginia license.  The Board has the authority to refuse to grant a person the privilege of using the CPA title in Virginia if, based upon all the information available, the Board finds that the person is unfit or unsuited to use the CPA title in Virginia.  The Board shall not refuse to grant a person the privilege of using the CPA title in Virginia solely because of a criminal conviction.

Va. Code Ann. § 54.1-4409.2 provides that a person who has not held the license of any state may obtain a Virginia license under this subsection.  To be considered for a Virginia license, the person seeking licensure shall:

  • Provide documentation that he has obtained from one or more accredited institutions or from the National College at least 150 semester hours of education, a baccalaureate or higher degree, and an accounting concentration or equivalent, as defined by the Board;
  • Provide documentation that s/he has passed the CPA examination;

The Board shall determine whether his/her continuing professional education complies with the continuing professional education requirement prescribed by the The Board shall determine whether his/her experience complies with the experience requirement prescribed by the Board.  After evaluating information provided by the person, the Board may request additional information and may impose additional requirements for obtaining a Virginia license.  A person who does not hold the license of another state but has previously held the license of another state may obtain a Virginia license under this subsection.

Pursuant to Va. Code Ann. § 54.1-4413.2, a Virginia license shall provide its holder with a 12-month privilege to use the CPA title in Virginia or provide attest services and compilation services to persons and entities located in Virginia.  The person or firm holding the license shall have an additional 12-month period after the expiration of a license to renew the license.  The Board may prescribe renewal fees and requirements that increase based on the amount of time the person or firm allows to elapse before applying for renewal.  During the additional 12-month period, the person or firm shall be considered to hold a Virginia license.  If the license is not renewed by the end of the additional 12-month period, it shall be considered to have expired and the person or firm shall be considered to no longer hold a Virginia license.  A person whose Virginia license expired may obtain a new Virginia license under subsection C of § 54.1-4409.2 if s/he holds the license of another state.  The license of a person whose Virginia license expired and who does not hold the license of another state may be reinstated under this subsection. In addition, a person whose privilege of using the CPA title in Virginia was suspended may have the suspension lifted under this subsection.

To be considered for reinstatement of a Virginia license or lifting the suspension of the privilege of using the CPA title in Virginia:

  • The person shall disclose to the Board why he no longer holds a Virginia license or why his/her privilege of using the CPA title in Virginia was suspended.
  • The person shall disclose to the Board each state in which s/he holds or has held a license.
  • For each of the states in which the person holds a license, s/he shall provide documentation from the board of accountancy about whether s/he is in good standing with the board, whether there are any pending actions alleging violations of the standards of conduct and practice established by statutes of the state or regulations promulgated by the board, and whether s/he has been found guilty of any violations of the standards of conduct and practice established by statutes of the state or regulations promulgated by the board.
  • For each of the states in which the person has held a license, the person shall disclose why s/he no longer holds a license and provide documentation from the board of accountancy concerning whether s/he has been found guilty of any violations of the standards of conduct and practice established by statutes of the state or regulations promulgated by the board.
  • The person shall describe his/her continuing professional education since his Virginia license expired or was suspended.  The Board shall determine whether his continuing professional education complies with the continuing professional education requirement prescribed by the Board for that period.

After evaluating the information provided by the person, the Board may request additional information and may impose additional requirements for reinstatement of the Virginia license or lifting the suspension.  The Board shall communicate to the person its decision and, if the request for reinstatement or lifting the suspension is denied, the reasons for the denial.  The request may be resubmitted when the person believes the matters affecting the request have been satisfactorily resolved.  The person may request a proceeding in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).  The license of a firm whose Virginia license expired may be reinstated under this subsection.  In addition, a firm whose privilege of providing attest services or compilation services to persons or entities located in Virginia was suspended may have the suspension lifted under this subsection.  The Board shall consider granting the privilege of using the CPA title in Virginia, or the privilege of providing attest services or compilation services to persons or entities located in Virginia, to persons or firms that have had the privilege revoked only when the person or firm demonstrates to the Board that there are special facts and circumstances that warrant reconsideration by the Board of whether it should allow the person or firm to have the privilege.

Va. Code Ann. § 54.1-4413.3 provides that persons using the CPA title in Virginia and firms providing attest services or compilation services to persons or entities located in Virginia shall conform to the following standards of conduct and practice.

  • Exercise sensitive professional and moral judgment in all activities.
  • Act in a way that serves the public interest, honors the public trust, and demonstrates commitment to professionalism.
  • Perform all professional responsibilities with the highest sense of integrity, maintain objectivity and freedom from conflicts of interest in discharging professional responsibilities, and avoid knowingly misrepresenting facts or inappropriately subordinating judgment to others.
  • Follow the Code of Professional Conduct, and the related interpretive guidance, issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, or any successor standard-setting authorities.
  • Follow the technical standards, and the related interpretive guidance, issued by committees and boards of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants that are designated by the Council of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to promulgate technical standards, or that are issued by any successor standard-setting authorities.
  • Follow the standards, and the related interpretive guidance, as applicable under the circumstances, issued by the Comptroller General of the United States, the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board, the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission, comparable international standard-setting authorities, or any successor standard-setting authorities.
  • Do not engage in any activity that is false, misleading, or deceptive.

Pursuant to Va. Code Ann. § 54.1-4413.4, penalties the Board may impose consist of:

  • Revoking the privilege of using the CPA title in Virginia or providing attest services or compilation services to persons or entities located in Virginia.
  • Suspending or refusing to reinstate the privilege of using the CPA title in Virginia or providing attest services or compilation services to persons or entities located in Virginia;
  • Reprimanding, censuring, or limiting the scope of practice of any person using the CPA title in Virginia or any firm providing attest services or compilation services to persons or entities located in Virginia;
  • Placing any person using the CPA title in Virginia or any firm providing attest services or compilation services to persons or entities located in Virginia on probation, with or without terms, conditions, and limitations;
  • Requiring a firm holding a Virginia license to have an accelerated peer review conducted as the Board may specify or to take other remedial actions;
  • Requiring a person holding a Virginia license to satisfactorily complete additional or specific continuing professional education as the Board may specify; and
  • Imposing a monetary penalty up to $ 100,000 for each violation of the provisions of this chapter or regulations promulgated by the Board; any monetary penalty may be sued for and recovered in the name of the Commonwealth.

The Board may impose penalties on persons using the CPA title in Virginia or firms providing attest services or compilation services to persons or entities located in Virginia for:

  • Violation of the provisions of this chapter or regulations promulgated by the Board.
  • Fraud or deceit in obtaining, renewing, or applying for reinstatement or lifting the suspension of a Virginia license.
  • Revocation, suspension, or refusal to reinstate the license of another state for disciplinary reasons.
  • Revocation or suspension of the privilege of practicing before any state or federal agency or federal court of law.
  • Dishonesty, fraud, or gross negligence in providing services to an employer using the CPA title, in providing services to the public using the CPA title, or in providing attest services or compilation services.
  • Dishonesty, fraud, or gross negligence in preparing the person’s or firm’s own state or federal income tax return or financial statement.
  • Conviction of a felony, or of any crime involving moral turpitude, under the laws of the United States, of Virginia, or of any other state if the acts involved would have constituted a crime under the laws of Virginia.
  • Lack of the competence required to provide services to the public using the CPA title for persons and entities located in Virginia or to provide attest services and compilation services to persons and entities located in Virginia, as determined by the Board.

The Board may also impose penalties on:

  • A person who does not hold a Virginia license, or who does not meet the requirements to use the CPA title in Virginia under the substantial equivalency provisions of § 54.1-4411, and commits any of the acts prohibited by § 54.1-4414, or
  • An entity that does not meet the criteria prescribed by subdivision D 1 of § 54.1-4412.1 and commits any of the acts prohibited by § 54.1-4414.

Va. Code Ann. § 54.1-4414 provides that neither a person who does not hold a Virginia license or who does not meet the requirements to use the CPA title in Virginia under the substantial equivalency provisions of § 54.1-4411, nor an entity that does not meet the criteria prescribed by subdivision D 1 of § 54.1-4412.1 shall:

  • Practice public accounting;
  • Claim to hold a license to use the CPA title;
  • Make any other claim of licensure, registration, or approval related to the preparation of financial statements that is false or misleading;
  • Use the CPA title; or
  • Refer to any of the standard-setting authorities listed in the standards of conduct and practice in subdivisions 5 and 6 of § 54.1-4413.3, or refer to or use any of the terminology prescribed by those authorities for reporting on financial statements, in any form or manner of communication about services provided to persons or entities located in Virginia.

Inside Regulation of Accountants – Virginia