Section 34-1-16

Acts declared unlawful.

THIS SECTION WAS AMENDED BY ACT 2014-178 IN THE 2014 REGULAR SESSION, EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 2014. TO SEE THE AMENDED VERSION, SEE THE VERSION LABELED PENDING.

No person shall assume or use the title or designation "certified public accountant," the abbreviation "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 the person has received a certificate as a certified public accountant under Section 34-1-4 and if in public practice, holds a permit issued under Section 34-1-11, which is not revoked or suspended, hereinafter referred to as a live permit, and all of the offices of the person in this state for the practice of public accounting are maintained and registered as required under Section 34-1-10, or the person is practicing pursuant to Section 34-1-7; provided, however:

(1) A foreign accountant who has registered under Section 34-1-5 and who holds a live permit issued under Section 34-1-11 may use the title under which he or she is generally known in his or her country, followed by the name of the country from which the certificate, license, or degree was received.

(2) No firm with an office in this state shall provide attest services or assume or use the title or designation "certified public accountants" or the abbreviation "CPAs" or any other title, designation, words, letters, signs, abbreviation, card, or device tending to indicate that the firm is composed of certified public accountants, unless the firm is registered as a firm of certified public accountants under Section 34-1-6, holds a live permit issued under Section 34-1-11, and all of the offices of the firm in this state for the practice of public accounting are maintained and registered as required under Section 34-1-10, and ownership of the firm is in accord with this chapter and rules promulgated by the board.

(3) No person shall assume or use the title or designation "public accountant," the abbreviation thereof, or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviation, sign, card, or device tending to indicate that the person is a public accountant, unless the person is registered as a public accountant under Section 34-1-8, holds a live permit issued under Section 34-1-11, and all of the offices of the person in this state for the practice of public accounting are maintained and registered as required under Section 34-1-10 or unless the person has received a certificate as a certified public accountant under Section 34-1-4, holds a live permit issued under Section 34-1-11, and all of the offices of the person in this state for the practice of public accounting are maintained and registered as required under Section 34-1-10.

(4) No firm shall provide attest services or 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 registered as a firm of public accountants under Section 34-1-9, or as a firm of certified public accountants under Section 34-1-5, holds a live permit issued under Section 34-1-11, and all of the offices of the firm in this state for the practice of public accounting are maintained and registered as required under Section 34-1-10.

(5) No person or firm shall assume or use the title or designation "accredited accountant," "certified accountant," "chartered accountant," "enrolled accountant," "licensed accountant," "registered accountant," or any other title or designation likely to be confused with "certified public accountant" or "public accountant," or any of the abbreviations "AA," "CA," "LA," "RA," or similar abbreviations likely to be confused with "CPA" or "PA." The title "enrolled agent" or "EA" may be used by only individuals so designated by the Internal Revenue Service. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any person who holds a live permit issued under Section 34-1-11, and all of whose offices in this state for the practice of public accounting are maintained and registered as required under Section 34-1-10, or who is practicing pursuant to Section 34-1-7, may hold himself or herself out to the public as an "accountant" or "auditor." A foreign accountant registered under Section 34-1-5 who holds a live permit issued under Section 34-1-11 and all of whose offices in this state for the practice of public accounting are maintained and registered as required under Section 34-1-10 may use the title under which he or she is generally known in his or her country, followed by the name of the country from which he or she received the certificate, license, or degree.

(6) No person shall sign or affix his or her name or any trade or assumed name used in the person's profession or business, with any wording indicating that he or she has expert knowledge in accounting or auditing, to any opinion or certificate attesting in any way to the reliability of any representation or estimate in regard to any person or organization embracing financial information or facts respecting compliance with conditions established by law or contract, including but not limited to statutes, ordinances, regulations, grants, loans, and appropriations, unless he or she holds a live permit issued under Section 34-1-11, and all of the offices in this state for the practice of public accounting are maintained and registered under Section 34-1-10, or unless the person is practicing pursuant to Section 34-1-7. Notwithstanding the foregoing, this subdivision shall not prohibit any officer, employee, partner, or principal of any organization from affixing his or her signature to any statement or report in reference to the financial affairs of the organization with any wording designating the position, title, or office which he or she holds in the organization, nor shall this subdivision prohibit any act of a public official or public employee in the performance of their duties.

(7) No person shall sign or affix the name of the firm, with any wording indicating that it is a firm composed of accountants or auditors or persons having expert knowledge in accounting or auditing, to any opinion or certificate attesting in any way to the reliability of any representation or estimate in regard to any person or organization embracing financial information or facts respecting compliance with conditions established by law or contract, including but not limited to statutes, ordinances, regulations, grants, loans, and appropriations, unless the firm holds a live permit issued under Section 34-1-11, and all of its offices in this state for the practice of public accounting are maintained and registered as required under Section 34-1-10, or the person is practicing pursuant to Section 34-1-7.

(8) 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 firm, in conjunction with the designation "and company" and "and co." or a similar designation if there is in fact no bona fide firm registered under Section 34-1-6 or Section 34-1-9, unless the person is practicing pursuant to Section 34-1-7. No person holding a certificate or registration or firm holding a permit under this chapter or person practicing pursuant to Section 34-1-7 shall use a professional or firm name or designation that is misleading about the legal form of the firm, or about the persons who are partners, officers, members, managers, or shareholders of the firm, or about any other matter. This section shall not prevent a firm or its successors from continuing to practice under a firm name which consists of or includes the name or names of one or more former owners.

(9) Only licensees holding a valid permit to practice or practicing pursuant to Section 34-1-7 may issue a report on financial statements of any other person, firm, organization, or governmental unit or otherwise offer to render any attest service, as defined herein. This restriction does not prohibit any act of a public official or public employee in the performance of that person's duties as such; or prohibit the performance by any person of other services involving the use of accounting skills, including the preparation of tax returns, management advisory services, and the preparation of financial statements without the issuance of reports thereon. This restriction also does not apply to nonlicensees, who may prepare financial statements and issue reports thereon which do not purport to be in compliance with the Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services (SSARS).

(10) Licensees performing attest or compilation services must provide those services in accordance with professional standards.

(11) Nonlicensees may not use language in any statement relating to the financial affairs of a person or entity which is conventionally used by licensees in reports on financial statements. In this regard, the board shall issue, by rule, safe harbor language nonlicensees may use in connection with such financial information. Notwithstanding the foregoing, nonlicensees may use the following disclaimer language in connection with financial statements to not be in violation of this chapter:

"I (We) have prepared the accompanying (financial statements) of (name of entity) as of (time period) for the (period) then ended. This presentation is limited to preparing in the form of financial statements information that is the representation of management (owners).

"I (We) have not audited or reviewed the accompanying financial statements and accordingly do not express an opinion or any other form of assurance on them."

(12) No holder of a certificate issued under Section 34-1-4 or a registration issued under Section 34-1-8, except a person practicing pursuant to Section 34-1-7, shall perform attest services in any firm that does not hold a valid permit to practice issued under Section 34-1-11.

(13) No individual licensee shall issue a report in standard form upon a compilation of financial information through any form of business that does not hold a valid permit issued under Section 34-1-11 unless the report discloses the name of the business through which the individual is issuing the report, and the individual:

a. Signs the compilation report identifying the individual as a certified public accountant or public accountant.

b. Undergoes no less frequently than once every three years, a peer review conducted in such manner as the board shall by rule specify.

(14) Nothing herein shall prohibit a practicing attorney or firm of attorneys from preparing or presenting records or documents customarily prepared by an attorney or firm of attorneys in connection with the attorney's professional work in the practice of law.

(Acts 1973, No. 997, p. 1510, §15; Acts 1995, No. 95-516, p. 1038, §1; Act 2003-393, p. 1114, §1; Act 2009-620, p. 1794, §1.)