Section 34-1-9

Registration of firms of public accountants.

(a) A firm engaged in this state in the practice of public accounting may register with the board as a firm of public accountants provided it meets all of the following requirements:

(1) At least 51 percent of the ownership of the firm, in terms of financial interests and voting rights of all partners, officers, shareholders, members, or managers, belongs to certified public accountants or public accountants of this state in good standing with a valid permit to practice. Although public accountant firms may include nonlicensee owners, the firm and its ownership must comply with rules promulgated by the board.

(2) Any public accountant firm as defined in this chapter may include nonlicensee owners provided that:

a. The firm designates a licensee of this state who is responsible for the proper registration of the firm and identifies that individual to the board.

b. All nonlicensee owners are active individual participants in the public accountant firm or affiliated entities.

c. A nonlicensee is prohibited from being an owner if they have previously held a license.

d. All nonlicensee owners shall register annually with the board, pay an annual registration fee in an amount determined by the board, and report the satisfaction of any annual continuing education requirements that the board may impose by rule on nonlicensee owners.

e. The firm complies with such other requirements as the board may impose by rule.

(3) Firms which fall out of compliance with this section due to changes in firm ownership or personnel, after receiving or renewing a permit, shall take corrective action to bring the firm back into compliance as quickly as possible. The board may grant a reasonable period of time to take such corrective action. Failure to bring the firm back into compliance within a reasonable period of time as defined by the board will result in the suspension or revocation of the firm permit.

(b) Application for registration shall be made upon the affidavit of an owner of the firm who is a certified public accountant or public accountant of this state in good standing. The board shall in each case determine whether the firm is eligible for registration. A firm which is registered and which holds a permit issued under Section 34-1-11 may use the words "public accountants" or the abbreviation "P.A.'s" in connection with the name of the firm. Notification shall be given the board, within one month, after the admission to or withdrawal of an owner from any firm registered.

(Acts 1973, No. 997, p. 1510, §8; Acts 1995, No. 95-516, p. 1038, §1; Act 2003-393, p. 1114, §1.)