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CPA Investigation Information

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Does the CPA get a chance to respond to a complaint?

When we receive a complaint we:

  • Review the complaint and determine if it is within the Board’s jurisdiction.
  • If an investigation is within the Board’s jurisdiction, then an investigation is performed in accordance with WAC 4-30-140. CPAs have 20 days to respond in writing to inquiries by the Board (WAC 4-30-034)
  • If an investigation is not within the Board’s jurisdiction, then the parties are notified in writing.

If disciplinary action is deemed necessary, we will issue a statement of charges, and a proposed stipulated and agreed order. The respondent can:

  • Accept the proposed agreement, which must be approved by the Board. An administrative will be scheduled; in the event that an agreed order cannot be finalized or negotiated, then the hearing will proceed.
  • Reject negotiation and waive their right to an administrative hearing. The Board may enter a final order without input from the respondent.
  • Reject negotiation and proceed to an administrative hearing.

After a hearing, the Board issues an order with their finding(s) and disciplinary actions (if any).

Self-Reporting Events

A CPA, CPA firm, CPA-Inactive certificate holder, and a non-licensee CPA firm owner must self-report the following events to the Board within 30 days of the issuance of (WAC 4-30-036):

  • A sanction, order, suspension, revocation, or modification of a license, certificate, permit or practice rights by the SEC, PCAOB, IRS or any other state board of accountancy for any cause other than failure to pay a license fee by the due date or failure to meet CPE requirements of another state.
  • Charges filed by the SEC, IRS, PCAOB, another state board of accountancy, or a federal or state taxing, insurance or securities regulatory body that the licensee, CPA-Inactive certificate holder, or non-licensee firm owner committed a prohibited act that would be a violation of board ethical or technical standards.

Sole practitioners: Sole practitioners are to report action taken against the sole practitioner, the sole practitioner's individual CPA license, the CPA firm, or the CPA firm license.

Credentials issued through foreign reciprocity: If you hold a license or CPA-Inactive certificate issued through the foreign reciprocity provisions of the act, you must notify the board of any investigations undertaken, or sanctions imposed, by a foreign credentialing body against your foreign credential within thirty days of your receiving notice that an investigation has begun or a sanction was imposed.

CPA firms: Licensed CPA firms are not required to report on action taken against owners, principals, partners, or employees.

Reportable Event Form (Fillable PDF)