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VSCPA Supports 'Inactive' Status for Virginia CPAs

 

Sept. 30, 2013

Andrea M. Kilmer, CPA, CFF, CGMA
Chair, Virginia Board of Accountancy
9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 402
Richmond, VA 23233

Dear Ms. Kilmer:

On behalf of the 11,000 members of the Virginia Society of CPAs (VSCPA), the VSCPA Executive Committee would like to thank the Virginia Board of Accountancy (VBOA) for considering our request that a formal “inactive” licensure status for individual CPA licenses in Virginia be established. As you continue your deliberations and discussions on this topic, we thought it might be helpful for us to provide you with the rationale for our request as well as our position on the “inactive” status.

Virginia has long prided itself on being at the forefront of emerging trends in the regulation of CPAs. For example, Virginia was a pioneer in the practice mobility movement by being one of the first jurisdictions to enact language allowing CPAs to practice across state lines without having to obtain reciprocal licenses. Since that time, the VBOA has continued to make it priority to ensure that the statutes and regulations comply with the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA) and related Model Rules in spirit, if not in form.

Under the UAA, state boards of accountancy are charged with establishing continuing professional education (CPE) requirements for licensure and renewal, including the option to allow an exception to those requirements. The UAA also stipulates that licensees granted this exception must use the term “inactive” adjacent to their CPA title, except on their CPA certificate.

As you know, Virginia allows an exemption from the CPE requirements for licensees who are not providing services to the public or an employer. However, the VBOA does not currently require use of the term “inactive” adjacent to the CPA title, nor does the VBOA maintain a listing of CPAs utilizing the CPE exemption.

We believe the ambiguity of the current regulation creates confusion for licensees and the public as to when CPAs qualify for the CPE exemption. Consequently, many CPAs actively providing services to employers believe they are eligible for the CPE exemption simply because they do not use the CPA title on any documents or devices, and are not “holding out” as a CPA. The direct outcome of this is CPE deficiencies identified through the VBOA’s CPE audit process, which ultimately results in additional enforcement actions. We also believe requiring CPAs to enter an inactive status and to use the term “inactive” while in this status will alleviate confusion and result in greater compliance with CPE requirements. In addition, we feel this change will promote national licensure uniformity by aligning with the provisions of the UAA, provide needed clarity around the existing CPE exemption, and clearly distinguish between “active” and “inactive” CPAs, ultimately providing better protection to the public.

We believe that additional clarity is needed and recommend the VBOA take the following actions to address this:

  • Require licensed CPAs who are eligible for AND take advantage of the CPE exemption to place the word “inactive” adjacent to their CPA title except on their CPA certificate;
  • Clearly define which CPAs are eligible for “inactive” status;
  • Indicate all CPA licenses in “inactive” status on the VBOA website; and
  • Continue to require CPAs in “inactive” status to comply with re-entry requirements to become “active.”

We sincerely thank you for the opportunity to comment on this issue of importance to Virginia’s CPAs, and we appreciate your consideration of our concerns. If you have questions or would like to discuss any of these comments further, please contact me or VSCPA Government Affairs Director Emily Walker at (804) 612-9428 or [email protected].

Sincerely,

James M. Shepherd, CPA
2013–2014 Chair
Virginia Society of CPAs

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