The examining board shall grant a certificate as a certified public accountant to all persons who become entitled thereto under this section and s. 442.05
. A certificate is permanent unless revoked and not subject to periodic renewal.
Examinations shall be held by the examining board at least once in each year at such times and places as are determined by the examining board. Notice of the time and place of each examination shall be published, as a class 2 notice, under ch. 985
, in at least one daily newspaper published in the city of Milwaukee, and in at least one daily newspaper published in the city of Madison, with the last insertion not less than 30 days prior to the date of such examination. Not less than 30 days prior to each examination, each applicant who has made inquiry prior to the first insertion, shall be notified by mail by the department, at the address mentioned in the application, of the time and place of the examination.
In this subsection, "institution" means a bachelor's degree-granting institution of higher education accredited by the commission on institutions of higher education of the north central association of colleges and schools or its regional equivalent.
A person may not take the examination leading to the certificate to practice as a certified public accountant unless the person has completed at least 150 semester hours of education with an accounting concentration at an institution, and has received a bachelor's or higher degree with an accounting concentration from an institution, except as provided in par. (c)
If an applicant has a bachelor's or higher degree from an institution but does not have an accounting concentration required in par. (bm)
, the examining board may review such other educational experience from an institution as the applicant presents and, if the examining board determines that such other experience provides the reasonable equivalence of an accounting concentration required in par. (bm)
, the examining board shall approve the applicant for examination.
The examining board may not grant a certificate as a certified public accountant to any person other than a person who is 18 years of age or older, does not have an arrest or conviction record, subject to ss. 111.321
, and 111.335
, and, except as provided in s. 442.05
, has successfully passed an examination in such subjects affecting accountancy as the examining board considers necessary. The examining board may not grant the certificate unless the applicant has at least one year of public accounting experience or its equivalent, the sufficiency of the experience or the equivalency to be judged by the examining board. The examining board shall ensure that evaluation procedures and examinations are nondiscriminatory, relate directly to accountancy, and are designed to measure only the ability to perform competently as an accountant. The examining board may use the examination service provided by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
See also ss. Accy 7.01
, Wis. adm. code.
Certification by endorsement.
The examining board may grant a certificate to any applicant who is the holder of a certificate or license to practice as a certified public accountant issued under the laws of any other state or foreign country. The applicant must also establish his or her substantial equivalence of the qualifications required under s. 442.04
. The sufficiency of the substantial equivalence shall be judged by the examining board. Upon denial of a certificate under this subsection the examining board shall notify the applicant in writing of the decision, stating the reason for denial and that the applicant has the right to a hearing if a written request is filed with the examining board within 30 days after the notice of denial. Service of the notice of denial may be made by mail addressed to the applicant at the latest address filed by the applicant in writing with the examining board. Service by mail is complete on the date of mailing.
History: 1975 c. 318
; 1981 c. 356
See also s. Accy 8.01
, Wis. adm. code.
Requirements for practice as certified public accountant. 442.07(1)(1)
Any person who has been issued a certificate of the person's qualifications to practice as a certified public accountant, shall be styled and known as a "certified public accountant" and no other person shall assume to use such title or the abbreviation "C.P.A." or any other word, words, letters, or figures to indicate that the person using the same is a certified public accountant. The terms "chartered accountant" and "certified accountant" and the abbreviation "C.A." are specifically prohibited to such other persons as being prima facie misleading to the public.
Any firm that is entitled to practice as certified public accountants in this state or any other state and every resident member of the firm who is a certified public accountant of this state, after registering the firm name with the examining board, may use the designation "certified public accountants" in connection with the firm name.
The department shall issue a license to an individual who holds an unrevoked certificate as a certified public accountant, submits an application for the license on a form provided by the department, and pays the initial credential fee determined by the department under s. 440.03 (9) (a)
The department shall issue a license to a firm that submits an application for the license on a form provided by the department, pays the initial credential fee determined by the department under s. 440.03 (9) (a)
, and does each of the following:
Identifies each office of the firm that is located in this state.
If any person who holds an ownership interest in the firm is not licensed under sub. (1)
, designates an individual licensed under sub. (1)
as the individual responsible for the firm's compliance with this chapter.
Demonstrates, to the satisfaction of the department, each of the following:
That all attest services provided by the firm in this state are under the charge of an individual licensed under sub. (1)
That more than 50% of the ownership interest of the firm is held by individuals who hold certificates or licenses to practice as a certified public accountant issued under the laws of any state or foreign country.
That each person who holds an ownership interest in the firm, and who does not hold a certificate or license to practice as a certified public accountant, is an individual who actively participates in the firm or an affiliated entity.
The examining board shall promulgate rules that define "ownership interest" for purposes of sub. (2)
and for determining the percentage of a person's ownership interest in a firm. In promulgating the rules, the examining board shall consider the financial interests and voting rights of all members of a firm.
The renewal dates for licenses issued under this chapter are specified under s. 440.08 (2) (a)
, and the renewal fees for such licenses are determined by the department under s. 440.03 (9) (a)
. The department may not renew a license issued to a firm unless, at the time of renewal, the firm satisfies the requirements under s. 442.08 (2)
and demonstrates, to the satisfaction of the department, that the firm has complied with the requirements under s. 442.087
History: 2001 a. 16
; 2007 a. 20
In this section, "peer review" means a process for a person licensed under this chapter to evaluate the professional competency of the members of a firm who are responsible for attest services provided by the firm or who sign or authorize another individual to sign accounting reports or financial statements on behalf of the firm.
(2) Renewal of firm licenses.
After January 1, 2005, the department may not renew the license of a firm unless, at least once every 3 years, the firm undergoes the peer review that is specified in the rules promulgated under sub. (3)
and that is conducted by a person, approved by the examining board under the rules, who is not affiliated with the firm or members of the firm undergoing review.
The examining board shall promulgate rules that describe the peer review required to renew a firm's license under sub. (2)
. The rules shall include requirements for the examining board to approve one or more persons to conduct the peer reviews. The rules shall also require each person approved by the examining board to conduct peer reviews to periodically report to the examining board on the effectiveness of the peer reviews conducted by the person and to provide the examining board with a listing of all firms that have undergone peer review conducted by the person.
A person approved by the examining board to conduct peer reviews may not disclose to any person, including the examining board or the department, any information obtained or document produced during the course of or as a result of a review unless the firm undergoing the review consents to the disclosure.
History: 2001 a. 16
See also ch. Accy 9
, Wis. adm. code.
The fees for examination and licenses granted under this chapter are specified in s. 440.05
. The fee for renewal of such licenses is determined by the department under s. 440.03 (9) (a)
Disclosure of interest in entity reported on. 442.10(1)(1)
Whenever any person, as a certified public accountant, signs or certifies any report, schedule, or statement relative to the affairs of any corporation, association, or partnership in which the person is financially interested or by which the person is regularly engaged as an officer or employee, the signature or certification shall be accompanied by a specific statement setting forth the fact that the person is financially interested in or is an officer or regular employee of the corporation, association, or partnership. If the person is both financially interested and an officer or regular employee, the statement shall cover both financial interest and employment. In the case of a firm signing or certifying as described in this subsection, the interest of any of its members shall be disclosed.
Notwithstanding sub. (1)
, no person licensed under this chapter, and no firm of which the person is a member, may express an opinion as an independent certified public accountant on financial statements of any enterprise unless the person and the firm are independent of the enterprise. The requirement for independence under this subsection also extends to the spouse of such a person and to other relatives having a financial or business relationship with the enterprise which, in the opinion of the examining board, may impair independence.
The examining board may make and enforce all necessary rules relative to this section and may determine the particular phraseology necessary to carry sub. (1)
Whoever does any of the following may, for each offense, be fined not more than $500, or imprisoned in the county jail for not more than one year, or both:
Uses any term other than certified public accountant or the abbreviation C. P. A. to indicate that he or she is a certified public accountant with a specially granted title.
While practicing under an assumed name, or as a member of a firm, other than a firm with a name that is registered under s. 442.07 (3)
, announces, either in writing or by printing, that the assumed name or firm is practicing as a certified public accountant.
Holds himself or herself out to the public as a certified public accountant or assumes to practice as a certified public accountant unless he or she has been granted a certificate as a certified public accountant from the examining board.
Practices as a certified public accountant after his or her certificate has been revoked.
As an individual or member of a firm, practices or permits the firm to practice as a certified public accountant unless a license has been secured for the current licensure period.
Sells, buys, gives, or obtains an alleged certificate as a certified public accountant or a license in any manner other than that provided for by this chapter.
Attempts to practice as a certified public accountant under the guise of a certificate not granted by the examining board or under cover of a certificate obtained illegally or fraudulently.
Certifies to any false or fraudulent report, certificate, exhibit, schedule or statement.
Attempts by any subterfuge to evade the provisions of this chapter while practicing as a certified public accountant.
As an individual or member of a firm, permits to be announced by printed or written statement that any report, certificate, exhibit, schedule, or statement has been prepared by or under supervision of a certified public accountant when the person who prepared the report, certificate, exhibit, schedule, or statement was not a certified public accountant.
Enforcement actions for violations of this chapter. 442.115(1)(1)
If it appears upon complaint to the examining board by any person, or it is known to the examining board, that any person has violated this chapter, the examining board may investigate, subject to the rules promulgated under s. 440.03 (1)
. The district attorney of the county in which violations of this chapter are known or alleged to have occurred shall promptly investigate complaints, from any source, of violations of this chapter and prosecute if the facts warrant. Upon request from the examining board, and when the facts warrant, the appropriate district attorney shall promptly seek an injunction against any person who is violating this chapter.
If the district attorney fails or refuses to act within a time that the examining board considers reasonable, the examining board may request the attorney general to institute a prosecution or to seek an injunction for violation of this chapter.
If a person has engaged, or is about to engage, in an act or practice that constitutes, or will constitute, a violation of this chapter, the examining board in its own right or on behalf of an individual complainant may apply to the appropriate court for an order enjoining the act or practice. Upon a showing by the examining board or the complainant that the person has engaged, or is about to engage, in any act or practice in violation of this chapter, the court may grant an injunction, restraining order or other appropriate order without bond.
History: 1999 a. 85
Disciplinary action. 442.12(1)(1)
Subject to the rules promulgated under s. 440.03 (1)
, the examining board may do any of the following:
Revoke, limit, or suspend for a definite period any certificate, license, or practice privilege, or officially reprimand the holder, if it finds that the holder has violated this chapter or any duly promulgated standard or rule of practice or for any other sufficient cause.
In the case of a firm, revoke, limit, or suspend the license of the firm, or reprimand it, if it is found that any member of the firm has been guilty of such act or omission as would be cause for revoking, limiting, or suspending a certificate or license to the person as an individual or for reprimanding the person.
Impose a period of probation under specified conditions, whether or not in conjunction with other sanctions.
Require additional professional education or training, or reexamination, or any combination, as a condition precedent to the reinstatement of a license or of any privilege, or as a condition precedent to the termination of any suspension.
Suspend a license until further order of the examining board or for a specified period for failure to comply with an order of the examining board imposing disciplinary sanctions.
Upon application in writing and after hearing pursuant to notice, issue a new license to a licensee whose license has been revoked, reinstate a revoked certificate or modify the suspension of any license or certificate which has been suspended. This subsection does not apply to a license or certificate that is suspended under s. 440.13 (2) (c)
or that is revoked under s. 440.12
A person who is licensed or certified under this chapter who practices as a certified public accountant in another state is subject to disciplinary action by the examining board under this section for an act committed in the other state that would subject the person to disciplinary action in the other state.
The examining board shall investigate and may take disciplinary action under sub. (1)
against a person licensed or certified in this state upon receipt of a complaint by the examining board of accountancy of another state against that person.
Ownership of accountant's working papers.
All statements, records, schedules, working papers, and memoranda made by a certified public accountant incident to or in the course of professional service to clients by a certified public accountant, except reports submitted by a certified public accountant to a client, shall be and remain the property of the certified public accountant, in the absence of an express agreement between the certified public accountant and the client to the contrary. No such statement, record, schedule, working paper, or memorandum shall be sold, transferred, or bequeathed, without the consent of the client or the client's personal representative or assignee, to anyone other than any member of the firm of the certified public accountant.
History: 1991 a. 316
; 2001 a. 16