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 percent 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.
See also ch. Accy 5
, Wis. adm. code.
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.
Renewal; continuing education. 442.083(1)(1)
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
The examining board shall promulgate rules establishing continuing education requirements for renewal of licenses granted to individuals under this chapter. The rules promulgated under this paragraph may not require an individual to complete more than 80 continuing education credits during the 2-year period immediately preceding the renewal date specified under s. 440.08 (2) (a)
For continuing education credits that are earned based on the amount of time spent participating in an eligible learning activity, one credit shall be earned for every 50 minutes spent engaging in the eligible activity. One-tenth of a credit may be earned for every 5 minutes spent participating in an eligible activity.
Up to one-half of the amount of continuing education credits required by rule under par. (a)
may be completed by informal, self-directed learning activities, including reading, teaching, researching, serving on a board or committee, viewing a video, listening to an audio recording, or participating in other experiential learning activities that are determined by the board to be relevant to competency to practice as a certified public accountant.
History: 2001 a. 16
; 2007 a. 20
; 2017 a. 88
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.
Except as provided in sub. (5)
, 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.
The examining board may require a certified public accountant or firm to provide any of the following peer review documents to the examining board:
A letter signed by the reviewed firm accepting the peer review documents with the understanding that the firm agrees to take certain actions.
A letter notifying the reviewed firm that certain required actions have been completed.
A certified public accountant or firm may comply with a directive under par. (a)
by doing any of the following within 45 days after the date of the directive:
Submitting the requested documents to the examining board, either by mail or electronically.
Allowing the peer review program administrator to make the documents available to the examining board through the Facilitated State Board Access program operated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
The examining board may make documents submitted to the examining board under par. (b) 1.
available to the Facilitated State Board Access program operated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Except as otherwise provided by the examining board by rule, information or data obtained by the board through the Facilitated State Board Access program is not subject to the right of inspection and copying under s. 19.35 (1)
History: 2001 a. 16
; 2017 a. 88
See also ch. Accy 6
, 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.
See also ch. Accy 4
, Wis. adm. code.
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