The Enforcement (Professional Standards) section of the Board is responsible for enforcement of the Board’s Rules of Professional Ethics and Conduct. CPAs and CPA firms who violate those rules may be subject to disciplinary action by the Board. The Board’s enforcement processes are not intended to be an alternative to civil or criminal court. The Board does not have the authority to award damages and does not adjudicate contractual disputes, fee disputes, criminal charges, or other matters that are best left to the court system.

The reliance of the public and the business community on sound financial reporting and advice on business affairs imposes on the accounting profession an obligation to maintain high standards of technical competence, morality, and integrity. A CPA must at all times maintain independence of thought and action, hold the affairs of clients in strict confidence, strive continuously to improve professional skills, observe generally accepted principles and standards, promote sound and informative financial reporting, uphold the dignity and honor of the accounting profession, and maintain high standards of personal conduct.

The Rules of Professional Ethics and Conduct adopted and enforced by the Board cover a broad range of behaviors but do not enumerate every possible unethical act. These rules are applicable to all certificate holders. When interpreting or enforcing these rules, the Board may give consideration, but not necessarily dispositive weight, to relevant interpretations, rulings, and opinions issued by other Boards of Accountancy and by appropriately authorized ethics committees of professional organizations such as the North Carolina Association of CPAs (NCACPA) and the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

A CPA is responsible for ensuring not only their compliance with the rules, but also the compliance with these rules by anyone who is the CPA’s partner, fellow shareholder, or supervisee. A CPA or CPA firm should not permit others (including affiliated entities) to carry out on the CPA’s behalf, with or without compensation, acts which if carried out by a CPA would be a violation of the Rules of Professional Ethics and Conduct. A CPA firm is responsible for assuring compliance with these rules by any of its officers, directors, shareholders, partners, proprietors, employees, or agents.

The North Carolina General Assembly, through the North Carolina Accountancy Act, has authorized the Board to regulate the use of the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) title. Non-CPAs are allowed to practice accountancy in North Carolina as unregulated accountants. Individuals who live in North Carolina and are licensed as a CPA by another jurisdiction, but not by this Board, can use “CPA” or “Certified Public Accountant” on a résumé if they include the jurisdiction that granted the CPA certificate/license and the status of the certificate/license if it is on any status other than active (e.g., inactive, retired, lapsed, etc.).

Under 21 NCAC 08I .0101(d), the Board may publish all actions resulting in an Order, a Board Order, or a Consent Order in the Activity Review. All Orders, Board Orders, and Consent Orders will be made part of the Board’s monthly minutes. Orders, Board Orders, Consent Orders, and Notices of Hearing may be placed in the licensee’s file or firm’s file in the database.

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