As a result of an investigation of alleged violations of the Code of Professional Conduct of the AICPA, Mr. Brinks, with the firm of J. Michael Brinks, CPA, entered into a settlement agreement under the Joint Ethics Enforcement Program, effective March 2, 2016.
Information came to the attention of the Ethics Charging Authority (“ECA”) (comprised of the AICPA Professional Ethics Executive Committee) alleging a potential disciplinary matter with respect to Mr. Brinks’ failure to ensure his firm obtained an appropriate peer review.
The ECA reviewed the allegations in the referral and information publicly available on the United States Department of Labor’s EFAST website and Mr. Brinks’ responses to such findings. The ECA charged Mr. Brinks with a violation of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct as follows:
Rule 501, Interpretation 5 – Failure to follow requirements of governmental bodies, commissions, or other regulatory agencies
As the partner responsible for his firm’s peer review compliance, Mr. Brinks failed to ensure it complied with state board requirements and AICPA bylaw requirements to undergo a peer review.
In consideration of the ECA forgoing further investigation of Mr. Brinks’ conduct as described above and in consideration of the ECA forgoing any further proceedings in the matter, Mr. Brinks agreed as follows:
a. To waive his right to a hearing under AICPA bylaws section 7.4.
b. To neither admit nor deny the above specified charges.
c. To his suspension from membership in the AICPA for a period of two years from the effective date of this agreement.
d. To complete 9 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) courses (Get Ready for Peer Review-Upcoming Peer Review: Is Your Firm Ready?) within three months of the effective date of this agreement and provide evidence of such completion (e.g., attendance sheets, course completion certificates, etc.).
e. To schedule a system peer review of his firm. The review should be scheduled through his firm’s administering entity within 60 days of the effective date of this agreement and he must submit evidence of the scheduled system review by submitting a copy of the review team approval letter issued by his firm’s administering entity. The peer review must cover a one year period that ends July 31, 2015. His firm’s accepted peer review documents will be due to the ECA within 10 months of the effective date of this agreement.
f. That the ECA shall publish his name, the name of his firm, the charges, and the terms of this settlement agreement.
g. That the ECA shall monitor his compliance with the terms of this settlement agreement and initiate an investigation where the ECA finds there has been noncompliance.