As a result of an investigation of alleged violations of the Code of Professional Conduct of the AICPA, Mr. Burns, with the firm of Burns & Herring, LLC, entered into a settlement agreement under the Joint Ethics Enforcement Program effective October 12, 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. Burns’ 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. Burns’ responses to such allegations. The ECA charged Mr. Burns with violations of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct as follows:
Rule 501, Interpretation 501-5 – Failure to follow requirements of governmental bodies, commissions, or other regulatory agencies
As the partner responsible for his firm’s peer review compliance, Mr. Burns failed to ensure it complied with the AICPA’s requirement to undergo a peer review in 2011.
In consideration of the ECA forgoing further investigation of Mr. Burns’ conduct as described above and in consideration of the ECA forgoing any further proceedings in the matter, Mr. Burns 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 comply immediately with professional standards applicable to the professional services he performs.
e. To complete a 9 hour continuing professional education (CPE) course (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.).
f. To be prohibited from performing peer reviews in any capacity until the directives in this letter have been completed.
g. To submit his firm’s 2015 peer review report, acceptance letter and correspondence regarding corrective action, within 30 days of the effective date of the agreement.
h. That the ECA shall publish his name, the name of his firm, the charges, and the terms of this settlement agreement.