Under the automatic disciplinary provisions of the Institute’s bylaws, Mr. Cole’s AICPA membership was suspended for two years, effective July 20, 2015, the date of the state board’s Order. Mr. Cole was also directed to complete the remedial actions listed below. This action is based on the disciplinary action taken by the North Carolina State Board of Certified Public Accountant Examiners. Details regarding the Board’s disciplinary action can be found on the state board’s website.
- To comply immediately with professional standards applicable to the professional services he performs and to submit evidence of such compliance.
- To complete the 7-hour continuing professional education (CPE) course, Upcoming Peer Review: Is Your Firm Ready? within six-months and provide evidence of such completion (e.g., attendance sheets, course completion certificates, etc.).
- To comply with directive #1, provide an attestation immediately, then every six months for a period of three years that he is no longer performing audits of employee benefit plans. If, within this period, he returns to performing such engagements, he agrees:
To complete the 15.5-hour continuing professional education (CPE) course, Auditing Employee Benefit Plans prior to performing such work, and to provide evidence of such completion (e.g., attendance sheets, course completion certificates, etc.).
To submit, six months after completion of the 15.5 hours of the Auditing Employee Benefit Plans CPE course, a list of the highest level (audit, review, compilation with note disclosures) of engagements that he performed in the six-month period following the date he completed the CPE course. The following information should be included regarding the engagements listed: total hours spent on each engagement; his role and hours on each engagement; level of professional services rendered; type of report issued; type of organization; and whether it was an initial engagement.
The Technical Standards Subcommittee (“Subcommittee”) of the Professional Ethics Division will select one of these engagements for review. Mr. Cole will be informed of this selection and will be asked to submit information to include a copy of his report, the financial statements, and working papers related to that engagement for review by the Subcommittee. The Subcommittee may extend the period to select an engagement to ensure a suitable selection is available. A peer review undergone by his firm would not exempt him from this requirement.
After an initial review of such report, financial statements, and working papers, the Subcommittee may decide he has substantially complied with professional standards and close this matter. Or, the Subcommittee may decide that an ethics investigation of the engagement he submitted is warranted. If, at the conclusion of the investigation, the Subcommittee finds that professional standards have in fact been violated, the Subcommittee may refer the matter to the AICPA Joint Trial Board for a hearing or take such other action as it deems appropriate.
- Within 60-days, he must provide copies of his firm’s most recent peer review documents to the Subcommittee, including the report, acceptance letter, corrective action, if any, and any matters for further consideration and findings for further consideration.
If his firm has not had a peer review in the current three-year cycle, explain how the firm has complied with its state board requirements and the bylaws of the AICPA and the state CPA society’s peer review requirements.