2010 Investigation Results/Statistics

In carrying out its mission "to promote dependable, accessible financial information" the Board is responsible for investigating complaints against CPAs, CPA-Inactive certificateholders, and CPA firms. Complaints can originate from clients, other CPAs, federal or state regulators, or identified through agency oversight and review programs. Complaints result from allegations of technical errors, or ethical or legal violations. The Board has closed 182 cases during 2010. Complaints or inquiries originated from the following sources:

Source   Percent
Agency oversight programs/Board initiated 92 50%
Clients 44 24%
Employer/Employee 1 1%
Other CPA's 11 6%
Media    
Miscellaneous 7 4%
Anonymous 1 1%
Federal, state, local or foreign jurisdiction 8 4%
Self-reported 18 10%
Non-governmental professionally related standard-setting entity    

The 182 cases closed during 2010 resulted from the following allegations:

Use of title or holding out in public practice by a nonCPA or non WA CPA 12 7%
Issuance or offering to issue audit, review, or compilation report by unauthorized individual 4 2%
Records retention 5 3%
Noncompliance with technical standards including Quality Assurance Review 36 20%
Noncompliance with code of conduct including conflict of interest 7 4%
Failure to respond to Board oversight/inquiries 5 3%
Failure to meet/substantiate CPE 54 30%
Use of title or holding out in public practice with a lapsed license/certificate or no CPA firm license 34 19%
Good character determination for initial licensure    
Sanction/denial of practice privilege by a federal, state, local or foreign jurisdiction    
Sanction by non-governmental professionally related standard-setting entity 1 1%
Felony/misdemeanor conviction/disbarment 2 1%
Embezzlement, fraud, dishonesty, or negligence 2 1%
Fiduciary malfeasance or breach of fiduciary duties/disbarment 4 2%
Failure to complete engagement 4 2%
Failure to pay individual federal income taxes    
Incompetence    
Misleading advertising    
Reinstatement of suspended license request 2 1%
Request for exemption from QAR 2 1%
Tax Errors/Service Issues 8 4%
Court Declared Incapacitation    
Unauthorized transfer of client information    
Class Action Fairness Act Notice    
Total: 182 100%

The Board resolved the 182 cases during 2010 as follows:

Closed via Board Order 84 46%
Agreement to Resolve 1 1%
Agreement to Administrative Sanctions 41 22%
Close-May reopen    
Reinstatement of Suspended License 1 1%
Lack of/Insufficient evidence of violation 28 15%
Insufficient nexus to Washington State 1 1%
No public harm 2 1%
Death of CPA/CPA-Inactive 1 1%
Dismissed - Individual in compliance 20 11%
Dismissed – Humanitarian/hardship considerations 3 2%