2011 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 133 cases during 2011. Complaints or inquiries originated from the following sources:

Source of Complaint    
Agency oversight programs/Board initiated 65 46%
Clients 38 31%
Employer/Employee 3 3%
Other CPAs 7 4%
Media    
Miscellaneous 4 4%
Anonymous 2 2%
Federal, state, local or foreign jurisdiction 2 1%
Self-reported 11 9%
Non-governmental professionally related standard-setting entity    
Total 133

The 133 cases closed during 2011 resulted from the following allegations:

Administrative    
Failure to change address    
Failure to respond to Board oversight/inquiries 9 6%
Request for reinstatement of suspended license/certificate 4 3%
Code of Conduct    
Conflicts 4 3%
Confidentiality 5 4%
Failure to complete engagement 3 2%
Failure to pay individual federal income taxes    
Independence    
Misrepresentations/fees    
Professional misconduct 7 5%
Records retention 8 6%
Competency    
Noncompliance with technical standards including Quality Assurance Review 21 16%
Sanction/denial of practice privilege by a federal, state, local or foreign jurisdiction 1 1%
Sanction by non-governmental professionally related standard-setting entity    
Tax return errors 8 6%
CPE    
Failure to substantiate CPE on audit 24 18%
Failure to substantiate CPE on renewal 8 6%
Fraud    
Embezzlement 2 2%
Theft 2 2%
Conspiracy 1 1%
Title Use:    
Use of title or holding out in public practice by a nonCPA or non WA CPA 7 5%
Issuance or offering to issue audit, review, or compilation report by unauthorized individual    
Use of title or holding out in public practice with a lapsed license/certificate or no CPA firm license 19 14%
Total: 133

The Board resolved the 133 cases during 2011 as follows:

Closed via Board Order    
Fine/costs/other sanctions 53 40%
Reinstatement of suspended license/certificate 3 2%
Practice restriction 4 3%
Suspension 16 12%
Revocation 4 3%
Administrative Sanctions Imposed  20 15%
Lack of evidence of violation 33 25%
Total 133