Professional Licensing Attorney Explains CPA Disciplinary Actions in Kansas

The Kansas Board of Accountancy (“the Board”) enjoys superintendence power over all Certified Public Accounts (CPAs) in Kansas. The Board, created by Kansas statute, is charged with ensuring that CPAs ethically practice public accountancy according to the standards in the profession. The Board exercises its authority to investigate and discipline accountants who have allegedly violated their ethical obligations. Kansas professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger, who has vast experience with occupational licensing defense, recommends contacting a highly skilled professional licensing attorney immediately if you are being investigated for or charged with disciplinary action relating to your work as a CPA in Kansas or Missouri.

A CPA’s professional standards are derived from core ethical principles of maintaining integrity in the profession, objectivity and independence, and due care.  These ethical principles are espoused by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The Kansas statute enunciating the Board’s duties specifically states that any state-issued standard must meet the standards promulgated by the AICPA.  That same statute authorizes the Board to investigate violations of ethical misconduct in the profession and take adverse action, if necessary, to regulate the profession in addition to issuing, denying, and revoking permits to practice public accountancy.

The statute enabling the Board’s seemingly broad powers enumerates specific grounds upon which the Board may base its decision to refuse to issue a permit or revoke a permit to practice accountancy in Kansas. The statute authorizes adverse action for multiple grounds of misconduct. Some of those include:

  • dishonesty, fraud, or gross negligence in the practice of accountancy;
  • willful violation of a rule of professional conduct; and
  • conviction of any felony or of any crime, an element of which is fraud or deceit.

In Kansas, willful is a term of art that has been defined by the Kansas Court of Appeals. In a case of first impression on the issue of defining a willful violation of an administrative statute, the Appeals Court held that willful should be defined as an intent to commit the act or an omission to act. Therefore, the Board, in issuing discipline, must find that the act was willful and not that the CPA willfully intended to violate a rule of professional conduct.

To further regulate practitioners, the Board has issued regulations that, in addition to the previously referenced statutes, govern CPAs’ ethical standards. Article 5 of Chapter 74 of K.A.R. specifically adopts the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct (“the Code”), its rules, definitions, interpretations, and guidance as the ethical standard of practice for CPAs in Kansas.

The Code defines the core principles of CPAs’ ethical responsibility. For example, the Code espouses the ideal that every CPA must conduct themselves in accordance with the public’s best interest and “serve the public trust.”  Serving the public trust means acting with the highest level of professionalism and demonstrating excellence in their profession and acting with the utmost personal and professional integrity. Performing CPA services with integrity requires the CPA to be honest and frank with clients while ensuring confidentiality. Performing with integrity also requires the CPA to observe the form and the spirit of the Code while remaining objective and independent. Objectivity and independence require the CPA to exercise independent judgment and be free from conflicts of interest.

Professional Licensing Attorney Vigorously Defends CPAs Against Claims of Ethical Violations

Kansas Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger understands the sacrifice and commitment required to obtain and maintain a permit to practice public accountancy.  Call Attorney Sanger if you are facing discipline before the Kansas Board of Accountancy. Attorney Sanger will zealously represent you and protect your livelihood. Call Attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a free, no-obligation appointment.