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The #2 Reason California CPAs are Disciplined by the Board May Surprise You

Forgive me for that Upworthy-esque piece of hit bait excuse for a headline, I almost went it "CPAs Are Getting Disciplined in California; You Won't Believe Why!" so I guess it's not as bad.

In the Winter 2014 issue of the California Board of Accountancy Update, the Board takes a quick look at the top 3 reasons California CPAs get in trouble:

You worked hard to earn the “CPA” designation after your name, so why not be certain to protect it? In an effort to help licensees understand the most common ways in which CPA licenses are jeopardized, we have provided the top three causes of discipline.

In the past three years, the most common violation of the Accountancy Act was Business and Professions Code (BPC) section 5100(g) – Willful Violation of the Accountancy Act. This violation primarily occurs when a licensee knows, or should have known, something they are doing violates the Accountancy Act. The easiest way to avoid violating this code section is to know the Accountancy Act. The two hour regulatory review course required for license renewal every six years is a start, as is referencing the BPC when needed. The entire Accountancy Act and all CBA Regulations are available on the CBA website, on the “Laws and Rules” tab, under the Blue Book heading.

Easy enough to avoid that, really. Moving on:

The second most common violation of the Accountancy Act was BPC section 5100(c) – Dishonesty, Fraud, Gross Negligence, or Repeated Negligent Acts. If you are like most CPAs, you read the last sentence and thought to yourself that you would never violate BPC section 5100(c).

Right? You earned that license with blood, sweat, and many many MCQs. No way are you going to throw it away by stealing from your clients or giving your golf buddy insider trading tips on your clients or… using SALY?

Yes, that's right, this section is less about outright scandalousness and more about lazy ass work:

However, most people are creatures of habit, and find themselves using the same audit program and engagement letters year after year. With the rate at which standards change, it is becoming increasingly easier to use a worksheet that is out of compliance with standards. This is why the knowledge you gain through the continuing education you complete for license renewal is key to keeping abreast of changes in standards.

By relying too heavily on SALY (who, let's face it, can sometimes be a tired, overused bitch), you can find yourself in the same camp as dishonest, fraudulent jerks. And as we all know, those guys get kicked off CPA island pretty quick.

Don't be that guy.