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October 3, 2023

Could An Honest Work Experience Mistake Mean Losing a CPA License?

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Question:  I just noticed that my state requires my work experience take place after I finished the education that allowed me to sit for the CPA exam a few years ago, because my license is up for renewal and it's a universal application.  I submitted my CPA application with a work experience form filled out by a supervisor with work experience well before my education was completed.  This was a while ago, but not so long that the rules have changed.  Should I do anything?  Should I worry that someday they will come back and take away my license?

Now, there are times in your life when you should pound out an email to the GC yogis seeking enlightenment or maybe abuse and there are times you should Google your state board's phone number and ask them directly. Can you guess which situation the above is?

Please note it's difficult for us to answer questions like these if you don't tell us what state you are in since A) states have different rules when it comes to this stuff and B) without knowing what state you're talking about, I can't Google your state board's phone number, call them and get your answer. Huzzah!

So our only option here is to look at this strange question from a generic perspective. Knowing what I do about how state boards of accountancy operate, we can pretty safely assume that no one is tasked with the job of matching up old licenses with old work experience forms deep within the depths of the state board headquarters. On the off chance someone has some time on their hands over there (highly unlikely), there are probably way bigger fish to fry than your misaligned work experience. It's not like you didn't actually do the work, you just did it wrong according to your state's rules.

NOW, that said, you're still a CPA and that means you're expected to be slightly more ethical than the guy who rotates your tires. So you need to look up your state board, get your story straight and call them. I'm pretty sure no one will care but won't you feel better just knowing  that? It seems like an honest mistake to me, and one that can ultimately be blamed on the board for approving your license anyway even if you did not technically meet the work experience requirement on their specific time table.

Let us know how it turns out, hopefully you don't end up destitute and robbed of your CPA dreams over a simple error on your part.

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