NYC Accounting License Defense Attorneys

In New York, as well as all other states, all professions, including Accounting, are heavily regulated. Practice of Accounting in New York is regulated by the Office of the New York State Board for Public Accountancy. The Board is authorized by statute to administer and enforce the legal matters related to Certified Public Accountants (“CPA”) and/or Public Accountants (“PA”). This includes not only setting up educational and other requirements, but also conducting investigations of allegations of professional misconduct and enforcing professional discipline through the NYS Department of Education Office of Professional Discipline (OPD)


If you are a New York accountant and find yourself under investigation by the Board of Public Accountancy or the OPD you need an experienced New York accounting license defense attorney. At Joseph Potashnik and Associates, PC, you will find dedicated and highly experienced lawyers who have established a solid track record of defending licensed professionals before the OPD, including CPAs and PAs. We have represented scores of individuals at all level of the OPD disciplinary process, from the initial investigations to hearings.


What Are The Examples of Professional Misconduct by Accountants


In New York, the statute creates a long list of activities that are considered professional misconduct and will subject violators to discipline.


The New York Board of Public Accountancy and the Office of Professional Discipline will investigate allegations of professional misconduct and impose disciplinary action for substantiated allegations of misconduct. In our practice, most accountants facing discipline have been investigated for the following allegations:

  • Fraudulent obtaining of a license or permit or in connection with the practice of accounting;
  • Criminal convictions of all types, but especially those involving fraud. This includes felony and misdemeanor convictions under state and federal law.
  • failing to comply with the mandatory continuing education requirements
  • Being barred from being an associated person for registered public accounting firm after a disciplinary action was commenced by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) where the conduct charged would, if committed in New York State, constitute professional misconduct in New York under the laws of New York State
  • Filing of or assisting with preparation of false or fraudulent documents and connected with the practice of accounting;
  • Failure to comply with established professional standards;
  • Practicing with expired license or registration;
  • Failure to respond to requests for information or to cooperate in a Board investigation;
  • Allowing unlicensed individuals perform accounting functions and failure to disclose or disclaim their license status
  • Engaging in false advertising illegal solicitation
  • The revocation, suspension, reprimand or other professional discipline in any other state or by a federal agency
  • Unlicensed Practice of Accountancy


How New York Accountants Can Be Investigated and Disciplined For Professional Misconduct

While the vast majority of accountants are highly trained and responsible professionals, they are not immune to allegations of professional misconduct. Although they may try their best to provide the professional service to their clients in a diligent and ethical manner, the sad fact is that a dissatisfied client, competitor, colleague, or employee can file a disciplinary complaint against the accountant, which will result in an investigation.

Each year, the OPD receives thousands of complaints. When the complaint is received, the agency assigns an investigator to look into the allegations. In some situations, if the investigator feels that the allegations may not be substantiated, the investigation will be terminated without any adverse consequences for the licensee. In other cases, however, if there is enough evidence to file disciplinary charges, the matter will be forwarded to the investigative committee that will determine the appropriate penalty offer. The license will have the option of negotiating the disposition on consent (similar to plea negotiations in criminal cases) or proceeding to a disciplinary hearing.


What To Do If You Are Under Investigation

All disciplinary matters begin with the initial investigation. Most licensee will be informed that they are the targets of the disciplinary investigation by a letter. The letter will ask the accountant to provide certain documents and/or attend an interview with the investigator. As a licensee, the accountant has a duty to cooperate with the investigation. Failure to do so may result in separate charges of misconduct. However, that usually applies to document and records production, not making statements to the investigators. We strongly advise targets of all government investigations to seek legal advice prior to making any statements to the investigators, however innocuous they may seem. Anything you say will be made part of the investigative file and will be used against you. We suggest retaining competent legal counsel as early as possible to deal with the Board on your behalf.


Many accountants who come under the OPD investigation feel that they can handle the case on their own. While at times it may work out, usually this is not the case. Professionals such as CPAs and PAs, who invested heavily in their education and career advancement, have a lot to loose if allegations of professional misconduct are substantiated. This includes not only serious harm to professional reputation but also the threat to the accountant’s very ability to earn a living.

The Department of Education may take several disciplinary actions against accountants, including license revocation and suspension, probation, censure and reprimand, limit the scope of practice, and imposing fines.

If you are an accountant facing a disciplinary investigation, don’t risk your livelihood or your reputation. Attorneys with Joseph Potashnik and Associates PC are here to help. Call us today to hear what we can do to help you.