At its January meeting the State Board of Public Accountancy proposed a number of rule changes. The board requests that comments on the proposed changes from any interested person be sent to
Rande Herrell, General Counsel
Texas State Board of Public Accountancy
333 Guadalupe Tower 3 Ste 900
Austin TX 78701
or faxed to her attention at (512) 305-7854.
Comments must be received by the board no later than noon on March 2, 2006.
The board proposed changes to Rules 501.81 and 501.86 that will change the disclaimer required by non-CPA firms that employ CPAs. The new rule will require a disclaimer "This firm is not a CPA firm" in promotional or written statements whenever a firm’s employee is identified as a CPA and whenever the firm uses certain terms reserved by the Accountancy Act for use by CPAs.
An interpretive comment in the rule explicitly states that the disclaimer is required on business cards and correspondence which include both the firm name and the employee’s CPA designation.
The comment also points out that a term such as "Internal Audit Services" can be used by a non-CPA firm, but such use must be accompanied by the disclaimer. Terms which imply the use of GAAP, GAAS or GAGAS cannot be used by a non-CPA firm, even with the disclaimer. The comment uses "Forensic Accounting Services" as an example of a term that could not be used by a non-CPA firm.
The board also proposed changes to the definition of "Administrative Costs" in Rule 519.2. Administrative costs of investigations and prosecutions can be assessed against CPAs found to have violated the Accountancy Act or board rules, in addition to monetary fines.
The new definition of administrative costs includes "staff salary, payroll taxes and benefits and other non-salary related expenses, expert fees and expenses, witness fees and expenses, fees and expenses paid to the Office of the Attorney General, filing fees, SOAH utilization fees, court reporting fees, copying fees, delivery fees, case management fees, costs of exhibit creation, technical fees, travel costs and any other cost or fee that can reasonably be attributed to the matter."
The definition previously included attorney fees, but attorney fees have been eliminated in favor of staff costs (mostly attorneys) and fees and expenses paid to the Office of the Attorney General. The AG’s office represents the board in major cases.
Rule 501.90 deals with Discreditable Acts, giving a list of such acts that subject a CPA to discipline. The proposed change to this rule adds conviction for "a crime involving physical harm or the threat of physical harm to a person" as a discreditable act.
The board also proposed accepting CPA exam eligibility fees using the Texas Online e-pay system, provided the applicant pays the additional online fees.
All of the rules changes can be found in the Feb. 3, 2006 issue of the Texas Register.