The VBOA responds to complaints in writing. Complaints may originate from the public, another CPA, a client, a former client, a state or federal agency, and/or other sources. The VBOA itself may initiate a complaint.
Virginia licensees, expired licensees or non-licensees using the CPA title or providing services in Virginia restricted to CPAs in violation of Code of Virginia statutes and/or VBOA regulations are subject to penalties. Penalties may include reprimand, probation, fine, cost-recovery, additional or specific CPE, practice monitoring, and license or service suspension or revocation.
The VBOA investigates an average of 75 to 100 complaints a year.
Common complaints investigated by the VBOA include:
- Unlicensed activity by expired licensees, non-CPA accountants, bookkeepers or firms
- Failure to complete services
- Failure to return client records or respond to clients
- Embezzlement, fraud and/or theft
- Disclosure of confidential information
- Audit failure
- Failure to maintain competency
- IRS sanctions
- Failure to provide due professional care
- Ethics violations
- Violations of the respective Virginia statutes and/or regulations
Complaints not investigated by the VBOA include:
- Fee disputes: The VBOA has no authority to regulate the fees charged by CPAs. Fee disputes are legal matters.
- Authority over non-CPA accountants or bookkeepers
- Minor errors or mistakes
If individual efforts to resolve an issue have been unsuccessful, file a complaint with the VBOA.
The complaint must be in writing, must detail the specific claims against the individuals, and must include supporting documentation. Examples of supporting documentation include copies of correspondence, documents and/or pictures that substantiate the allegations made. All sensitive and confidential information in the initial submission should be redacted (i.e., Social Security numbers). In most cases, the accused is made aware of the complaint as a component of the investigation process and given a copy of the complaint including the complainants’ identity.
Before filing a complaint, review the following VBOA checklists to ensure you have the needed information to move forward.
Individuals who have a complaint filed against them should review the following checklist:
Once a case is closed, the results of the VBOA’s investigation, findings and disciplinary action (if taken), to include the complainants’ identity (unless anonymous), is made available to the public under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.
The following organizations can also assist in a complaint, in addition to the VBOA.
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS): for all paid tax return preparers, including non-CPAs
- Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA): for CPAs who are members of the VSCPA
- American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA): for CPAs who are members of the AICPA
Complaints to multiple agencies or organizations do not have to be filed simultaneously.
The VBOA will investigate anonymous complaints, provided that enough information and supporting documentation is submitted with the complaint form. If the complainant does not provide sufficient evidence and the VBOA is unable to contact the complainant for further information, the investigation may be closed.