State, FICPA Warn Don't Fall Victim To Unlicensed CPAs

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The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and the Florida Institute of CPAs (FICPA) are warning Floridians of the danger of hiring unlicensed certified public accountants (CPAs) to assist with their business’ financial needs. In Florida, CPAs are required to have a professional license.

“As tax season approaches, many Floridians are hiring CPAs to prepare their financial documents,” DBPR Secretary Ken Lawson said. “Unlicensed activity puts Floridians at financial risk and threatens the livelihood of licensed CPAs. While many accountants and tax professionals can assist with a variety of financial needs, only CPAs are licensed by the state to perform specific services.”

Licensed CPAs must meet strict professional and technical requirements mandated by Florida law to provide advanced financial, business and tax services to their clients. They are licensed to perform audits, reviews and compilations, as well as express opinions of financial statements that provide a level of assurance regarding the reliability or fairness of the financial information at hand. They must also hold a state professional license to use the CPA designation and advertise or represent themselves as a CPA.

“Unlicensed activity is a serious concern for the general public, particularly as we enter tax season,” said FICPA President and CEO Deborah Curry, CPA, CGMA. “It is vital to be aware of the benefits of hiring licensed certified public accountants and how to verify a CPA license.”

When selecting a CPA, consumers should always verify the professional license with DBPR prior to hiring. Licenses can be verified quickly and easily by visiting www.MyFloridaLicense.com, calling 850-487-1395 or downloading the free DBPR Mobile app available in the iTunes and Google Play app stores.

Unlicensed activity occurs when an individual offers to perform or performs services that require a state license and the individual does not hold the required license. Florida law sets specific rules and guidelines for obtaining professional licensure and holds the people who have met these requirements to high professional standards. Floridians are asked to report any suspected unlicensed activity to DBPR by emailing ULA@myfloridalicense.com or calling the Unlicensed Activity Hotline at 1 (866) 532-1440.

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s mission is to license efficiently and regulate fairly. The Department licenses and regulates more than one million businesses and professionals ranging from hotels and restaurants, real estate agents and certified public accountants to veterinarians, contractors and cosmetologists. For more information, please visit www.MyFloridaLicense.com.

More information about DBPR is available online at www.MyFloridaLicense.com. Also, follow @FloridaDBPR on Twitter or Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation on Facebook for updates about license cycles, events and other important news.

Founded in 1905, the Florida Institute of CPAs is a statewide, professional association representing member-CPAs throughout Florida. With a membership of more than 18,000 CPAs, the Institute’s mission is to serve the diverse needs of its members; enhance their competency and professionalism; support professional standards; promote the value of our members; and advocate on behalf of the profession. Visit www.ficpa.org and follow @FICPA on Twitter.