The Board of Accountancy does not have any authority over bookkeepers, tax preparers or accountants; however, there are guidelines that they need to be aware of (excerpts from S.C. Code of Laws Title 40 Chapter 2 -- Accountants):
Cannot use Certified Public Accountant or its initials (CPA); Public Accountant or its initials (PA - in regards to accounting work); Accounting Practitioner or its initials(AP) or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviations, sign, card or device indicating that the person is a certified public accountant, public accountant or accounting practitioners.
Cannot perform audits, reviews or compilations.
May prepare financial statements and issue non-attest transmittals or information thereon which does not purport to be in compliance with the Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services (SAARS). Transmittals using the following language must not be considered the unlicensed practice of accountancy:
"I (we) have prepared the accompanying (financial statements) of (name of entity) as of (time period) for the (period) then ended. This presentation is limited to preparing in the form of financial statements information that is the representation of management (owners). I (we) have not audited or reviewed the accompanying financial statements an accordingly do not express an opinion or any other form of assurance on them."
The title "Enrolled Agent" or "EA" may only be used by individuals designated by the Internal Revenue Service.
Persons or firms that are not licensed or registered may use designations granted by national accrediting organizations so long as those designations do not imply qualification to render any attest or compilation service.
When listing in phonebooks and on the internet, make sure that you are not listed under any of the following headings: Accountants – Certified Public; Accountants – Public or Accounting Practitioners.
Any violations by non-licensed individuals or non-registered firms will result in a Cease and Desist order, which is a public document. Any further violations may be brought before the Administrative Law Court and can result in up to $10,000 in fines.