South Carolina Board of Accountancy
Q. I am a college professor and licensed as a CPA in another state but not in South Carolina. Can I use the CPA designation after my name on business cards, letter head, the school's website, etc?
A. Unless you are licensed as a CPA in South Carolina, you cannot use the CPA designation after your name. You may mention, in your curriculum vitae, resume, or biography, that you are licensed to practice in the state(s) where you are licensed.
Q. I have a tax preparation and bookkeeping business, and I am not licensed by the South Carolina Board of Accountancy. Can I call my business So-and So's Accounting Services?
A. South Carolina does not regulate the use of the word accounting; therefore, you are free to use accounting in the title of your business. It is important that you do not use a similar abbreviation likely to be confused with the titles "Certified Public Accountant" or "Public Accountant" or use a similar abbreviation likely to be confused with the abbreviations "CPA" or "PA." Also, it is important that you do not use such a title as to be confused as an Accounting Practitioner.
Q. I am a senior accountant for a manufacturer here in South Carolina. I do not hold any type of license issued by the South Carolina Board of Accountancy, but I tell people that I am an accountant. Is this permitted in SC?
A. Yes, you may call yourself an accountant in South Carolina even if you are not a licensed Certified Public Accountant, Public Accountant, or Accounting Practitioner in this state as we do not regulate the word "accountant." It is not uncommon for persons working in industry, for government agencies, non-profit groups, tax preparation, bookkeeping, etc., to use the title "accountant" to describe their professions. Please be aware that pursuant to Section 40-2-30 and Section 40-2-520, only a person licensed in the state of South Carolina or with practice privileges in this state may call him/herself a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Public Accountant (PA), or an Accounting Practitioner. No one other than a license may use those terms or the abbreviations for those terms.
Q. Will the courses I took at Adelphi University in New York count toward
the CPA Exam requirements and Licensing requirements?
A. The Board does not pre-approve courses; however, we will accept most courses from colleges/universities that have been accredited by one of the six Regional Accreditation organizations listed below:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Scope of recognition: the accreditation and preaccreditation ("Candidate for Accreditation") of degree-granting institutions of higher education in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, including distance education programs offered at those institutions.
Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Higher Education
Scope of recognition: the accreditation and preaccreditation ("Candidacy status") of institutions of higher education in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, including distance education programs offered at those institutions.
New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on
Institutions of Higher Education
Scope of recognition: the accreditation and preaccreditation ("Candidacy status") of institutions of higher education in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont that award bachelor's, master's, and/or doctoral degrees and associate degree-granting institutions in those states that include degrees in liberal arts or general studies among their offerings, including the accreditation of programs offered via distance education within these
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning
Scope of recognition: the accreditation and preaccreditation ("Candidate for Accreditation") of degree-granting institutions of higher education in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, including schools of the Navajo Nation and the accreditation of programs offered via distance education within these
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Scope of recognition: the accreditation and preaccreditation ("Candidacy status") of postsecondary educational institutions in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington and the accreditation of such programs offered via distance education within these institutions. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges Scope of recognition: the accreditation and preaccreditation ("Candidate for Accreditation") of degree-granting institutions of higher education in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, including distance education programs offered at those institutions.
Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Scope of recognition: the accreditation and preaccreditation ("Candidate for Accreditation") of community and junior colleges located in California, Hawaii, the United States territories of Guam and American Samoa, the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the accreditation of such programs offered via distance education at these colleges.
Q. Do online courses count?
A. If online courses are taken through a regionally accredited college or university and the institution awards the student a grade & credit hours, the course will count if they meet all the normal requirements.
Q. Does the Board accept foreign education?
A. Yes; however, you need to have each college/university transcript evaluated before applying to either sit as a South Carolina CPA Exam candidate or to apply for a South Carolina CPA license. At the August 23, 2012, board meeting, the Board designated NASBA's International Evaluation Services as the only approved evaluation service. NASBA does not have a paper application, you will need to go to their web site to apply: http://www.nasba.org/products/nasbainternationalevaluationservices/ or call (855) 468-5382 for assistance.
Q. Are courses taken at a 2 year school applicable to the education
requirement to license?
A. If a 2 year school is regionally accredited, hours may apply toward the 150 requirement. Since there is no upper level requirement on business courses, they are generally accepted; however, in most cases only the two principles level accounting courses will count towards the accounting hour requirement. Some courses taught at technical or community colleges are bookkeeping courses and do not count as accounting courses.
Q. Will the Financial Accounting class that I took at a technical college be counted if I took the same course at another college or university?
A. No. Any course duplicated for any reason will only be counted once.
Q. When is the next CPA examination?
A. The computerized examination will be given the first 2 months out of every quarter. For additional information click here for the CPA Exam web site.
Q. How do I get an application to sit for CPA exam?
A. Call 1-800-CPA-EXAM or go to the Uniform CPA Examination page, click on South Carolina. Once the new page loads click on APPLY NOW, there you will find First Time Candidate information and Re-Exam Candidate information.
Q. Where can I take the CPA Exam?
A. You can take the exam at any of the approved Prometric Test Sites across the US. Prometric has sites in, Aiken, Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, Florence, and Rock Hill. Click here for locations, more information or to schedule your test dates once you have received your Notice to Schedule (NTS) from
Q. When did the education requirements change?
A. The change in education requirements became effective 7/22/04.
To sit for the exam: Total 120 Semester hours24 of those Semester hours need to be in Accounting courses that are applicable to a bachelors, masters, or doctoral degree to include Financial Accounting (Intermediate), Managerial Accounting (Cost), Auditing and Tax courses; 24 of those Semester hours can be a combination of Upper & Lower Business coursesTo License: 150 Semester hours (A minimum of a Bachelor's Degree) to include:
36 of those Semester hours can be a combination of the 24 hours of Upper Level courses (must include Financial Accounting (Intermediate), Managerial Accounting (Cost), Auditing and Tax courses taken at the junior level or above if courses were taken after 7/22/04) and no more than 12 Lower Level courses 36 of those Semester hours can be a combination of Upper & Lower Business courses and any remaining accounting courses.
Q. Can I review my scores on-line?
A. Yes. Click here to go to the NASBA site to view your scores.
Q. What kind of accounting course would not count towards the accounting hours requirement to sit for the CPA Exam and/or license as a CPA in South Carolina?
A. Bookkeeping courses and some courses like Survey of Accounting which are not intended for Accounting or Business majors cannot count towards your total accounting hours necessary to sit for the CPA Exam and/or license.
Q. Does South Carolina have an Ethics requirement in order to be licensed?
A. Yes, Section 40-2-35(A)(3) requires a passing score on an examination in professional ethics as approved by the Board. Effective November 1, 2006 the required course is "Professional Ethics: The AICPA's Comprehensive Course" with a passing grade of 90 or above. Anyone requesting licensure by examination must complete the course and have AICPA send a copy of the grade report to us. If you are applying for licensure by reciprocity and your original license was issued less than four years ago, you must take the ethics course. If your original license was issued four or more years ago, you do not have to take the ethics course.
Q. When are the renewal fees due?
A. The renewal fees for licenses and firm registrations are due on or before January 31, 2013. The Board has gone back to a yearly renewal cycle until otherwise notified. Subsequent renewals will be on or before January 31st of every year.
Q. What is the amount of renewal?
A. CPA, PA and Accounting Practitioner License renewals are $80 annually After February 15, licensees would need to cease all activities until the licensee completes a Reinstatement Application, Renewal form and include $580 ($500 reinstatement fee & $80 current license fee) within 30-days from February 15th to avoid any further action.
In-State Firm Registrations, Out-of-State Firm Registrations are all $50 to renew. Those In-State firms that do not renew by the January 31st deadline must cease all activities until the manager has renewed the firm, signed a Consent Agreement, and paid $550 ($500 reinstatement fee & $50 current registration fee) within 30-days from February 15th to avoid any further action.
Q. Do I have to wait to receive my User ID and Password every year to renew?
A. No, once you have your User ID and Password, along with the renewal website you can renew your license and firm registration with the same User ID and Password from the previous year. They currently do not expire. The renewal website normally becomes active November 1st. The current address is https://renewals.llronline.com/.
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Q. Can I go on inactive status?
A. There is no provision for an inactive status. You must either be active (pay renewal fee and turn in CPE), Voluntarily Surrender your license and not sign anything as a CPA or hold out, or apply for Emeritus Status, form 5000.
Emeritus Status is permanent. You cannot use any of your financial skills for compensation. If at a later date you want to become an active CPA, you must retake the CPA Exam. On the application for emeritus status give details as to your current occupation.
Q. If someone has retired, what can they do?
A. A retired licensee can do volunteer work such as in schools, VITA, or something other than financial or accounting. They may also apply for Emeritus Status (cannot use any of your financial skills for compensation. If at a later date you want to become an active CPA, you must take the CPA Exam again). On the application for emeritus status give details as to your current occupation.
Q. If a licensee has left the field of public accounting for a position as a Financial Advisor and never has plans to hold out to the public as an accountant again, can he or she apply for Emeritus status?
A. No, even if a licensee no longer holds out as a Certified Public Accountant, Accounting Practitioner, or Public accountant, the licensee cannot hold Emeritus status if they are working as a Financial Advisor. Board policy states that "any licensee actively involved in Financial Advisory services cannot hold an Emeritus certificate.
Q. I’m completing my undergraduate degree, and have a job in a firm. When can I start counting my 1 year of experience?
A. Experience will only count after the 24 Accounting semester hour requirement has been completed to include the Core Classes of; Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Auditing, and Tax at the Junior (300) Level or above.
Q. My supervisor has a CPA certificate but does not have a current license to practice since he has not completed the CPE requirements. Does my experience count?
A. No. The supervisor must have been licensed to practice during the entire time of the candidate's experience.
Q. My supervisor is licensed to practice in another state, not South Carolina. May he sign my certificate of experience form?
A. Yes, provided you are not working in a public accounting firm. If you are working for a public accounting firm in South Carolina, the supervisor must be licensed to practice in South Carolina since he may not lawfully practice in South Carolina without a South Carolina license.
Q. My supervisor is located in Atlanta, Georgia, and I am working in Columbia, South Carolina. Does my experience qualify?
A. It depends on the line of supervision. More than likely your Certificate of Experience will have to be reviewed by the Board.
Q. I work in industry and we have a CPA in the accounting department where I work. She reviews some of my work but she is not in a management level above me. Will she be regarded as my supervisor?
A. No. The supervisor should have the power to direct the performance of the person being supervised which, generally, includes the power to hire, transfer, suspend, promote, or discharge the employee or to recommend such action through the proper chain of command.
Q. I do not have a CPA supervisor in the company where I work. However, I assist the outside auditors for about four weeks each year end. May I count this experience?
A. No. The outside auditors do not have the power to direct your performance, such as the power to hire, transfer, suspend, promote or discharge.
Q. I practice part-time on my own as an Accounting Practitioner. I have a CPA in the office next door who reviews my work and makes suggestions for improvement. Does this experience count for my CPA certificate?
A. No. The experience must include both direct supervision and review, not merely review. The supervisor should be involved in planning and organizing the work to be performed as well as reviewing the work.
The standard by which the experience shall be measured is one year of experience employed on a full-time basis in public accounting, with diversified experience. Employment other than in public accounting may count only in proportion to duties contributing to competence in public accounting. Part-time employment shall be credited in part, based upon actual work hours. The board will consider two thousand hours of such part-time experience as being equivalent to one year of the required experience. Part-time experience shall not accrue more rapidly than elapsed chronological time. Please include a schedule of time worked.
Q. I work in industry and have a licensed CPA supervisor. I perform certain secretarial-type duties. In addition, I prepare the company checks and I work on the monthly financial statement. Does any portion of my experience count?
A. Yes. The portion of your experience that is substantially equivalent to that obtained in a public accounting firm would, generally, qualify except for the auditing experience requirement. The qualifying experience would include working on the monthly financial statements. Preparation of the company checks and secretarial duties would not be of sufficient quality to qualify. The CPA supervisor should keep records and document the portion of your experience that would be of sufficient quality to contribute to competence in public accounting.
Q. I am a working mother and work for a CPA firm full time during tax season and part-time during the remainder of the year. Does the part-time work count?
A. Yes. Part-time employment may be credited in part, based on actual work hours. The board considers 2000 hours of part-time experience as being equivalent to one year of the required experience.
Q. I work for a CPA firm. During tax season, I often work 50 or more hours per week. May the overtime count toward the 2000 hours per year?
A. No. Section 40-2-35 (F)(1) requires one year of experience. Experience may not accrue more rapidly than elapsed chronological time. A week of experience is considered to be 40 hours.
Q. May I count experience gained prior to passing the CPA examination?
A. Yes. Experience may be gained either before or after the examination provided all other requirements are met. Experience does not accrue prior to completing the basic 24 hours in accounting.
Q. How long do I have after passing the examination to obtain my experience?
A. At the present time there is no time limit specified in the law or regulations. However, the Board has authority to reject experience that it does not believe to be satisfactory.
The applicant should submit a separate Certificate of Experience (current Form 2102) signed by each supervisory CPA under whose supervision and review any part of the experience being claimed was gained. All of the questions and blanks on the form must be completed. The supervisor must have held both a certificate and a license or permit to practice public accounting at the time the experience was gained. The supervisor must also include and sign a statement of work that the candidate has completed under their supervision.
Q. Does the board specify records that should be maintained to document experience?
A. No. The board does not have specific record keeping requirements. However, the candidate and the CPA supervisor must be able to document the experience through time records, work papers and the like. It is suggested that the CPA candidate maintain his/her own records to assist the supervisor in completing the experience forms.
Q. I work for a large CPA firm and have several supervisors within the firm. How should records be kept and which supervisor should sign my certificate of experience?
A. In most cases, the managing partner of the office signs the experience forms. Some firms use an internal office form. As each audit engagement is completed, the CPA candidate completes the form, showing the elements of the audit he/she worked on and the time. The CPA supervisor of the engagement reviews and signs the form. After meeting the experience requirements, the CPA candidate submits the individual engagement forms and the completed certificate of experience to the managing partner for his/her review and signature.
Q. My former employer has delayed completing my certificate of experience. What can I do to get it completed and signed?
A. You can help by supplying as much information as possible to your former employer. If you are a CPA candidate, it is suggested that you maintain a file of your work experience and that you have your certificate of experience form completed and a detailed explanation of duties signed at the time you change employers.
Q. I have worked for several different employers. May I submit one certificate of experience that covers all of my experience?
A. No. A separate form should be completed for each employer.
Q. I have completed 6-months of my experience. May I submit a certificate of experience so the Board can approve the portion I have completed and let me know how much more I need?
A. No. The board considers only the overall experience after the requirements have been met.
Q. When should I submit the Certificate of Experience form?
A. After completing the experience requirements you may submit the Certificate of Experience along with the Licensing Application after Examination (Form 5003).
Statute 40-2-35 (F)(2) contains details regarding experience credit for teaching certain accounting courses at an accredited college or university. Board form 2101-T must be submitted to document teaching experience.
Q. My certificate of experience was rejected by the board. May I appeal the board's decision?
A. Yes. You may submit a written petition to the Board requesting a review of its decision. In the petition, you may request permission to appear before the Board and explain special circumstances. You will be notified as to time and place of the Board meeting.
Q. Does the board verify the information on the certificate of experience?
A. Yes, as it is needed.
Q. I am a partner in a Georgia office of a CPA firm. The Georgia office has engagements in South Carolina which I supervise. Since our firm has a South Carolina office, is it necessary to register the Georgia office?
A. No. as long as your firm located in South Carolina is registered and lists other locations both in and out of state on the In-State Firm Registration form (Form 2115).
Q. I hear that South Carolina has adopted Mobility. What is really meant by “Mobility”?
A. For those firms and CPAs that are engaged in tax work, compilations or reviews for South Carolina clients, there is no need to register as long as the CPA holds a valid CPA license from any state/jurisdiction which requires, as a condition of licensure, that the licensee:
- have at least 150 semester hours of college education including a bachelors or higher degree conferred by a college or university and
- achieve a passing grade on the Uniform CPA Exam and
- posses the appropriate experience pursuant to Section 40-2-35(4)(a)
ORHolds a valid license as a CPA from any state that does not meet the requirements above but the individual licensees CPA qualifications are substantially equivalent to those requirements. An individual who passed the Uniform CPA Exam and holds a valid license issued by any other jurisdiction before January 1, 2012 may be exempt from the education requirement above. For more information see Section 40-2-245.
Q. OK, if I am going to be engaged in an audit or any other attestation type of work, do I need to register?
A. No, you as an individual CPA will not have to be licensed as long as your firm is registered by completing an Out-of-State Firm registration. However, you will fall under the disciplinary jurisdiction of this board by working for a South Carolina Client on any of the following services:
- a financial statement audit or other engagement to be performed in accordance with the Statements on Auditing Standards;
- an examination of prospective financial information to be performed in accordance with the Statements on Standard for Attestation engagements; or
- an engagement to be performed in accordance with Public Company Accounting Oversight Board Auditing Standards.
In the event your license of permit to practice from your parent jurisdiction is no longer valid, you will need to cease offering or rendering professional services in South Carolina individually and on behalf of your firm. You will also be subject to an administrative hearing served on the Board in your principal jurisdiction of business in any action or proceeding by this board against you.
Q. Are all states/jurisdictions substantially equivalent?
A. No, there are currently 2 states/jurisdictions that are not substantially equivalent: Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
Q. What exactly do you mean by “substantially equivalent”?
A. It means that the education, examination, and experience requirements are the same as other states. Currently the requirements for South Carolina are:
Education: 150 Semester hours
Examination: Passing the CPA Exam with a score of at least 75
Experience: At least 1 year of experience
Q. OK, since I’m from a state that is not substantially equivalent, what do I need to do in order to provide services for South Carolina clients?
A. Mobility is not the route for you. We would have to base your eligibility on your individual qualifications and by that you will need to submit a reciprocity application.
Q. I am a Tennessee CPA. My firm plans to open an office in South Carolina. May I manage the South Carolina office?
A. No. Each public accounting office located in South Carolina must have a resident manager who holds a South Carolina CPA certificate (Sec. 40-2-230, Reg. 1-14.)
Q. I live in North Carolina and work in South Carolina for a South Carolina CPA firm. I have a North Carolina CPA certificate. May I register as a non-resident?
A. No. Since the CPA firm is located in South Carolina you must obtain a South Carolina CPA certificate through reciprocity in order to hold out and practice as a CPA.
Q. Can I request a Practice Privilege Registration without an Out-of-State Firm Registration?
A. No. If the firm is providing any of the engagements listed below and as long as the state where your principal place of business is located is substantially equivalent and provided your license is active in the same state a no notice, no fee practice privilege will be granted (Mobility -- Section 40-2-245).
- a financial statement audit or other engagement to be performed in accordance with the Statements on Auditing Standards;
- an examination of prospective financial information to be performed in accordance with the Statements on Standard for Attestation engagements; or
- an engagement to be performed in accordance with Public Company Accounting Oversight Board Auditing Standards.
Q. I’m a sole practitioner, and work from my house on a part-time basis. Do I have to register my home?
A. Yes. Click here to obtain the In-State Firm Registration. Renewal for In-State Firm Registration is every two years and must reach our office no later than January 31st of each two year cycle. (See Renewals)
Q. I changed the firm from an Association to an LLC; what do I need to do to change it with the Board?
A. This will be considered a change of entity. A letter is needed to close the old firm and a new In-State Firm registration will need to be accomplished and forwarded to our office with a $100 payment within 30 calendar days of the change.
Q. One of the partners, Mr Light, from Davis, Light, Dark & Toast, is leaving and moving down the street to open their own office; can we keep the name of the firm on all of our signage, letterhead, business cards and advertising?
A. No, since Mr Light is opening his own office either down the street or in another city, you will need to change the name of the firm as not to confuse the public.
Q. Ms Davis of Davis, Light, Dark & Toast passed away; can we keep the firm name as is?
A. Yes, there is not any confusion in this situation.
Q. My husband and I are opening a CPA office. We will be splitting the ownership, 50% a piece and he will be a silent partner (he is not licensed). Is this OK with the Board?
A. No. Sixty-six and two thirds percentage of the ownership of the firm in terms of financial interest and voting rights must belong to CPA’s currently licensed in some state or jurisdiction. Furthermore, any owner must be actively engaged within the firm, providing services to the firm’s clients.
Q. I am opening a CPA firm and have a neighbor who wants to invest into the firm; is this legal?
A. No, Section 40-2-40 prohibits the ownership by investors or commercial enterprises.
Q. I am licensed as a CPA in Maine and am moving to South Carolina to take a job in the accounting department of a manufacturing facility. Do I need a license in South Carolina in order to use the CPA designation on my business cards?
A. Yes, in order to use the CPA designation on anything, including business cards and stationary to be used in industry, you must be a licensed South Carolina CPA. If you must present a resume, curriculum vitae or biography, you may mention that you were licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in Maine on the date the license was issued.
Q. I hold a CPA certificate issued by a "two-tier" state. I have never held a license or permit to practice public accounting. May I obtain a South Carolina certificate by reciprocity?
A. You should apply for transfer-of-credit instead of reciprocity since you have never been licensed. South Carolina is not "two-tier" and, therefore, you must qualify for licensure before obtaining a CPA certificate.
Two-Tier states/jurisdictions issue certificates when an individual passes the CPA Exam. They also require the individual to license once their licensing requirements have been met.
Here is a list of the Two-Tier states/jurisdictions:
|Alabama||District of Columbia||Hawaii|
Q. I hold a CPA certificate issued by another state and at one time I was licensed to practice in that state. I do not have a current license to practice since I have not paid the current license renewal fee. May I obtain a South Carolina certificate by reciprocity?
A. No. In order for South Carolina to grant a CPA license through reciprocity, a candidate must hold an active license in good standing in at least one of the states or jurisdictions. Someone with only an inactive status must reactivate their license before South Carolina can issue a reciprocal license.
Q. I hold a CPA certificate issued by another state and my renewal fees are current. However, I do not have a permit to practice because I have not met the CPE requirements. Am I eligible for a South Carolina certificate?
A. No. You must hold a certificate and current permit to practice.
Q. I worked in private industry under the direct supervision and review of a CPA prior to May 24, 1980. Does any part of my experience qualify?
A. Yes. Your experience should qualify provided the quality of experience is acceptable and the CPA was licensed to practice during the time.
Q. My Tennessee CPA firm has an audit client in South Carolina. Must I obtain a South Carolina certificate and license in order to serve my South Carolina clients?
A. No. It is not necessary to obtain a certificate by reciprocity. However, if servicing South Carolina clients the firm will need an Out-of-State Firm Registration and you would be covered by Mobility.
Q. I have a license in another state, but it’s lapsed or in inactive status. Can I get Reciprocity with South Carolina?
A. No. In order to obtain Reciprocity in South Carolina you must have an active license in good standing with one of the 55 jurisdictions (the 50 States plus The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) in the US.
Q. I have a license from Canada. Is there anything different I need to do in order to get reciprocity?
A. Read and complete the Reciprocity Application Canada Package.
Q. What will the license allow me to do?
A. In general, you will be licensed to provide accounting and tax services to the public except that you may not conduct audits or reviews of financial statements. Special wording is required in the case of reports on compiled financial statements. See Section 40-2-340 for the specific language.
Q. Does the law prohibit me from performing certain acts?
A. Yes. Section 40-2-50 contains prohibited acts by persons not licensed as certified public accountants or public accountants and applies to accounting practitioners as well as unlicensed persons.
Q. My business is franchised by a national organization. Will my accounting practitioner license extend to and license the franchise?
A. No. The accounting practitioner license is issued to individuals only. You may operate in the form of sole proprietorship, partnership, professional association or professional corporation (see rule 1-21 for details).
Q. How could I let my clients and prospective clients know about the franchise?
A. You could list your name followed by the name of the franchise.
Q. I understand that no license is needed to offer tax services to the public. If I am a licensed accounting practitioner must I comply with the professional ethics in regards to my tax practice?
A. Yes. Since you will be licensed as an accounting practitioner you must comply with the Code of Professional Ethics in regards to any services of a type usually offered by accountants such as accounting services, tax services, management advisory services and the like.
Q. Who is a CPE Program sponsor?
A. A CPE program sponsor is the individual or organization responsible for setting learning objectives, developing the program materials to achieve such objectives, offering a program to participants, and maintaining the documentation required by the Statement on Standards for CPE Programs issued jointly by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). The term CPE program sponsor may include associations of CPAs, whether formal or informal, as well as employers who offer in-house programs. In the event that a program developer is different than the program sponsor, it is the responsibility of the program sponsor to assure that the program development complies with the standards.
Q. Does the group who develops the courses or the group who hosts the courses need to be certified? If an organization hosts courses that are developed by a third party, what must the nature of the relationship be between both organizations? How can the organization determine the sponsorship of the course and maintenance of records between the two firms?
A. The nature of the relationship between the developing and hosting parties of a CPE program are not determined by the Board. The entity whose name is on the certificate of completion is responsible for validating the CPE credits claimed by a participant.
Q. Our current in-house training consists of us giving overviews from seminars we attend that could apply to additional staff in the office. Since we are developing a scaled down version of the same training, are we considered a CPE Program Sponsor and is this type of training considered self-study or independent study?
A. Yes, you firm would be considered a CPE Sponsor. That type of training would not be considered either self-study or independent study it would be considered group study.
Q. Why are sponsors not required to track “active” participation during a group live program but are required to implement a monitoring device for internet based programs?
A. Standard for CPE Program Measurement standard #12, Commentary states: “While it is the participant’s responsibility to report the appropriate number of credits earned, CPE program sponsors must monitor group learning activities to assign the correct number of CPE credits.”
Q. Is there a limit to how many CPE hours I can earn in a day?
A. Yes. Licensees cannot earn more than 10 hours of qualified CPE in a calendar day.
Q. Is there a limit to how many CPE hours I can earn each year in self-study?
A. Yes. As of June 25, 2010, licensees may earn no more than 20 hours each year in qualified self-study CPE, and self-study hours in excess of the 20 hours allowed do not qualify to carry forward from one year to the next.
Q. I plan to attend a conference sponsored by an association of executives in the industry in which I work. If I send an outline of the program, will the Board staff compute the hours of credit and let me know how many I may claim?
A. No. The sponsor of the course must maintain a record of attendance and furnish evidence of completion to the participant, including the hours of credit. Depending upon the actual topic, industry specific CPE may be personal development. Sponsors must meet the requirements in Regulation 1-08.
Q. Are there any hour limitations regarding self-study?
A. Yes. Changes made to Regulation 1-08 that went into effect on June 25, 2010 limit self-study hours to no more than 50% (20 hours) of a licensee’s CPE each year, and self-study hours in excess of the 20 hour maximum are not eligible to carry forward into the next calendar year.
Q. How much credit can be carried over into the next year?
A. Only 20 credits can be carried into the next year; however, you cannot carry Personal Development or self-study credits over, and there are other limitations detailed in Regulation 1-08.
Q. I received my CPA certificate in January of this year. I realize I am not required to file a CPE report this year, but I plan to take several CPE courses as required by my firm. Can I carry over any of these hours into next year?
A. No. There is no provision in the regulation that allows for CPE credit obtained during the calendar year in which the original certificate was issued.
Q. I submitted my self-study material to the sponsor on December 14, 2009 but the certificate of completion states January 3, 2010. Can I count the CPE for 2009?
A. No, the date on the certificate must be in the year that you are claiming credit. If you find this to be a problem you will need to schedule your CPE earlier in the year in order to avoid circumstances such as this.
Q. Do certificates need to be included when submitting my annual CPE report?
A. When reporting your annual CPE, you must submit copies of all self-study certificates of completion. You do not submit certificates of attendance for courses attended; however, you may be asked to submit them if called for a CPE Audit.
Q. What is needed for a Certificate to qualify?
A. Each certificate must have the following information in order for you to take the credit:
Name and address of sponsor
Course field of study
Date(s) of completion
Amount of CPE hours awarded
In the case of self-study courses:
Show the QAS registration number
Q. Do live webinars and live webcasts count as CPE, and are they considered self-study?
A. Yes provided the sponsor of webinars and webcasts monitors’ attendance, provides controls, has the capability to receive and answer questions, and complies with Regulation 1-08(E). Live webinars and webcasts are not considered self-study as they are live presentations.
Q. My firm has purchased an archived webinar. Can this be considered CPE?
A. Only if the firm sets up the webinar presentation as group study, having a knowledgeable individual as a facilitator to lead discussions and answer questions
Q. My firm uses videotapes prepared by AICPA in conducting in-firm CPE programs. How can we get CPE credit for attending?
A. If you have a formal in-firm program, the firm is considered to be the sponsor. The program should be conducted with a discussion leader who shows the video and leads any discussion, answers questions, etc. The firm should comply with the requirements outlined in South Carolina Board of Accountancy Regulation 1-08 (C-E).
Q. How do you distinguish between an in-firm program using AICPA videotapes and individual self-study programs using similar tapes?
A. In a firm program the method of delivery will be considered a group study and should be annotated in the program code as 6. The firm is the sponsor and will need to maintain attendance records, issue evidence of completion, etc. In an individual AICPA self-study program, the AICPA is the sponsor, maintains records, issues certificates of completion, etc. This method of delivery is considered self-study and should be annotated in the program code as 1. All self-study must be QAS approved.
Q. We plan to conduct an in-firm CPE program. Should we send the Board a description of the program, a list of the participants, and other material?
A. No. The Board does not approve CPE sponsors or programs and does not maintain records of attendance. The firm should structure the program to comply with the Regulation 1-08.
Q. I’m looking at self-study courses; can I use courses that are on the NASBA Registry?
A. No, South Carolina only allows self-study courses that have been approved by NASBA’s Quality Assurance Services (QAS). If the course material does not indicate that it has been approved by QAS then give the sponsor a call. In order to find courses that have been approved you can go to the NASBA website www.NASBA.org and click on the CPE hyperlink at the bottom of the page, click on the QAS hyperlink to the left of the next page, and then click on the QAS Sponsor Listing tab at the top of the next page. Here you can find a list of sponsor that have QAS approved courses. Don’t assume that all courses from the sponsor are QAS qualified, go one step further and click on the links after each sponsor to view the actual course listings
Q. I understand that the Board does not pre-approve individual sponsors, programs, or courses, how can I determine whether or not a course qualifies for CPE credit?
A. The Board does not have the staff or appropriate budget to evaluate a large volume of sponsors or individual courses. Under the law, seminars sponsored by national and state accounting organizations and their chapters are normally deemed to qualify, provided they meet all of the requirements. This includes, for example, courses sponsored by AICPA, South Carolina Association of CPAs, National Society of Accountants, S.C. Government Finance Officers Association, South Carolina Association of Public Accountants, and National Association of Accountants.
The overriding consideration is that the CPE program be one that is a formal program of learning that contributes directly to the professional competence of a licensee.
Q. What types of educational programs qualify?
A. Accounting professionals should participate in programs of learning that maintain and/or increase their professional competence or do both, and this is the fundamental purpose of CPE. An accounting professional’s field of employment does not limit the need for continuing professional education. A person performing services of a professional nature needs to have a broad range of knowledge, skills, and abilities. Acceptable subjects may include accounting and auditing, consulting services, specialized knowledge and applications, management, personal development, taxation, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Access, and any accounting computer programs. Other subjects may also be acceptable if they maintain and/or increase the accounting professional’s competence.
Q. I have taken several CPE courses and do not know how to classify them. Does the Board have a list that I can compare to?
A. The Board has adopted NASBA’s 23 Subject Matter Areas for uniformity purposes. Click on this link to read the descriptions.
Q. I attended a lunch and learn seminar sponsored by the local business association. They have followed all the requirements in Regulation 1-08. Can I count the seminar as CPE?
A. Yes you can, as long as the course is a minimum of 50 minutes in length and the program does not start until after the serving of the meal.
Q. Are there types of courses that have been specifically ruled as unacceptable?
A. A self-study program that involves only reading a publication or watching a video and passing a test is not considered a formal program of learning and would not be acceptable. In addition, the Board has specifically ruled that courses offered by the American Society for Continuing Education are not acceptable nor are the RIA “Tax Quizzer” courses acceptable (QAS letter dated 11/12/04 states RIA Tax Quizers is non-compliant with the AICPA/NASBA Statement on Standards for Continuing Professional Education Programs).
Q. I am going to pursue the Certified Management Accountant certification (CMA) this year; can the studying and or passing the exam by used for any CPE?
A. The Board has a policy of not allowing courses that qualify for another certification or license as CPE, such as Real Estate, Insurance, Securities, Certified Financial Manager, Certified Financial Analysis, Certified Financial Planner, and Certified Management Accountant just to name a few.
Q. I have gone back to school to work on my Master’s degree in Accounting. How do I determine how many hours CPE I earned in the classroom?
A. A licensee may receive 15 CPE hours for each semester hour or 10 CPE hours for each quarter hour they complete in accounting courses, and must present a transcript showing the completed hours when they are audited by the Board.
Q. I earned 39 hours of self-study CPE in March 2010 and no more between March 2010 and June 25, 2010. Does this mean that I must now complete 20 more hours CPE to get my 40 hours for 2010, or do I only have to earn 1 more hour for 2010 which must be non-self-study?
A. Since the changes to Regulation 1-08 did not go into effect until June 25, 2010, any CPE, including self-study, that you earned up until then will count as long as it followed the rules set out in Regulation 1-08 prior to June 25, so you only need to earn 1 more hour in non-self-study CPE for the year 2010 to reach your 40 hours.
CONTROLS AND REPORTING
Q. I purchased 2 self-study courses, one for 8 hours and one for 12 hours. I completed the course work over a week’s time and took both tests on the same day giving me a total of 20 hours. With the new rules in effect will I be able to count all 20 hours?
A. No, since you took the test for both courses on the same day and the sponsor will generate two different Certificates of Completion for the same day totaling 20 hours. You will be given credit for the 12 hour course as it is given it would have taken several days to complete. If you would have taken the tests on two separate days you would have been given credit for both courses.
Q. If I attend a seminar for 8 hours of live classroom CPE and then complete a 4 hour self-study course, how many hours total credit am I eligible for?
A. Licensees may earn no more than 10 hours CPE each day; therefore, only 2 hours of the self-study (or whichever you complete chronologically) will count.
Q. I attended a 40 hour weeklong learning event after June 25, 2010. How should the sponsor represent the hours on the certificate of completion?
A. Ideally, the sponsor should provide a certificate of completion which provides the daily breakdown of CPE or shows the dates attended. If the provider simply provided a certification of completion that shows 40 hours on the last day, only 10 hours would count.
Q. I attended a multi-day event in which we spent 12 hours of learning time on Thursday and only 6 on Friday. Since the maximum number hours of CPE I can earn in a day is 10, does this mean that I can only claim 16 hour CPE when reporting to the Board even though my certificate of completion says 18?
A. You are correct. Because you can earn no more than 10 hours CPE in a day, this particular CPE event would only count for a total of 16 hours even though the certificate of completion will say 18.
Q. I had 20 hours to carryover from 2009 into 2010, and all of those carryover hours were earned in self-study. Can I still count those carryover hours? If so, do the 20 hours I am required to complete in 2010 have to be in hours other than self-study?
A. Since the carryover hours were earned before June 25, 2010, all of those hours are still eligible. You will still be compliant if you earn 20 hours of CPE in the year 2010.
Q. My firm maintains an electronic record of my CPE. Can I submit a copy of the computer printout in lieu of completing the Board's CPE report form?
A. Yes; however, you will need to complete the 1st page of the CPE reporting form showing the required hours, any carryover, your signature, and include your firms print out. If audited you must provide your completed CPE form and substantiating documents. All documentation must be maintained for 5 years.
Q. When does CPE need to be reported?
A. Effective with calendar year 2011, CPE will be reported annually by completing a CPE report and submitting copies of any self-study Certificates of Completion associated with the report to the Board office on or before January 31st of each year.
Q. I received my reciprocity license from South Carolina this year. When do I have to start reporting my CPE?
A. You will need to obtain the required 40 hours in the year you were granted your reciprocity license and all subsequent years thereafter, reporting them annually on or before January 31.
Q. How can my hours be reported and show that I had carryover hours from my live courses?
A. The easiest way to keep track is to apply the hours in the following order:
- Count any carryover
- Count any Personal Development (8 hours max, no carryover)
- Count any Self-Study (20 hours max, no carryover)
- Count all live courses
Any hours over the required 40 hours will be considered carryover hours (with a limit of 20 hours).
Q. I completed a self-study course. Should I forward the examination answer sheets to the Board as proof that I completed the course?
A. No. In order to obtain credit, the answer sheets should be sent to the course sponsor. The certificate of completion issued by the sponsor must be attached to your CPE report.
Q. Is it helpful for the Board if I enclose documentation for each course I attended with my CPE report?
A. Yes. During an audit it is required that you send all certificates of attendance for each seminar attended and all certificates of completion for self-study courses.
Q. I completed a self-study course and submitted it before December 31. Do I get credit for the course for that year?
A. The Board uses the date the sponsor puts on the Certificate of Completion. The Certificate of Completion should be dated the date the test is received not the date of grading.
Q. I live, work and have an active CPA license in Nebraska as well as hold an active CPA license in South Carolina. Do I need to follow South Carolina’s rules regarding CPE or will South Carolina accept the CPE obtained by Nebraska rules?
A. Yes, we will accept the CPE from your home jurisdiction.
- We will need a copy of the CPE report that was submitted to your home jurisdiction. If your home jurisdiction is on a different schedule than annual, then we will need a copy of your last CPE report with a brief explanation about the CPE schedule.
- You do not need to send a SC CPE Report. (If your jurisdiction does not require an actual CPE report, and only requires you to attest that it was complete, please complete a SC CPE Report with the courses completed.)
Q. Can I employ someone whose license is revoked or suspended?
A. No, per Regulation 1-10(D) A licensee per permit holder shall not employ or associate with directly or indirectly, a person whose license is revoked or suspended by this Board or by the Board of Accountancy in any other jurisdiction. Employing or associating such a person as an accountant, investigator, tax preparer or in any other capacity connected with the practice of accounting subjects the licensee or permit holder to discipline by the Board
Q. My bookkeeper is not licensed as a CPA, PA or an Accounting Practitioner in South Carolina, and he/she is withholding my records. Can I file a complaint with the Board of Accountancy?
A. Since they are not licensed, we have no jurisdiction. You may want to call the SC Department of Consumer Affairs at (800) 922-1594 or visit their website at http://www.scconsumer.gov/complaint_services.htm .
Q. I called my CPA several times and asked for my records I gave him in order to complete my taxes. Can you help in getting my records?
A. First, send them a written request asking for the return of your records. If after a reasonable amount of time they still have not complied with your request, then go ahead and complete a complaint form and send it to the Office of Investigation and Enforcement. Click here for information on how to file a complaint.