CPA licensing problem...


M

mark

Hi all,

Any ideas on this situation?
(keeping some facts confidential)

1) Back in 1999 I held a valid CPA license in my state. Passed the
exam on first sitting in 1996 and have the work experience necessary.

2) Due to personal/financial/emotional issues I was not able to keep my
license fees
current from 2000 - 2005. I was also not working in public accounting
at the time,
but was doing some private accounting work.

3) AND I was able to keep all my CPE current

4) The state I'm in now informs me that to re-instate my
license I HAVE to RE-SIT for the entire exam since I'm just over
5 years having an expired license. Are you kidding me?

5) EVEN though all my skills and education are current. The ONLY
thing missing are the dues I was unable to pay. (and several times
during the period I did send a check and application for renewal - each
time they would return it, asking for more money -
fines/penalties/etc...)
I would pay whatever amount they needed now that I can afford it.

6) I went to the state board of acctg, but of course they denied my
appeal.
Saying that if they made an exeption for my hardships, they'd be
opening a can of worms. Why make more work for themselves.

AND, they said that it was a statute - their hands were tied.
BS.

7) They did mention though, that if I were able to get licensed in
"another"
state, I could then return and re-apply to my own state under their
reciprocity
rules... (without having to re-sit for the exam).

Possibly a way around things?

I am VERY proud of my CPA license, I worked extremely hard to get it.
Life through me a bad turn in 2000 and I lost track of my things for a
while. Now
I'm back on my feet and just want to pay my money to regain that of
which
I'm proud to have... Knowing that in the coming months I will probably
be
looking for a new accounting job/cfo/public/private; my CPA credentials
would
be a big step up over other candidates...

Just the thought of re-sitting for that exam... ugg... ESPECIALLY since
I already passed it and I don't feel retaking it has ANYTHING to do
with my
situation, or accounting skills, or knowledge...

Any thoughts/ideas? Any states that are lenient with reciprocity?

Thanks!
 
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M

mark

One more thing: Being that I am in NJ, if anyone has encountered a
similar situation in the state (or if you know of anyone that has had
this happen in NJ), please post back here. I have already spoken to a
few people and am considering organizing a 'class-action type' of
action against the state board - Mainly due to the lack of
communication of this statute... It should be presented on each renewal
application that goes out. Not relying on people to find the statute on
the Internet, or in my case, too late. And it turns out, this is
happening to quite a few people...
 
P

Paul A. Thomas

It's the law in every state that licenses CPA's, that you ~maintain~ that
license with annual renewals. There are exceptions for paying late, but not
several years late. Any state that would offer reciprocity on licensing
would begin with your **current** license in some state and go from there.
Unfortunately you do not have a current license. It is doubtful that any
state will just give you one without meeting all the rules for that state
(like sitting for the exam).

You can toss money out for a law suit, but you probably don't have any legal
basis to keep it going much past the arttorney's office doors.
 
M

mark

Thanks for your thoughts Paul. And you make a good point.

On a side note:
I did make several attempts to pay (sent checks), but each time instead
of accepting the check, the board would return it and require $X amount
more from me for a late fee or fine. I hit a really low point in my
life at that time and barely had money to pay my bills (was already
borrowing to the hilt). This back and forth between me and the board
went on for a few years, so it wasn't as if I totally disregarded the
process... And I was scraping up the money to pay for my CPE credits
all along the way... Most laws in this country have exceptions for
"undue hardships/emotional trauma" and the like... I'm hoping that
someone up the food-chain might find their heart and show some
compassion...

Also after I suggested that the Board add a line item on the renewal
form for NJ that states "renewals for licenses that have lapsed over 5
years will be required to re-sit for the CPA Exam", a person at the
State Board said that "why should they publish something like that???"
(like I was out of my mind for suggesting it)... He went on to say "it
would only cause them more work because of the phone calls that would
come in"... Typical beaurocratic response - "why should I be expected
to actually 'work' for my salary?"

Why? Maybe to educate the members that they are licensing... So that
good, honest, ethical people do not unknowningly lose something that
they worked so hard to get. I understand the need for such a rule (to
insure licensees of any profession stay current), but if all other
aspects have been met (education, skills, etc...), does it make sense
to enforce a rule that was passed to protect the general public, as a
punishment because of financial matters? What good will come out of
requiring someone who is current with their skills to re-take an
entrance exam they passed already?

You are a CPA and I'm sure you are up to date on your knowledge and
skills, do you think you'd be able to walk in cold and pass that
nightmare again? :> How many hours did you invest in prep for the first
time you passed? I know for me, in total, it was probably close to a
600 hours over 6 - 12 months of time. Now I have my own business, a
wife, a full life... where does the time come from?

In my thinking at the time (which was very clouded), I could not
understand why they wouldn't accept my payments, then simply bill me
for whatever late penalty there was? But beyond all of that, I was
NEVER made aware that because of overdue payments that I'd be forced to
re-sit for the exam. No where is that published, other than in the
pages of bylaws of the Board (which I only learned about AFTER the
fact). It wasn't with my license renewals, it was told to me over the
phone during the several calls I made, it wasn't told to me before,
during or after I sat for the exam.

The other day I spoke to someone fairly high up in the NJSCPA who told
me that I'd be "amazed" at just how many people this happens to... And
how they ALL knew NOTHING about this rule when it happened to them.

But back to your orginal point, I know the system well enought to
realize that unless I find someone that knows someone, who knows
someone, I might be blowing into the wind.... Then again, if I find a
few hundred or a few thousand x-CPA's who had this happen to them and
who are willing to get behind this, well then that might lead to a
different outcome... Maybe/maybe not... I'm not much of a fan of legal
avenues, but sometimes it is the only thing that political appointees
understand...

Thanks!
 
P

Paul A. Thomas

mark said:
Also after I suggested that the Board add a line item on the renewal
form for NJ that states "renewals for licenses that have lapsed over 5
years will be required to re-sit for the CPA Exam", a person at the
State Board said that "why should they publish something like that???"
(like I was out of my mind for suggesting it)... He went on to say "it
would only cause them more work because of the phone calls that would
come in"... Typical beaurocratic response - "why should I be expected
to actually 'work' for my salary?"

Why? Maybe to educate the members that they are licensing... So that
good, honest, ethical people do not unknowningly lose something that
they worked so hard to get.


The Georgia State Board includes a copy of the licencing laws with each
annual renewal. There is no need to have it printed (again) on the
application form. If I don't read the law, it's my fault.


You are a CPA and I'm sure you are up to date
on your knowledge and skills, do you think you'd
be able to walk in cold and pass that
nightmare again?

No - I do not think I could pass the exam "cold". But I would take whatever
measures necessary to get at least "warm" by taking a CPA exam course,
self-study, etc.



where does the time come from?

By adjusting your priorities. And I don't mean to sound flippant, but that
is all it takes. Rearrange your life to make time. Sacrifices have to be
made to accomplish what you want to accomplish.
 
M

mark

Sounds like Georgia is "friendly" to CPA's... maybe I should move on
down! :>
From what I'm starting to find out, the NJ Board is also taking heat
for lack
of communication to its members, due to other issues as well.

For instance, most CPA's in NJ do
not realize that "most" self-study CPE credits only qualify as 50% of
NJ
requirements, and some that might be an hour's credit won't qualify at
all.
NASBA passed its recommendations on the matter I think a year or two
ago,
but from what I'm aware of, NJ is only 1 of 4 regions that are still
not
recognizing CPE self-study credits at full value... but rather half the
value
that is stated on the CPE course descriptions. It IS in the bylaws,
BUT
the only place to find the bylaws is buried on the State's Internet
site. We
are never sent them.

Being completely honest - if I knew about this 5 year rule, I would not
be
in this situation. If I EVER had a copy of the bylaws - EVER - I would
not be in this situation. So I agree with you again - if information
was given,
but not read, then shame on me...

About priorities... I guess you are right again. It is just that from
someone who currently
owns their own business, it is very difficult to think that through...
Knowing I
already get home at 9-10pm each night and often work on Saturdays...
and a
new wife...

When I spoke with our State Society of CPAs, they said that most
of the people who fall into this problem, choose not to renew and leave
the profession
entirely. Not the kind of pattern that the accounting industry needs
right now, considering the strain that Sarbanes Oxley is placing on the
auditing field of
practice and the shortage of qualified CPAs...

It isn't that I wouldn't or couldn't pass the exam again, it is more
about the
principle... I took it and passed all four parts in my first sitting -
I know what
it takes. It just irks me to no end...

Thanks for your candor.
 
S

Steve

mark said:
Thanks for your thoughts Paul. And you make a good point.

On a side note:
I did make several attempts to pay (sent checks), but each time instead
of accepting the check, the board would return it and require $X amount
more from me for a late fee or fine. I hit a really low point in my
life at that time and barely had money to pay my bills (was already
borrowing to the hilt). This back and forth between me and the board
went on for a few years, so it wasn't as if I totally disregarded the
process... And I was scraping up the money to pay for my CPE credits
all along the way... Most laws in this country have exceptions for
"undue hardships/emotional trauma" and the like... I'm hoping that
someone up the food-chain might find their heart and show some
compassion...

Also after I suggested that the Board add a line item on the renewal
form for NJ that states "renewals for licenses that have lapsed over 5
years will be required to re-sit for the CPA Exam", a person at the
State Board said that "why should they publish something like that???"
(like I was out of my mind for suggesting it)... He went on to say "it
would only cause them more work because of the phone calls that would
come in"... Typical beaurocratic response - "why should I be expected
to actually 'work' for my salary?"

Why? Maybe to educate the members that they are licensing... So that
good, honest, ethical people do not unknowningly lose something that
they worked so hard to get. I understand the need for such a rule (to
insure licensees of any profession stay current), but if all other
aspects have been met (education, skills, etc...), does it make sense
to enforce a rule that was passed to protect the general public, as a
punishment because of financial matters? What good will come out of
requiring someone who is current with their skills to re-take an
entrance exam they passed already?

You are a CPA and I'm sure you are up to date on your knowledge and
skills, do you think you'd be able to walk in cold and pass that
nightmare again? :> How many hours did you invest in prep for the first
time you passed? I know for me, in total, it was probably close to a
600 hours over 6 - 12 months of time. Now I have my own business, a
wife, a full life... where does the time come from?

In my thinking at the time (which was very clouded), I could not
understand why they wouldn't accept my payments, then simply bill me
for whatever late penalty there was? But beyond all of that, I was
NEVER made aware that because of overdue payments that I'd be forced to
re-sit for the exam. No where is that published, other than in the
pages of bylaws of the Board (which I only learned about AFTER the
fact). It wasn't with my license renewals, it was told to me over the
phone during the several calls I made, it wasn't told to me before,
during or after I sat for the exam.

The other day I spoke to someone fairly high up in the NJSCPA who told
me that I'd be "amazed" at just how many people this happens to... And
how they ALL knew NOTHING about this rule when it happened to them.

But back to your orginal point, I know the system well enought to
realize that unless I find someone that knows someone, who knows
someone, I might be blowing into the wind.... Then again, if I find a
few hundred or a few thousand x-CPA's who had this happen to them and
who are willing to get behind this, well then that might lead to a
different outcome... Maybe/maybe not... I'm not much of a fan of legal
avenues, but sometimes it is the only thing that political appointees
understand...

Thanks!
I fell into a similar situation with theVirginia state board of accountancy
some time ago but I just paid the past six years in one lump payment. (I
never received any indication the dues were past due, now you get flooded
with emails) You should definitely exhaust all possibilities with the
board members (not the NJSCPA) before taking the exam again.
 
M

mark

Hey Steve,

Thanks for the reply. I've gone the appeals route with the Board of
Acct... They denied my request based on "legal advice" from their
lawyer (I just love lawyers) - even though I requested it, they did not
even grant me an in-person appeal...

Basically they told me they don't want to create any kind of precedent
(heaven forbid they make any kind of exception). So now I'm moving up
the chain to the State Attorney General and to my local congressmen...
I know what Paul is saying in his messages, I just want to try
everything option I have first...

The NJSCPA has only been providing me advice and support (well at least
the best they can do)
 
J

Joe Canuck

mark said:
Hey Steve,

Thanks for the reply. I've gone the appeals route with the Board of
Acct... They denied my request based on "legal advice" from their
lawyer (I just love lawyers) - even though I requested it, they did not
even grant me an in-person appeal...

Basically they told me they don't want to create any kind of precedent
(heaven forbid they make any kind of exception). So now I'm moving up
the chain to the State Attorney General and to my local congressmen...
I know what Paul is saying in his messages, I just want to try
everything option I have first...

The NJSCPA has only been providing me advice and support (well at least
the best they can do)
You have nothing to lose by taking this further up the chain of
authority, and perhaps everything to gain.
 
D

Drew

Paul A. Thomas said:
It's the law in every state that licenses CPA's, that you ~maintain~ that
license with annual renewals. There are exceptions for paying late, but
not several years late. Any state that would offer reciprocity on
licensing would begin with your **current** license in some state and go
from there. Unfortunately you do not have a current license. It is
doubtful that any state will just give you one without meeting all the
rules for that state (like sitting for the exam).
I am not an accountant, so I know little about the licensing process for
CPA's. In some professions (like Registered Nurse), in some states
(including New Jersey), there is something called "inactive status" where
the licensee pays an annual fee to keep the license in force but does not
have to meet ongoing CPE requirements, etc. Even if they have that in New
Jersey for accountants, I guess the opportunity to do that has long since
passed.

And also in some professions, in some states, they offer some type of
"retrieval" program where persons who were fomerly licensed can re-enter the
profession without having to re-take a licensing exam. I wonder if any
states offer that for a CPA license. If so, you could get licensed
elsewhere, then later transfer your license to New Jersey. Maybe one of the
surrounding states like New York, Pennsylvania, or Delaware offer something
like that -- I don't know.
 
D

Drew

After writing the above, I went to http://www/google.com and did a search
for:

CPA "expired licensed" <------(with the quote marks as shown)

The first, third, fourth, and fifth websites listed in the search results
looked interesting:

Virginia has a process for reinstatement of expired CPA licenses.

Massachusetts has a process with these requirements:

http://www.mass.gov/dpl/boards/pa/cmr/25202.htm#2.16

California has a reinstatement process where the license can be expired for
up to 5 years and still be reinstated (although I don't know if that applies
to an expired out-of-state CPA license).

Well, you get the idea. Do the google search and look for what each state's
requirements are for reinstatement of expired CPA licenses.
 
M

mark

thanks drew, I will definitely look into the above...
Like someone once said "leave no stone unturned" right?
Thanks for your message...
Mark
 
J

Joker

JC> You have nothing to lose by taking this further up the chain of
JC> authority, and perhaps everything to gain.


The other benefit is that even if you are not successful, you will know how
to find the time to study for the exam again, given the time you have
invested here. I had a similar thing happen but with taxes. A piece of
property we owned went a few years without taxes being paid. When I stepped
in, I was willing to pay 90% with the other amount being due in the not too
distant future. The taxing authority said no, it was all or nothing. I
went back a few years later and discovered it had passed through two
auctions and they had received less than I was willing to pay at the time.
The moral of the story is the little people that are part of the beauracracy
are there for a reason. In most cases, the either hate their job and take
it out on everyone else or they love the control of making people beg for
what they want and denying them. I apologize if I seem a bit jaded but I
have NEVER had a good experience with governmental boards.
 
B

Bluepen

Mine was in Washington. I had to have so many CPE's over a certain
period of time and take the "Ethics" exam again. I had to pay as
well, but my employer was only too happy to do that. I did not have
to retake the exam.

No, they do not make it easy, but it has been more than 5 years. I
will not let it lapse again! I do not practice public accounting, but
do like thos three letters after my name. I am also a CMA and they
are MUCH easier to deal with.

Lance Mertz, CPA, CMA
Ketchikan, Alaska
 
M

mark

that's the thing - I hadn't been practicing either, but still I kept my
CPE credits up to date as best I could (and that isn't an inexpensive
thing to do, as I'm sure you are aware)... so I guess I'm just a little
distraught about how non-payment means re-taking an entrance exam? I
just don't see the logic..
thanks.
mark
 
J

Joe Canuck

mark said:
that's the thing - I hadn't been practicing either, but still I kept my
CPE credits up to date as best I could (and that isn't an inexpensive
thing to do, as I'm sure you are aware)... so I guess I'm just a little
distraught about how non-payment means re-taking an entrance exam? I
just don't see the logic..
thanks.
mark
That is how the association executives are able to keep their big
offices with those big real wood desks with leather inserts and
high-back leather executive chairs. :)
 
P

Paul A. Thomas

Joe Canuck said:
That is how the association executives are able to keep their big offices
with those big real wood desks with leather inserts and high-back leather
executive chairs. :)


The State Societies do not make anything off the exam process. Those are
administered by the State Board, who don't get "commissions" based on the
number of repeat applicants (else we'd all fail).
 
R

Ron Todd

That is how the association executives are able to keep their big
offices with those big real wood desks with leather inserts and
high-back leather executive chairs. :)
I think it is more along the lines of the movement to the five year
education requirement, reducing the number of individuals in a labor
surplus area.
 
M

mark

Actually since the passage of Sarbanes Oxley, the public acctg industry
is incurring a shortage of CPA's (due to the increase in auditing work
needed due that act's requirements on public companies and their annual
audits). And since the accounting scandals of a few years ago (AND the
150 credit educational requirement you refer to) there are less and
less college students choosing to pursue the public accounting
careers...

Fundamentally I agree with the 5-year statute that if you are
out-of-practice (out of the industry) for that long, your skills need
to be verified. BUT, that is different (in my opinion) to a person who
has worked to stay current in their skills AND has proof to that
matter, but who has fallen behind on financial dues owed to a governing
body. How does "owing money" equate to having to re-take an exam?
 
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P

Paul Thomas, CPA

mark said:
How does "owing money" equate to having to re-take an exam?


It doesn't - really. But someone had to draw the line somewhere. After
some 20 years, if you had taken CPE and all, coughed up 20 years of dues,
should you be expected to be given a certificate? I'm sorry, but that
doesn't sound right.

The minor amount of education you might obtain (and retain) from 40 hours of
CPE every year is not close enough to equate to what's necessary to pass the
exam.

Biannual dues are just $50 in Georgia. I understand that other states might
have a significantly higher dues schedule.
 

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