The mission of the California Board of Accountancy (CBA) is to protect consumers by ensuring only qualified licensees practice public accountancy in accordance with established professional standards.  The CBA derives its authority from Business and Professions Code (BPC), Division 3, Chapter 1, Article 1 through Article 10 (Accountancy Act) and Title 16 California Code of Regulations, Division 1, Article 1 through Article 13 (CBA Regulations).

CBA Responsibilities.   From its inception in 1901, the CBA has, by statute, been charged with regulating the practice of accountancy. The original law prohibited anyone from falsely claiming to be a certified public accountant, a mandate which exists today. By authority of the California Accountancy Act, the CBA:

  • Ensures that only candidates who meet certain qualifications are allowed to take the national Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Examination
  • Certifies, licenses, and renews licenses of individual CPAs and Public Accountants (PA)
  • Registers accountancy partnerships and accountancy corporations
  • Takes disciplinary action against licensees for violation of the Accountancy Act and CBA Regulations
  • Monitors compliance with continuing education and peer review requirements
  • Reviews work products of CPAs, PAs, and accountancy firms to ensure adherence to professional standards.

The CBA regulates the practice of public accountancy in the State of California and may revoke, suspend, or refuse to renew any permit or certificate for violation of applicable statutes or regulations. The CBA, through its Enforcement Division, assisted by its statutorily established Enforcement Advisory Committee (EAC), receives and investigates complaints; initiates and conducts investigations or hearings, with or without the filing of a complaint; and obtains information and evidence relating to any matter involving the conduct of CPAs, PAs, and accountancy firms. The California Accountancy Act and the CBA Regulations provide the basis for CBA enforcement action. The expiration, cancellation, forfeiture, or suspension of a license, practice privilege, or other authority to practice public accountancy in California, or the voluntary surrender of a license by a licensee does not deprive the CBA of the authority to proceed with an investigation, action, or disciplinary proceeding against the licensee or to render a decision suspending or revoking the license.

The CBA receives complaints from consumers, professional societies, law enforcement agencies, and other governmental agencies. The CBA generates a large volume of internal referrals from the Licensing Division, CBA Committees, and within the Enforcement Division itself. Enforcement Division staff also regularly monitor news and social media for information regarding licensees or unlicensed practice that may suggest violations of the California Accountancy Act or CBA Regulations. Common complaints/referrals received and reviewed by the CBA include:

  • Negligence and incompetence
  • Fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation in the practice of public accountancy
  • Failing to perform services in accordance with professional standards
  • Criminal convictions
  • Administrative actions by other governmental agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and California Franchise Tax Board (FTB)
  • Administrative violations for failing to comply with license renewal requirements and unlicensed practice


Administrative enforcement defense services we provide to CBA licensees and unlicensed individuals and companies:  

  • Representation in defense of California licensed CPAs and unlicensed entities in  administrative hearings and proceedings, including investigations, Accusations, denials, and Citations.
  • Representation in investigations, subpoenas, and administrative hearings and proceedings by CBA, the California Department of Consumer Affairs, the California Office of the Attorney General, PCAOB, FINRA, and the SEC.
  • Representation in appeals of administrative proceedings to the Superior Court through a writ of mandamus proceeding or in appeals to the California Court of Appeal.