Instructions for Filing a Complaint Against a Licensed Certified Public Accountant

Resolving Concerns or Problems

Common misunderstandings relating to the scope of services, the quality of professional services, or the timeliness of those services very often can be resolved by direct and open communication.  However, when you cannot resolve a problem, and you believe a violation of Accountancy statutes or Board regulations has occurred, you may choose to file a complaint with the Board.


Understanding the Board's Authority Regarding Complaints

The specific Nebraska statute related to the practice of public accounting is contained in the Public Accountancy Act of 1957, as amended 1997, LB 114 §2-63, et seq.

http://www.nbpa.ne.gov/pdf/PAA_w_LB_31_revisions.pdf

and

Title 288 Rules and Regulations: http://www.sos.state.ne.us/rules-and-regs/regsearch/Rules/index.cgi?l=Board_of_Public_Accountancy

 

The Nebraska law defines the Board’s authority. It cannot act as your lawyer, provide legal advice or legal services, advise you of your rights in any given situation, or give you a list of attorney’s names. If you do not have an attorney and wish to hire one, lawyer referral services are available in most communities. However, you are not required to hire an attorney in order to file a complaint with the Board.

 

The Board’s authority when a violation of the Accountancy statutes or Board regulations has occurred is limited to disciplining or recommending discipline. The Board does not involve itself in fee disputes. The filing of a complaint with the Board does not prohibit you from concurrently filing a civil action.

 

The Board does not have authority to regulate fees charged by its licensees. Therefore, the Board cannot decide whether an accountant’s fee for services is reasonable.


How the Board Handles Your Complaint

Every complaint received by the Board is initially handled by NBPA staff. The Board’s Enforcement Committee reviews complaints based upon substantial and tangible facts relating to specific violations of the Board’s laws and regulations.  In most instances, the Board cannot effectively investigate cases that request the identity of the complainant be kept confidential. Although, you can file an anonymous complaint, very few anonymous complaints can be successfully pursued unless the person making the complaint is willing to testify. The testimony of the person making the complaint is almost always important evidence. Also, we mail a photocopy of the complaint letter to the CPA to inform them of the exact nature of the complaint.

 

The Board will provide the substance of your complaint to the licensee who is the subject of your complaint. Remember, the Board does not represent your interests within the complaint and any decisions relative to the complaint are between the Board and the CPA regarding alleged violations of the Act and/or rules.

 

If after completing an investigation, the Board determines that a violation of the Accountancy Act and/or Accountancy Regulations has occurred, the Board may recommend disciplinary action be taken.


Completing and Mailing the Complaint

  1. Use the NBPA website to verify that the person or firm is licensed and under NBPA regulation:  http://www.nbpa.ne.gov/search/   OR contact the Board office for verification 402-471-3595.
     
  2. Use Chapter 5 to determine to the best of your ability the areas of the ACT or Rules that were violated by the CPA. http://www.sos.state.ne.us/rules-and-regs/regsearch/Rules/index.cgi?l=Board_of_Public_Accountancy
    • Click on the first Title 288 listing.  Open Chapter 5.
       
  3. Write a letter to the Board. Please include as much documentation as you have regarding the issue and include your name, address, zip code, as well as your contact telephone number.  Documentation may include the name of the CPA licensee who is the subject of your complaint, copies of engagements letters, when the problem first occurred, attempts you made to mitigate the issue, and how you first selected the CPA.  Sign, date, and mail the letter to the Board’s address listed below.
     
  4. Once we receive the letter, a copy will be sent to the CPA who has 30 days to respond.
     
  5. The NBPA Enforcement Committee reviews the two letters.  Upon the Committee’s recommendation an investigation may be instigated.  If the complaint involves litigation, a Litigation Monitoring Consent Order maybe issued.
     
  6. Board staff will keep you informed of the complaints progress. 
     
  7. Please contact the Board office with questions.

Submit your complaint form, along with related documents to

Nebraska State Board of Public Accountancy
P.O. Box 94725
Lincoln NE 68509


Questions should be directed to

Dan Sweetwood
Executive Director
(402) 471-3595
Dan.Sweetwood@Nebraska.gov