The State of Delaware approved my Certified Public Accountant certification on May 15, 2012. The details are posted at the link below. After working on this since 2004 (before my auto injury) I consider this a major mile mark.
The certificate is not a license to practice public accountancy in Delaware (or any other state) and I am still working on verifying my auditing experience for the New Jersey CPA license. Actually, I have no specific plans to practice public accountancy (auditing or reviews) in any state; my intent has been to continue to practice financial planning but to advance the range of services offered to clients.
(Editorial Note: I did change my plans after this 2012 article was published. My licence to practice was issued by Delaware in 2014 and I started a CPA practice in 2015).
Since it is most likely that I would practice in three states (Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware) it makes sense to review the status and plans in each.
I am a member of the New Jersey Association of Certified Public Accountants. The members and association leaders have been a huge help in recent months helping to resolve my licensing stalemate. I have been active in association activities over the past year.
NJ Board of Accountancy
The NJ Board of Accountancy sent a letter last week indicating that there is still hope of verifying prior work experience under a presumably deceased CPA but that will require additional research. I understand that my application is complete except for that requirement.
Law regulating use of CPA designation
I have not yet reviewed the law with regard to the use of CPA designation for a professional not engaged in public accounting.
I am a member of the Pennsylvania Association of Certified Public Accountants but have not yet been active in association activities.
Pennsylvania Board of Accountancy
I have not yet had any communication with the Pennsylvania Board of Accountancy. The law section and my comment below indicates that there may be unanswered questions I should provide notification and so I expect to do that immediately.
Law regulating use of CPA designation
§ 11.9. Use of the designation ‘‘certified public accountant’’ and the abbreviation ‘‘CPA’’ solely as mark of achievement by individual without current license.
(a) An individual who holds a certificate of certified public accountant but does not maintain a current license to practice public accounting, or an individual who has received notification from the Board that he is qualified to receive a certificate of certified public accountant, may use the designation ‘‘certified public accountant’’ and the abbreviation ‘‘CPA’’ solely as a mark of achievement subject to the following conditions:
(1) The certificate of certified public accountant has not been suspended or revoked.
(2) The individual has notified the Board in writing that he wishes to be placed on inactive status.
(3) The individual does not practice or offer to practice public accounting and is not a member or employee of a public accounting firm.
(4) The individual does not hold himself out to be in the practice of public accounting when performing or offering to perform accounting, bookkeeping, tax or accounting-related matters.
(5) The individual does not use the designation ‘‘certified public accountant’’ or the abbreviation ‘‘CPA’’ in advertising, including listings and advertisements in phone directories, newspapers, magazines, electronic media and indoor and outdoor signs.
(6) The individual does not display the certificate of certified public accountant in a manner that suggests he is authorized to practice public accounting.
(7) The individual’s use of the designation ‘‘certified public accountant’’ and the abbreviation ‘‘CPA’’ under this section is limited to business cards, letterhead or other stationery, and resumes or curriculum vitae, subject to the following conditions:
(i) The word ‘‘inactive’’ must appear immediately adjacent to the designation or abbreviation.
(ii) Business cards, letterhead and other stationery must include the name of the individual’s employer and the individual’s job title or, if the individual is self-employed, the nature of the individual’s business.
(b) The following are examples of unlawful use under this section:
(1) The holder of a certificate of certified public accountant whose license is on inactive status has a sign in the window of his home that bears his name and the abbreviation ‘‘CPA.’’ Explanation: The sign is an offer to practice public accounting, which requires possession of a current license.
(2) The holder of a certificate of certified public accountant whose license is on inactive status and who is employed in private industry uses a business card that bears his name, the abbreviation ‘‘CPA,’’ his employer’s name and his job title. The individual shows the business card to an acquaintance and offers to set up an accounting procedure. Explanation: The offer is an offer to practice public accounting, which requires possession of a current license.
(c) An individual or entity that violates this section shall be subject to disciplinary action, as appropriate, under sections 9.1, 12, 14 and 16 of the act (63 P. S. § § 9.9a, 9.9c, 9.14 and 9.16).
The provisions of this § 11.9 section 9.3(a)(11) and (12) of The CPA Law (63 P. S. § 9.3(a)(11) and (12)).
The provisions of this § 11.9 adopted November 30, 1990, effective December 1, 1990, 20 Pa.B. 5934; amended July 27, 2007, effective July 28, 2007, 37 Pa.B. 4055. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (206106) and (303385).
This section of the law does not address reciprocity issues with regard to a professional certificate holder in another state who wishes to use the CPA designation outside of the practice of public accountancy. Note that the misspelling “stationery” is apparently part of the issued legislation.
I am not a member of the Delaware Association of Certified Public Accountants.
Division of Professional Licenses
Law regulating use of CPA designation
§ 106. Certificate or permit required.
(a) The use of the title or designation “certified public accountant” or the abbreviation “CPA” or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviation, sign, card or device tending to indicate that a person is a certified public accountant shall be limited to a person who holds a valid certificate and permit to practice issued by the Board pursuant to this chapter or issued under the laws of another jurisdiction, except that a person who holds a valid certificate, but is not engaged in the practice of certified public accountancy or public accountancy, may use the abbreviation “CPA”; provided, that it is clearly indicated that such person is not holding himself or herself out as practicing certified public accountancy.
(b) The use of the title or designation “public accountant” or the abbreviation “PA” or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviation, sign, card or device tending to indicate that such person is a public accountant shall be limited to a person who holds a valid permit to practice.
27 Del. Laws, c. 98, § 1; Code 1915, § 981; Code 1935, § 1092; 24 Del. C. 1953, § 103; 55 Del. Laws, c. 193; 60 Del. Laws, c. 198, § 1; 65 Del. Laws, c. 167, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 139, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 128, § 2.;
Pasted from <http://delcode.delaware.gov/title24/c001/index.shtml>
65. Use of the CPA Designation by Member Not in Public Practice
.130 Question—A member who is not in public practice wishes to use his or her CPA designation in connection with financial statements and correspondence of the member’s employer. The member also wants to use the CPA designation along with employment title on business cards. Is it permissible for the member to use the CPA designation in these manners?
.131 Answer—Yes. However, if the member uses the CPA designation in a manner to imply that he or she is independent of the employer, the member would be knowingly misrepresenting facts in violation of rule 102 [ET section 102.01]. Therefore, it is advisable that in any transmittal within which the member uses his or her CPA designation, he or she clearly indicate the employment title. In addition, if the member states affirmatively in any transmittal that a financial statement is presented in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles, the member is subject to rule 203 [ET section 203.01].
[Replaces previous ruling No. 65, Use of the CPA Designation by Member Not in Public Practice, February 1996, effective February 29, 1996.]
(This AICPA statement would not appear to apply to me because I do not wish to use my name or CPA designation in connection with financial statements or correspondence for an employer who issues financial statements. No other statement from AICPA on the use of the CPA designation by professionals not in public practice).
I am now beginning the procedures that eventually lead to the AICPA’s “Personal Financial Specialist” designation and reasonably expect to complete these by the end of 2012.