Accountant DefenseWhen we are asked to defend an accounting firm or CPA who is being sued or is under scrutiny and subject to disciplinary procedures, we are fully aware of the threat to our client’s livelihood, not to mention the reputational risk. In any such engagement, preserving our client's ability to practice accounting is our utmost priority when we respond to any accusations that have been filed. We know the possible repercussions that you may face following a complaint or ethics inquiry, and how to mitigate against the possible imposition of sanctions that can result from a disciplinary proceeding. CMW’s lawyers are able to help you with:
- Responding to complaint and peer review processes
- Ethics inquiries and proceedings by the Board of Accountancy or the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH)
- Administrative tax professional responsibility hearings, including before the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) of the IRS
- Informal Settlement Conference
- Threat of investigation by the IRS, OPR, Department of the Treasury, or the local district attorney’s office
- Licensing and compliance
- Resolution of grievance and disciplinary matters that limit the imposition of sanctions against the attorney
Accountants and CPA’s are asked by clients to provide a broader range of services than ever before. Diversification and expansion of the services an accounting firm might provide presents opportunities for enhanced client service, but also an increased risk of liability. It has been our experience that many ethics-related complaints arise for a relationship between an accounting firm and a client that has irrevocably deteriorated, especially when a tax client gets into trouble and tries to lay blame on anyone else, including their accountant or CPA. A client may have intentionally deceived the accountant or CPA regarding issues such as collecting sales tax, maintaining foreign accounts, or the classification of their staff.
In such instances, our defense team approaches the situation with discretion, sensitivity and commitment to protecting the accountant or CPA from the possible consequences of an ethics or tax inquiry, or loss of licensure. We have also found that if we are retained at the outset of a complaint, our ability to have the matter resolved favorably for our clients greatly improves. We are also sensitive to the importance of working with both defendants and their insurance carriers in cases involving malpractice insurance.