Code of the District of Columbia

§ 47–2853.44. Registration of firms of certified public accountants.

(a)(1) The Board shall register firms of certified public accountants that demonstrate their qualifications in accordance with this section.

(2) The following entities must register under this section:

(A) Any firm with an office in the District performing attest services as defined in § 47-2853.41(1) or engaging in the practice of certified public accounting as defined in § 47-2853.41(7);

(B) Any firm with an office in the District that uses the title “CPA” or “CPA firm”; and

(C) Any firm that does not have an office in the District but performs attest services defined in § 47-2853.41(1) for a client having its home office in the District.

(3) [Repealed].

(4) A firm that is not subject to the requirements of paragraph (2) of this subsection may perform other professional services in the practice of certified public accounting in the District and may use the title "CPA" or "CPA firm" without registering under this section, if the firm:

(A) Performs the services through an individual with practice privileges under § 47-2853.49; and

(B) Is lawfully able to perform the services in the state where the individual with practice privileges has his or her principal place of business.

(b) A firm registering with the Board as a firm of certified public accountants under subsection (a) of this section shall meet the following requirements:

(1) At least one member shall be a certified public accountant licensed and in good standing in the District or, in the case of a firm required to register under subsection (a)(2)(C) of this section, shall be an individual with practice privileges under § 47-2853.49;

(2) Each member, whose principal place of business is in the District and who performs professional services in the District shall be a certified public accountant licensed and in good standing in the District;

(3) Repealed;

(4) Notwithstanding any other provision of law and subject to the provisions of paragraph (5) of this subsection:

(A) At least a simple majority of the ownership interest and voting rights of all partners, officers, shareholders, members, or managers in the firm of certified public accountants shall be owned by individuals licensed as certified public accountants in the District or in any other state; and

(B) Partners, officers, shareholders, members, or managers whose principal place of business is in the District and who perform professional services in the District shall be licensed under this part.

(5) A firm of certified public accountants which includes owners who are not licensed under this part shall be subject to the following requirements:

(A) The firm shall designate an individual who is licensed in the District or, in the case of a firm required to register under subsection (a)(2)(C) of this section, an individual with practice privileges under § 47-2853.49, to be responsible for the proper registration of the firm and notify the Board.

(B) All owners who are not licensed in the District or in a state shall be active individual participants in the firm of certified public accountants or affiliated entities.

(C) The firm shall comply with all other requirements that the Board may impose by rule.

(6) A licensed individual, or individual with practice privileges, who is responsible for attestation or compilation services and signs, or authorizes another person to sign, the accountant’s report on the financial statements on behalf of the firm shall meet the competency requirements set forth in the professional standards for such services.

(7) A licensed individual, or individual with practice privileges, who signs, or authorizes another person to sign, the accountants’ report on the financial statements on behalf of the firm shall meet the competency requirements set forth in the professional standards.

(c) Subject to subsection (a)(4) of this section, a firm that is a corporation organized for the practice of certified public accounting shall also comply with Chapter 5 of Title 29, and any rules promulgated thereunder, governing the issuance, ownership, and transferability of shares and be in compliance with such regulations as may be issued for such corporations.

(d) A firm that is registered pursuant to this section or that is exempt from holding a registration under subsection (a)(4) of this section may use the words “certified public accountants” or the abbreviation “CPA” in connection with its firm name. A registered firm shall notify the Board within one month after the admission or withdrawal of a member or shareholder in practice in the District from any firm so registered. Firms shall not offer certified public accounting services unless registered pursuant to this section, except as provided in subsection (a)(2) and (3) of this section.

(e) An applicant firm for initial issuance or renewal of a registration to practice under this section shall register each office of the firm within the District with the Board and demonstrate that all attest and compilation services rendered in the District are under the charge of a person licensed under this part, or the corresponding provision of prior law or some other state.

(f)(1) An applicant firm for initial issuance or renewal of a registration under this section shall, in its application, list all states (including the District) in which the firm has applied for or has been registered as a CPA firm and list any past denial, revocation, or suspension of a license or registration by the District or any other state.

(2) Each licensee or applicant for a registration under this section shall notify the Board in writing within 30 days after its occurrence of any:

(A) Change in the identities of partners, officers, shareholders, members, or managers whose principal place of business is in the District;

(B) Change in the number or location of offices within the District;

(C) Change in the identity of the persons in charge of offices within the District; or

(D) Issuance, denial, revocation, or suspension of a license, permit, or registration by any other state.

(g) Firms that fall out of compliance with the provisions of this section due to changes in firm ownership or personnel shall take corrective action as quickly as possible. The Board may grant a reasonable period to take corrective action. Failure to bring the firm back into compliance within a reasonable period, as defined by the Board, shall result in the suspension or revocation of the firm registration.


(Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-261, § 1002, 46 DCR 3142; June 16, 2006, D.C. Law 16-130, § 2(e), 53 DCR 4718; July 2, 2011, D.C. Law 18-378, § 3(jj)(2), 58 DCR 1720; Dec. 2, 2011, D.C. Law 19-43, § 2(e), 58 DCR 8928; Sept. 26, 2012, D.C. Law 19-171, § 114(n), 59 DCR 6190; Apr. 15, 2017, D.C. Law 21-276, § 2(e), 64 DCR 955.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 47-2853.44.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 47-2853.43 and § 47-2853.49.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-130 rewrote the section.

D.C. Law 18-378, in par. (2), substituted “Chapter 5” for “Chapter 4”.

D.C. Law 19-43 redesignated subsecs. (a) to (f) as subsecs. (b) to (g); added subsec. (a); rewrote redesignated subsec. (b); in subsec. (d), substituted “issued by the Board, or that is exempt from holding a registration and permit under subsection (a)(2) and (3) of this section” for “issued by the Board”, and substituted “pursuant to this section, except as provided in subsection (a)(2) and (3) of this section”, for “pursuant to this section”.

The 2012 amendment by D.C. Law 19-171 substituted “licensed in the District, or, in the case of a firm required to register under subsection (a)(2)(A) of this section, an individual with practice privileges under § 47-2853.49, to be” for “licensed in the District or, in the case of a firm required to register under subsection (a)(2)(A) of this section, shall be an individual with practice privileges under § 47-2853.49 to be” in (b)(5)(A).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(f) of Non-Health Related Occupations and Professions Licensure Emergency Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-255, January 26, 2006, 53 DCR 763).

Temporary Legislation

Section 2(f) of D.C. Law 16-101 amended section to read as follows:

“(a) A firm engaged in the District in the practice of certified public accounting may register with the Board as a firm of certified public accountants if it meets the following requirements:

“(1) At least one member thereof is a certified public accountant of the District in good standing;

“(2) Each member thereof must be a certified public accountant of the District or of a state in good standing;

“(3) At least one member or the resident manager in charge of an office of the firm in the District and each member thereof personally engaged within the District in the practice of public accounting as a member thereof must be a certified public accountant of the District in good standing;

“(4) Notwithstanding any other provision of law:

“(A) At least 51% of the firm of certified public accountants, in terms of financial interests and voting rights of all partners, officers, shareholders, members, or managers, belongs to individuals licensed as certified public accountants in the District or in any other state;

“(B) Partners, officers, shareholders, members, or managers, whose principal place of business is in the District, or who perform professional services in the District, hold a valid license issued under this part; and

“(C) Although firms may include non-licensee owners, the firm and its ownership must comply with rules promulgated by the Board;

“(5) Any firm of certified public accountants as defined in this part may include non-licensee owners; provided, that:

“(A) The firm designates a licensee of the District who is responsible for the proper registration of the firm and identifies that individual to the Board;

“(B) All non-licensee owners are active individual participants in the firm of certified public accountants or affiliated entities; and

“(C) The firm complies with such other requirements as the Board may impose by rule;

“(6) Any individual licensee who is responsible for supervising services requiring licensure as a certified public accountant and signs or authorizes someone to sign the accountant’s report on the financial statements on behalf of the firm shall meet the competency requirements set out in the professional standards for such services; and

“(7) Any individual licensee who signs or authorizes someone to sign the accountants’ report on the financial statements on behalf of the firm shall meet the competency requirement of paragraph (6) of this subsection.”.

“(b) Subject to the exception provided in subsection (a)(4) of this section, a firm that is a corporation organized for the practice of certified public accounting shall also comply with the provisions of Chapter 4 of Title 29, governing the issuance, ownership, and transferability of shares and be in compliance with such regulations as may be issued for such corporations.

“(c) A firm which is registered pursuant to this section and which holds a permit issued by the Board may use the words ”certified public accountants“ or the abbreviation ”CPA“ in connection with its firm name. Notification shall be given to the Board within one month after the admission or withdrawal of a member or shareholder in practice in the District from any firm so registered. Firms shall not offer certified public accounting services unless registered pursuant to this section.

“(d) An applicant firm for initial issuance or renewal of a permit to practice under this section shall be required to register each office of the firm within the District with the Board and to show that all attest and compilation services as defined herein rendered in the District are under the charge of a person holding a valid license in the District issued under Subchapter I-B, or the corresponding provision of prior law or some other state.

“(e) An applicant firm for initial issuance or renewal of permits under this section shall, in its application, list all states (including the District) in which the firm has applied for or holds permits as a certified public accounting firm and list any past denial, revocation, or suspension of a permit by the District or any other state, and each holder of or applicant for a permit under this section shall notify the Board in writing, within 30 days after its occurrence, of any change in the identities of partners, officers, shareholders, members, or managers whose principal place of business is in the District, any change in the number or location of offices within the District, any change in the identity of the persons in charge of such offices, and any issuance, denial, revocation, or suspension of a permit by any other state.

“(f) Firms that fall out of compliance with the provisions of this section due to changes in firm ownership or personnel, after receiving or renewing a permit, shall take corrective action to bring the firm back into compliance as quickly as possible. The Board may grant a reasonable period of time for a firm to take such corrective action. Failure to bring the firm back into compliance within a reasonable period as defined by the Board shall result in the suspension or revocation of the firm permit.”

Section 4(b) of D.C. Law 16-101 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Editor's Notes

Section 3 of D.C. Law 19-43 provided that the act shall apply upon the inclusion of its fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan. D.C. Law 19-43, § 3, was repealed by D.C. Law 19-168, § 7010.