MD Board of Public Accountancy

Spring  2012    
IN THIS ISSUE
License Portal Operational
E-Licensing Tips
Board Sets Compilation Language
Sole Practitioners: Please Read
New Regulations for MD Tax Preparers
Registration Search Tool for MD Tax Preparers
2012 Board Meetings
Board Reduces Exam, License Fees
Exam Applications Surge
How the Board Processes Exam Applications
Reporting Peer Review
Top Award Goes to MD Candidate
Timetables for Releasing Scores Accelerated
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Board Launches Licensing Portal  

The Board has recently developed an electronic licensing portal through which qualified individuals can access and print their own licenses. Here's how it works: the next business day after someone submits a license or firm application, the Board will send an email that will direct the individual to the Electronic Licensing Portal. The email will contain instructions for printing the license or permit, as well as the accompanying pocket card. Each time a licensee makes a subsequent change to the license (name or address change), an email will be sent to advise that a new license is ready to be printed.

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E-Licensing Tips 

The e-licensing system is operational 24 hours a day. Renewing your license is not dependent upon completing transactions during regular business hours.

 

Don't delegate! If you need to renew or modify your license or firm permit for any reason, please take the time to do it yourself. Many of the application errors we see are the result of licensees asking employees to handle the obligation for them.

 

If you attempt to access the license portal, and you receive a system busy signal or error message, don't give up. As with any online transaction process, users may occasionally experience brief periods of interruption in service. The system should be available again in a short while.

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Board Establishes Compilation Reporting Language 

The Board has adopted the requirements of the text to be included in financial statements that are prepared by individuals who are not licensed as CPAs. The disclosure statement must include a statement that:  

 

1. Does not reference the Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; and  

 

2. The preparer has not undergone or is required to undergo a peer review.

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What Does "Practice Certified Public Accountancy" Mean? 

The Maryland Public Accountancy Act defines the practice of certified public accountancy as:

 

1. Conducting an audit, review, or compilation of financial statements; or

   

2. Providing a written certificate or opinion offering positive or negative assurance or full or limited assurance on the correctness of the information or on the fairness of the presentation of the information in

a financial statement, a report, a schedule or an exhibit.

 

A person who performs certified public accountancy services to the public must have an active CPA license. A firm providing these services must have a firm permit issued by the Board. 

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What is a Compilation? 

A compilation is a presentation of information in the form of a financial statement that is performed in accordance with the Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services issued by AICPA.

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Sole Practitioners Operating as Corporations or LLCs: Please Read 

A CPA who is a sole practitioner and practices through a corporation or a limited liability company is not required to obtain a firm permit. The sole practitioner CPA's only requirement for a peer review is the personal peer review. A separate firm peer review is not necessary.   

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New Regulations Promulgated for Maryland Individual Tax Preparers 

New regulations issued by the Maryland Board of Individual Tax Preparers became effective March 5, 2012. COMAR 09.38.01.05 explains the Code of Professional Conduct, which all Maryland Registered Tax Preparers are required to follow.  

 

COMAR 09.38.02.1-5 provides information and requirements for continuing education. Registered Tax Preparers must provide certification that they have completed 16 hours of continuing education upon renewal of their registration. 

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Online Registration Search Tool for Maryland Tax Preparers Now Available 

While visiting the Maryland Board of Individual Tax Preparers website, please note the registration search tab, where members of the public can access registered tax preparers by name or city. A disclaimer for CPAs, Attorneys, and Enrolled Agents accompanies any search, explaining that they are exempt from registration and that they will not appear in the search results. The Board of Individual Tax Preparers welcomes this new function and believes that it is also a benefit to the more than 3,300 tax preparers who have registered with the State, adding credibility and exposure to their status.

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Danyell Chase

The Maryland Board of Public Accountancy welcomes Danyell Chase as our new Office Secretary. Ms. Chase will be assisting in the areas of continuing professional education audits, complaints, peer review, and other administrative processes of the Board. 

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2012 Board Meetings

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

 

The Maryland Board of Public Accountancy holds regular meetings that are open to the public. The meetings begin at 9:00 a.m. and are located at the offices of the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. The address is 500 North Calvert Street, 3rd Floor Conference Room, Baltimore, Maryland 21202. Please contact the Division at 410-230-6220 or op@dllr.state.md.us for additional information.

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Exam Candidates: Log in to Reprint Your NTS Using the Second Option

The Board has received many phone calls from exam candidates asking how to log in to NASBA's NTS reprint screen by Jurisdiction ID, one of the two options that users have to access their NTS. Since Maryland doesn't use a Jurisdiction ID, the easiest way to log in is to provide your name, date of birth and mother's maiden name.

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Thomas J.
From the Chair
Thomas J. "Tim" Murphy, CPA, Chair, Maryland Board of Public Accountancy

 

At its April 2012 meeting, the Maryland Board of Public Accountancy took action to reduce the license, permit and examination section fees charged to licensees and exam candidates. This reduction in fees was made possible by innovations made to the Board's online licensing application system, the implementation of in-house processes designed to streamline the application process and reductions in the cost of each of the four sections of the Uniform CPA Examination. It is the Board's desire to pass any meaningful savings back to you.

 

In this issue of The Account Balance, you will read about the newest of the Board's licensing innovations. Our new e-licensing portal will enable licensees to print their licenses at their desktops. This system will save the Board money by improving efficiency, and by eliminating the printing and mailing of licenses through regular mail. The launching of the e-licensing portal follows last fall's roll-out of the online examination application, which has greatly improved the exam application review process.

 

The Board expects a record number of applications to be filed over the next four months. Spring and summer graduations result in the largest number of applications filed with the Board every year. If someone you know is planning to apply for the CPA exam after graduation, "How the Board Processes Applications" is a must-read.

 

In addition to reducing license and examination fees, the Board also took action by regulation to require a disclosure statement to be included in compilations of financial statements that are not performed in accordance with the Standards on Financial Statements issued by the AICPA. This disclosure statement must be included in all compilations that are not prepared by an actively licensed CPA.

 

The Maryland General Assembly adjourned in April and did not enact any legislation concerning the licensing and regulation of the CPA industry. The Board is currently reviewing national and state issues to determine if legislation should be considered in the 2013 legislative session. If you have an issue that you think the Board should consider for legislative consideration, please let us know.

Board Reduces Exam, License Fees on June 1

 

CPA examination candidates and eligible license applicants will pay lower fees beginning June 1, 2012 under a new fee schedule adopted by the Board. The fee reductions will impact license and license renewal fees, permit and permit renewal fees, license and permit reinstatement fees, and examination registration fees. The new regulation also completely eliminates the proctoring fee for the Uniform CPA Examination. Please see the table below for a breakdown of all fee reductions:


June 1, 2012 Fees

101 Candidates Pass Exam in 1st Quarter 
 

The scores from the first quarter 2012 CPA examination administration window report that 101 Maryland candidates passed the exam during this period. During the first two months of testing, Maryland candidates took 951 exam sections, of which 418 resulted in a passing score.

 2012 1st Quarter Exams

CPA Exam Application Filings Continue
to Surge
 

Applications for candidacy for the CPA exam continue to exceed the historical average. Since October 1, 2011, the Board has received 531 applications for CPA Exam candidacy. In fiscal year 2011-2012, the Board has received 725 CPA Examination applications through March 31. This is a 25% increase in the number of examination applications received in fiscal year 2010-2011 during the same time period.

 

The increase in application filings is primarily attributable to the change in the law that reduced the criteria for qualifying for CPA Exam candidacy from a baccalaureate degree in accounting and 150 semester credits hours to a baccalaureate degree in accounting and 120 semester credit hours. To date, 42% of the applicants have qualified to take the exam while 58% of the applicants have met the education requirements for the examination and licensure.

 

Exam Applications 2005-2012
Maryland CPA Exam Applications
A Historical Perspective (2005-2012) 
Processing May be Temporarily Slowed Due to Increase of Applications
 

With spring semester graduations approaching, the Board expects to see an increase in the number of applications to be processed for exam candidates. In the past, the Board has received its largest volume of applications during the months of May, June and July. Nearly 40% of the examination applications each year are received during this period. During this peak period, it may take up to 120 days to process applications. Exam applicants can help the Board staff complete the process as quickly as possible by making sure their applications are accurate and complete.

How the Board Processes Exam Applications
 

The Board's staff tries to complete its evaluation of examination applications as soon as the applications are complete. The staff's ability to process an application depends on the applicant completing the application properly and completely, and the prompt delivery of transcripts sent to the Board by college registrars.

 

What constitutes a complete application?

 

1. Accuracy in completing the course checklist 

The course checklist shows you the subject matter and the number of courses or credit hours that are required to meet the requirements of the Group 1 - Accounting/Ethics and Group 2 - Business Courses. Applicants can match the courses that they have completed with the appropriate required course and category indicated on the checklist. If you are unsure whether a specific course is appropriate, check the Board's Approved Accounting Curriculum.

 

2. The Board's receipt of all transcripts 

The application must be supported by official transcripts from all of the colleges/universities for which course credit was earned, or any agency from which credit by examination was awarded. Transcripts from the following agencies must be sent to the Board and be reflected on your college/university transcripts to support your application:

 

  • AP (Advanced Placement)
  • CLEP (College Level Examination Program)
  • DANTES/DSST (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support)
  • ACE (American Council on Education)

Contact information for these programs can be found here. All of the transcripts must be sent directly to the Board. A student's copy of the transcript will not be accepted.

 

3. Foreign credentials evaluations 

An application by an individual who attended a college or university in another country must have all education reviewed by a foreign credentials evaluation service. At this time, the Board only accepts an evaluation of foreign education that is performed by members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). The NACES member service reviewing the education must perform a course by course evaluation to determine the US course and credit equivalent.

 

Avoid common application mistakes...

  • Do not apply for examination candidacy until you have graduated and have been awarded a baccalaureate degree. The first requirement of the law is that you have received a baccalaureate degree. At least one official transcript must indicate that you have been awarded a baccalaureate degree.
  • Take the time to read the instructions before beginning the application. Do not omit any information that is requested in the application. Do not try to take any shortcuts.
  • If your name has changed since you attended a college or university, please indicate your full name at the time you attended the educational institution. Most official transcripts omit a student's Social Security Number. The only identifying information on the transcript is your name.
  • Do not try to substitute a business law or other course for a three-credit hour course in ethics. The Board's requirement for an ethics course is a full three-semester credit course devoted exclusively to ethics. Courses titled "US Business Law," "Law and Ethics" or "Auditing and Ethics" are not acceptable to fulfill this requirement.
  • Individuals with foreign education cannot substitute a course in foreign income taxation to meet the requirement for a course in US Federal Income Taxation. 
  • If you have completed a course with a title that does not match the course titles listed in the Board's education requirements, submit a copy of the course description in the school's catalog and the syllabus used for the course. A course description and course syllabus from the academic year in which you completed the course is required.

For a complete list of the Board's education requirements, click here. 

 

Notification to Applicants 

 

Qualifying applicants are advised by email that they have been approved for CPA exam candidacy and are given instructions on how to register for sections of the Uniform CPA Examination. The Board sends a formal letter to applicants who have been denied. The letter advises them of their denial and lists the additional courses that the applicant must complete in order to meet exam qualifications. Applicants may file a written appeal or appear in person at a Board meeting to contest an application denial.

Executive Directors Attend NASBA Conference

2012 ED Conference
Photo Courtesy NASBA
Executive Director Dennis L. Gring participated in the 30th Annual Conference of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) in March. Shown (l to r) in front row are fellow executive directors Susan Somers (KS), Mr. Gring, Richard Carroll (KY), Josh Lief (VA Legal Counsel), and Wade Jewell (VA).

Conference attendees discussed a broad range of topics affecting the profession. They examined the use of cooperative interstate investigations and enforcement actions. They exchanged views on best operational practices and significant legal issues affecting the public accountancy industry. They also talked about the expansion of the international administration of the Uniform CPA Examination. Finally, they reviewed the use of CPAVerify to confirm the license status of individuals by state boards and members of the public.
Reporting Peer Review at Renewal Time
 

CPA licensees have to file a report concerning peer review each time they renew their licenses with the Board. Here's a primer on how to complete the peer review worksheet the next time you renew:

 

 Individual Renewals

 

Option 1. Many licensees do not provide certified public accountancy services to the public. A peer review is not required for licensees who work in private industry, or for state, local or federal government agencies. Sole practitioners who do not perform certified public accountancy services should also choose Option 1.

 

Option 2. Some licensees perform separate certified public accountancy services in addition to working for their primary employer. In such cases, two different peer review reports must be submitted. The first is the peer review that evaluates the licensee's moonlighting activity. The other is the peer review conducted for the firm. 

 

Option 3. CPAs who perform CPA services for a CPA firm have the opportunity to claim the benefit of the peer review performed for the firm. 

 

Option 4. If a firm permits a licensee to moonlight, and the licensee only provided certified public accountancy services outside the scope of employment, the licensee should choose Option 4.

 

Option 5. If the licensee is a sole practitioner in an organized CPA firm that performs certified public accountancy services, the choice is Option 5.

 

Firm Permit Renewals

 

Option 1. If a firm uses the CPA designation in its name, but does not perform certified public accountancy services that constitute peer review- mandated services, the choice is Option 1 on the firm permit renewal application.

 

Option 2. If the firm performs audits, attestations or compilations in accordance with standards issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the choice is Option 2.

 

If you are reporting a peer review you must provide the following information:

 

Individual Renewals

 

If you are taking benefit of your firm's peer review:

 

Name of the Firm

Firm Category

Firm Registration Number

 

If you are reporting your own peer review:

 

Peer Review Program

Date of Peer Review Acceptance Letter

Type of Peer Review (System or Engagement)

Note: If you have received a peer review but have not received a peer review acceptance letter from the program's administering entity, indicate a date within six months of the date of the renewal application.

 

Firm Permit Renewals

 

Peer Review Program

Date of Peer Review Acceptance Letter

Type of Peer Review (System or Engagement)

Note: If you have received a peer review but have not received a peer review acceptance letter from the program's administering entity, indicate a date within six months of the date of the renewal application.

 

For a list of Approved Peer Review Programs, click here. 

Email Scam Targets Maryland Licensees
 

In mid-February, the Maryland Board of Public Accountancy received an inquiry from a licensee who was sent a fraudulent email claiming her CPA license was being terminated for involvement in unlawful income tax refund activity. At first glance, the email appeared to be a legitimate communication from the AICPA, since it contained their logo and a link to a complaint that was allegedly filed against the licensee. But like most email scams, clicking on the link would have caused anything from unwittingly downloading a virus to providing the sender with the information necessary to commit identity theft.

 

Although the AICPA reports that their system was not compromised by the scam, it appears that the email caused confusion for numerous recipients. For that reason, the Board would like to remind licensees that it is the only authority that has the ability to discipline your CPA license. No trade organization has any jurisdiction over the standing of your State license. Further, the procedures for disciplining a licensee do not include sending blanket termination notices via email. Complaints are handled within a fully established procedure according to law, which includes an opportunity for a formal defense and appeal. 

 

Fortunately, the licensee who alerted the Board to the scam was not affected by clicking the link, because her employer's security system caught it and sent her multiple warning messages. But, to be on the safe side, it is never advisable to click on a link in an unsolicited email that asks for you to provide information about yourself or to take immediate action on some matter. If you have any questions regarding the standing of your Maryland license, please contact the Board at your earliest convenience.

Top Award Goes to Maryland Candidate
 

The Board would like to congratulate Michael Andrew Berryman, a 2010 recipient of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' (AICPA) prestigious Elijah Watt Sells Award. The national award is presented each year to ten CPA candidates who earn the highest cumulative scores on all portions of the Uniform CPA Examination on their first attempts. The Award program was established by AICPA in 1923 to honor Elijah Watt Sells, one of the first individuals to qualify as a CPA in New York State. Mr. Berryman's award is particularly noteworthy because the last time a Sells Award went to a Maryland candidate was in 2005. Mr. Berryman, a native of Westminster, graduated from the University of Maryland, Smith School of Business in May 2010. Congratulations, Michael!

Timetables for Releasing Scores Accelerated
 

NASBA and AICPA have accelerated their timetables for releasing scores for the Uniform CPA Exam to state boards of accountancy. The new schedule for reporting scores began on February 6, 2012, and so far the scores have been released according to a predictable timetable that includes more frequent reporting.  

 

The new timetable is as follows: for exams administered on Day 1-20 in the testing window, scores will be released 11 business days after Day 20. For exams administered on Day 21-45 in the testing window, scores will be released 6 business days after Day 45. Finally, for exams administered on Day 46-close of window, scores will be released 6 business days after the closing date.  

DIVISION PERSONNEL

Harry Loleas

Interim Commissioner, Occupational and Professional Licensing

Janet Morgan, Outreach Coordinator

 

BOARD MEMBERS

Thomas J. "Tim" Murphy, CPA

Chair, Industry Member

(Prince George's County)

Mac N. Claxton, CPA

Industry Member

(Prince George's County)

Elizabeth S. Gantnier, CPA

Industry Member

(Frederick County)

Clifton B. Jeter, CPA

Industry Member

(Montgomery County)

Ella H. Pierce

Consumer Member

(Baltimore City)

Naomi B. Powell

Consumer Member

(Prince George's County)

Raymond C. Speciale, Esq., CPA

Education Member (Frederick County)

 

STATE BOARD OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTANCY STAFF

Dennis L. Gring, Executive Director

Matthew A. Lawrence, Board Counsel

Linda L. Rhew, Administrative Officer

Bert Fenwick, CPE Consultant

Barbara Hardy, Office Service Clerk

Danyell Chase, Office Secretary

 


MDlogo

Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation / Maryland Board of Public Accountancy 

500 North Calvert Street / Baltimore, Maryland 21202