Ethics Investigation Responses and Filing Complaints
How to Respond to an Ethics Investigation
If you receive a letter from the TXCPA Professional Ethics Committee or the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) Professional Ethics Division informing you that a complaint has been filed against you alleging a possible violation of the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy (TSBPA) Rules of Professional Conduct and/or the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct, the following may be helpful:
- Review the rules of conduct that are the subject of the investigation (TSBPA Rules of Professional Conduct and/or the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct).
- The AICPA Joint Ethics Enforcement Program (JEEP) Manual of Procedures describes the procedures governing an investigation and is available to you upon request. The procedures describe your rights and obligations and those of the AICPA and state CPA society ethics committees in an investigation.
- Provide a substantive response to each question and include any additional information that you believe is relevant to the subject matter of the investigation. Include any evidence in support of your response.
- If you are uncertain of how to respond to a specific question, don't hesitate to contact the Professional Ethics Committee (email committee liaison or call 817-656-5100) or AICPA Professional Ethics Division for clarification.
- If you are unable to respond to the letter by the requested date (generally within 30 days of the date of the letter), call the Professional Ethics Committee or AICPA Professional Ethics Division and request an extension. Failure to respond within the required time period may constitute a failure to cooperate with the investigation and hence, a violation of the AICPA and/or TXCPA Bylaws.
- Most of all, remember that an ethics investigation is designed to gather facts and information to assist in determining whether or not there is evidence to support the allegations of violations of the TSBPA Rules of Professional Conduct or the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct. If there is insufficient evidence to support the allegations, the investigation will be closed.
How to File a Complaint
A CPA who fails to uphold the required standards of ethical conduct is subject to disciplinary action by the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy, as are TXCPA and AICPA members who violate the standards of those organizations.
The Professional Ethics Committee investigates complaints against TXCPA members. There is no form to complete. Send a detailed complaint along with any copies of supporting documents.
All letters of complaint should be mailed to:
Joe Hernandez, Chair, Professional Ethics Committee
Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants
729 Grapevine Hwy, Suite 221
Hurst, TX 76054
Email Committee liaison
The TXCPA will conduct an initial review of the complaint and, if necessary, an investigation of the matter in accordance with the procedures of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) Joint Ethics Enforcement Program.
Please note that the procedures of the Joint Ethics Enforcement Program require that an investigation be conducted in a confidential manner and that the results not be made public, with the following exceptions:
(a) if after investigation, the matter is referred to a hearing panel of the Joint Trial Board, and the panel finds one or more members guilty of violating the AICPA Code of Professional Ethics or the TSBPA Rules of Professional Conduct, or
(b) the investigation results in a settlement agreement involving membership rights (i.e. suspension or expulsion) and the member agrees to publication, the results will be published.
To determine whether an individual is a member of the TXCPA, please contact TXCPA Member Services at 800-428-0272, option 1.