Although the Board’s new fingerprinting requirement may seem like an annoyance, both individuals and firms are putting their Texas licenses at risk by failing to comply. In September 2019, the Texas Public Accountancy Act was amended, requiring Texas licensees and non-CPA firm owners to submit a set of fingerprints so the Board can obtain criminal history record information. See §901.169. The Board amended its rules to implement this requirement.
Even stricter is the Board Rule that expressly states that a firm “office license shall not be issued until the sole proprietor, all partners, officers, directors, members or shareholders of the firm, including non-CPA firm owners…have been fingerprinted…” Id. §515.2(b). In other words, if a firm fails to ensure all owners, including non-CPA owners, have been fingerprinted before the firm’s annual license renewal, the Board could (and arguably should) deny the renewal, which would likely result in a period of time when the firm’s Texas license is expired.
The Act and Board Rules adopted these fingerprinting requirements over a year ago; therefore, theoretically, all licensed individuals and non-CPA owners should have been fingerprinted prior to their most recent individual and firm license annual renewals. However, according to statistics shared during the Board meeting, over 16,000 Texas CPAs and 172 non-CPA owners have yet to complete the fingerprinting process. See Board Meeting Agenda, Item VIII. In fact, it was noted during the Board meeting that there is at least one large accounting firm with none of its non-CPA owners in compliance. If you fall under this category, Hedrick Kring is available to help you take action!