(1) A license to practice public accounting shall be granted by the board to any person:
(a) Who is of good character. Good character, for purposes of this section, means lack of a history of dishonest or felonious acts. The board may refuse to grant a license on the ground of failure to satisfy this requirement only if there is a substantial connection between the lack of good character of the applicant and the professional and ethical responsibilities of a licensee and if the finding by the board of lack of good character is supported by a preponderance of evidence. When an applicant is found to be unqualified for a license because of a lack of good character, the board shall furnish the applicant a statement containing the findings of the board and a notice of the applicant's right of appeal;
(b) Who has met the educational standards established by rule as the board determines to be appropriate;
(c) Who has passed an examination;
(d) Who has had one year of experience which is gained:
(i) Through the use of accounting, issuing reports on financial statements, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, tax advisory, or consulting skills;
(ii) While employed in government, industry, academia, or public practice; and
(iii) Meeting the competency requirements in a manner as determined by the board to be appropriate and established by board rule; and
(e) Who has paid appropriate fees as established by rule by the board.
(2) The examination described in subsection (1)(c) of this section shall test the applicant's knowledge of the subjects of accounting and auditing, and other related fields the board may specify by rule. The time for holding the examination is fixed by the board and may be changed from time to time. The board shall prescribe by rule the methods of applying for and taking the examination, including methods for grading examinations and determining a passing grade required of an applicant for a license. The board shall to the extent possible see to it that the grading of the examination, and the passing grades, are uniform with those applicable to all other states. The board may make use of all or a part of the uniform certified public accountant examination and advisory grading service of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and may contract with third parties to perform administrative services with respect to the examination as the board deems appropriate to assist it in performing its duties under this chapter. The board shall establish by rule provisions for transitioning to a new examination structure or to a new media for administering the examination.
(3) The board shall charge each applicant an examination fee for the initial examination or for reexamination. The applicable fee shall be paid by the person at the time he or she applies for examination, reexamination, or evaluation of educational qualifications. Fees for examination, reexamination, or evaluation of educational qualifications shall be determined by the board under chapter 18.04 RCW. There is established in the state treasury an account to be known as the certified public accountants' account. All fees received from candidates to take any or all sections of the certified public accountant examination shall be used only for costs related to the examination.
(4) Persons who on June 30, 2001, held valid certificates previously issued under this chapter shall be deemed to be certificate holders, subject to the following:
(a) Certificate holders may, prior to June 30, 2006, petition the board to become licensees by documenting to the board that they have gained one year of experience through the use of accounting, issuing reports on financial statements, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, tax advisory, or consulting skills, without regard to the eight-year limitation set forth in (b) of this subsection, while employed in government, industry, academia, or public practice.
(b) Certificate holders who do not petition to become licensees prior to June 30, 2006, may after that date petition the board to become licensees by documenting to the board that they have one year of experience acquired within eight years prior to applying for a license through the use of accounting, issuing reports on financial statements, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, tax advisory, or consulting skills in government, industry, academia, or public practice.
(c) Certificate holders who petition the board pursuant to (a) or (b) of this subsection must also meet competency requirements in a manner as determined by the board to be appropriate and established by board rule.
(d) Any certificate holder petitioning the board pursuant to (a) or (b) of this subsection to become a licensee must submit to the board satisfactory proof of having completed an accumulation of one hundred twenty hours of CPE during the thirty-six months preceding the date of filing the petition.
(e) Any certificate holder petitioning the board pursuant to (a) or (b) of this subsection to become a licensee must pay the appropriate fees established by rule by the board.
(5) Certificate holders shall comply with the prohibition against the practice of public accounting in RCW 18.04.345.
(6) Persons who on June 30, 2001, held valid certificates previously issued under this chapter are deemed to hold inactive certificates, subject to renewal as inactive certificates, until they have petitioned the board to become licensees and have met the requirements of subsection (4) of this section. No individual who did not hold a valid certificate before July 1, 2001, is eligible to obtain an inactive certificate.
(7) Persons deemed to hold inactive certificates under subsection (6) of this section shall comply with the prohibition against the practice of public accounting in subsection (8)(b) of this section and RCW 18.04.345, but are not required to display the term inactive as part of their title, as required by subsection (8)(a) of this section until renewal. Certificates renewed to any persons after June 30, 2001, are inactive certificates and the inactive certificate holders are subject to the requirements of subsection (8) of this section.
(8) Persons holding an inactive certificate:
(a) Must use or attach the term "inactive" whenever using the title CPA or certified public accountant or referring to the certificate, and print the word "inactive" immediately following the title, whenever the title is printed on a business card, letterhead, or any other document, including documents published or transmitted through electronic media, in the same font and font size as the title; and
(b) Are prohibited from practicing public accounting.
[2004 c 159 § 2; 2001 c 294 § 7; 2000 c 171 § 2; 1999 c 378 § 2; 1992 c 103 § 7; 1991 sp.s. c 13 § 20; 1986 c 295 § 6; 1985 c 57 § 3; 1983 c 234 § 7.]
| Effective date -- 2001 c 294: See note following RCW 18.04.015.|
Effective dates -- Severability -- 1991 sp.s. c 13: See notes following RCW 18.08.240.
Effective date -- 1985 c 57: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety, the support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect July 1, 1985." [1985 c 57 § 91.]