The Board of Accountancy (Board) was established by Laws 1919, Chapter 57. Statutory authority for the Board is found at A.R.S. §§32-701 et seq.
The purpose of the Board is to “protect the public from unlawful, incompetent, unqualified or unprofessional certified public accountants or public accountants through certification, regulation and rehabilitation” (A.R.S. §32-703). The Board consists of seven members, appointed by the Governor, and must be residents of this state. Five members must be Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and two are public members, who do not hold certificates but who have professional or practical experience in accounting and finance. Board members serve terms of five years. The Board annually elects a president, secretary, and treasurer from among its members (A.R.S. §32-702).
The Board has many powers and duties, including issuing certificates to qualified applicants, establishing and maintaining high standards in the practice of accounting, and adopting procedures and rules concerning examination. The Board may also investigate complaints filed with the Board or on its own motion, and adopt procedures for disciplinary actions, hearings, and decisions (A.R.S. §32-703).
The Board was established in 1919 to regulate the practice of certified public accounting in Arizona. The Board originally consisted of three members, appointed by the Governor for staggered terms of three years. The Board had the power to determine the qualifications of people applying to become certified public accountants (CPA), to administer the examination, to waive the examination for qualified applicants, to decide whether to recognize CPA certificates from other states, to revoke a certificate, to prosecute people falsely claiming to be certified, and to prosecute certified CPAs who falsify records and audits. See Laws 1919, Chapter 57.
Laws 1922, Chapter 35, §149 required all fees and moneys received by the Board to be paid into the State General Fund. Additionally, all expenses, salaries, and costs incurred by the Board were to be paid from the General Fund. The sections relating to the Board were codified in the 1928 Arizona Revised Code, Chapter 58, Article 5, sections 2527 through 2532.
Laws 1933, Chapter 45, repealed Article 5 of Chapter 58 of the 1928 Revised Code and enacted a new Chapter 58, Article 5, establishing the Board of Accountancy. The reenacted Board consisted of five members, appointed by the Governor, for staggered terms of five years. Board members were also required to be citizens and residents of the state, a CPA under the Act or otherwise qualified according to law. This law reorganized Article 5 which defined the term “CPA”; provided that information acquired by accountants was considered confidential; and added more detail on examinations, waiver rules and procedures. These sections were codified at Chapter 58, Article 5, §§2527 through 2532 in the 1934 Supplement to the 1928 Revised Code.
Laws 1939, Chapter 89, authorized the recompilation of the Revised Code of 1928. In the 1939 Revised Code, the sections relating to the Board were renumbered; however, no substantive changes were made in the language of the statutes.
Laws 1949, Chapter 85 banned the use of any title or designation that may be confused with the title “Certified Public Accountant.”
Laws 1955, Chapter 15 added the “Public Accountants’ Advisory Committee” to advise the Board in matters affecting public accountants. The Committee consisted of four practicing public accountants, appointed by the Governor to four-year terms. The law renumbered several sections and added two new sections that prescribed ownership and custody of statements and working papers, and grandfathered those persons who were certified under previous law by providing a limited exemption from certification requirements.
Laws 1956, Chapter 129 authorized the publication and revision of the Arizona Revised Statutes by West Publishing. This caused the sections dealing with the Board to be renumbered.
Laws 1960, Chapter 68, defined the term “board,” provided for removal of Board or Committee members, required the Board to keep records of its proceedings, stated those records were admissible in court and required partnerships of certified public accountants and public accountants to register.
Laws 1970, Chapter 119, §14 stated that professional corporations shall be subject to the same requirements as certified public accountant partnerships.
Laws 1972, Chapter 146, removed the requirement to be 21 years old to become a CPA or Public Accountant.
Laws 1973, Chapter 130, changed the membership of the Board. Instead of having five CPAs, the Board would have four CPA members and one public member who serve 5-year terms. The law also required CPA applicants to be at least 18 years old.
Laws 1979, Chapter 109, amended A.R.S. §32-722 to add the requirement that applicants to become Public Accountants must be at least 18 years old. Additionally, this allowed the Board to request the Attorney General to bring actions to recover civil penalties imposed by the Board.
Laws 1980, Chapter 175, removed the designation “Public Accountant” and stated that after July 1, 1980, “the Board shall not issue a new certificate or otherwise qualify a person as a Public Accountant except as reinstatement after revocation of a certificate.” This meant that, going forward, the Board could only issue certificates for full CPAs.
Laws 1984, Chapter 55, §2, stated that the Board would have five CPA members and one public member, for six total members. Additionally, reciprocity was no longer granted for certificates from foreign countries.
Laws 2003, Chapter 82, repealed and renumbered several sections, and added new sections to replace the repealed sections. The law increased the Board to seven members, consisting of five CPAs and two public members. The term of office remained five years. The law also extended reciprocity to once again include certificates issued by foreign countries.
Laws 2013, Chapter 136 addressed certification requirements; the Uniform CPA Examination; limited reciprocity; fees; and revocation and reinstatement of certificates for individuals and firms.
Laws 2014, Chapter 136 modified regulations and qualifications pertaining to CPAs.
Laws 2015, Chapter 207 addressed CPA qualifications; certificate and registration status; and partnerships.
- Arizona Revised Code, Chapter 58, Article 5, §§2527-2532 (1928)
- Arizona Revised Code, §§67-601 et seq. (1939)
- Arizona Revised Statutes
- Session Laws
- Laws 1919, Chapter 57
- Laws 1922, Chapter 35, §149
- Laws 1933, Chapter 45
- Laws 1939, Chapter 89
- Laws 1949, Chapter 85
- Laws 1955, Chapter 15
- Laws 1956, Chapter 129
- Laws 1960, Chapter 68
- Laws 1970, Chapter 119
- Laws 1972, Chapter 146
- Laws 1973, Chapter 130
- Laws 1979, Chapter 109
- Laws 1980, Chapter 175
- Laws 1984, Chapter 55
- Laws 2003, Chapter 82
- Laws 2013, Chapter 136
- Laws 2014, Chapter 136
- Laws 2015, Chapter 207
Related collections at Arizona State Archives
- RG 7 – Board of Accountancy