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Professional Practice FAQs

Accountant

Disclaimer: Please be advised that the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services provides this information as a public service for general reference only. It is not the duty of the Department of Safety and Professional Services to answer practice questions. This web page does not constitute a legal opinion that may bind the Board or the Department of Safety and Professional Services. We encourage readers to review all statutes, regulations, and other materials for an accurate statement of their contents, or to contact private counsel for further guidance on the issue.

*Please note that the below does not constitute a complete listing of questions received relating to the practice of your profession, but only those asked with the greatest frequency.

  1. What are attest services?
  2. When is a CPA certificate required to practice accounting?
  3. What are the differences between a client's records and a CPA's records?
  4. When is a CPA not required to practice accounting?
  5. Can a CPA withhold financial records from a client until the client pays the CPA?
  6. May a CPA do work for an unlicensed firm?
  7. Does Wisconsin have a 150-hour education rule?
  8. May a person take the accounting examination if he or she does not have a degree in accounting?
  9. If a person holds a CPA license in another state, does that person need a license to practice in Wisconsin?
  10. May a CPA charge a contingent fee or receive a commission or referral fee?
  11. Does a felony conviction prevent a person from becoming a CPA?
  12. What is the Wisconsin peer review requirement?
  13. When does the Department require a firm license?
  14. May a CPA firm be owned by a person who is not a CPA?
  15. If a firm adds a new partner, does that firm need to apply for a new license?
  16. If one of the owners of the CPA firm is not a CPA and the names of non-CPA owners may not be used in the firm name, are we allowed to use the term "and company" in the name to identify that other firm owners exist?
  17. Does a sole proprietor need to obtain a firm license?
  18. May a sole proprietor use a name that suggests multiple shareholders (ex. James and James)?
  19. Does a licensee need to obtain a new license if he or she changes the name of the accounting firm?
  20. Does a CPA firm outside of Wisconsin need a firm license if it has licensed Wisconsin CPAs and/or Wisconsin clients?
  21. May a CPA have ownership in more than one firm?
  22. If a partner in a CPA firm invests in a business operation with clients of that firm, does that violate the AICPA rules of independence?
  23. What type of experience is equivalent to public accounting?

Additional Resources

Please go return to the Profession page for additonal resources.

Still Need Help

If you are unable to find an answer to your question in the FAQ or through the resources provided on this page, you may submit your question to the Department. Given the limited resources of the Department of Regulation and Licensing, we will only answer questions about the scope of your practice as a licensed professional. Questions on the following topics will not be answered:

If you have a FAQ or comment, email us at: Accountant Profession FAQ