§ 5-3.1-5. Certified public accountants.
(a) Upon application for a certificate and payment of the required fee, the board shall issue a certificate to any person who:
(1) Is of good moral character;
(2) Has a principal residence in Rhode Island as defined in § 5-3.1-3 or a primary place of employment in Rhode Island;
(3) Has received a baccalaureate degree from a college or university acceptable to the board, the total educational program of which includes an accounting concentration or its equivalent and courses in any related subjects that the board determines to be appropriate; provided, the education requirement for a certificate, shall be at least one hundred fifty (150) semester hours of college education, including a baccalaureate or higher degree conferred by a college or university acceptable to the board, the total educational program of which includes an accounting concentration or equivalent as determined by board rule to be appropriate; provided, that a candidate who has not met the one hundred fifty (150) hour education requirement may sit for an examination if the candidate has, at the time of the examination, completed not less than one hundred twenty (120) semester hours of education, provided that such candidate who successfully passes the examination will not be eligible to receive a certificate until the applicant completes the one hundred fifty (150) hour education requirement and the experience requirement;
(4) Has passed examinations in accounting and auditing and any related subjects that the board deems appropriate and specifies by rule;
(5) [As amended by P.L. 2001, ch. 336, § 1.] Has one year of experience in providing any type of service or advice involving the use of accounting, attest, management advisory, financial advisory, tax or consulting skills all of which was verified by a licensee, meeting requirements prescribed by the board by rule. This experience would be acceptable if it was gained through employment in government, industry, academia or public practice. After December 31, 1999, the person must also have completed one hundred fifty (150) hours or received a master's or doctorate degree in accounting, business administration, or other related curriculum from a college or university recognized by the board; and have satisfactorily completed any number of semester hours in accounting, auditing, and other business courses that are prescribed by board rules and regulations; and
(6) If an out of state individual:
(i) Has passed all parts of the uniform certified public accountant examination in another jurisdiction, but has not received a certificate or similar certification in that jurisdiction;
(ii) Has established a principal residence in Rhode Island or a primary place of employment in Rhode Island preparatory to seeking a certificate from this state;
(iii) Has complied with the longer of:
(A) The experience requirement in the jurisdiction in which the uniform examination was taken; or
(B) The Rhode Island experience requirement;
(iv) Has complied with the educational requirements under subdivision (3) of this subsection; and
(v) Has satisfactorily complied with any other requirements that the board by rule or regulation reasonably determines to be appropriate.
(b) The board, in its discretion, may accept the educational credits of any person who is a candidate for a certificate if it is satisfied, by appropriate means of evaluation, that the credits are an acceptable substitute for the credit requirements of subdivision (a)(3) of this section. The board, in its discretion, may waive the residency or primary place of employment requirements relating to the issuance of a certificate as stated in subdivisions (a)(2) and (a)(6) of this section.
(c) The examinations described in subdivision (a)(4) of this section are held by the board and shall take place as often as the board determines to be desirable, but in any event not less frequently than once each year. The board shall prescribe by rule the procedures to be followed in applying for and conducting the examinations and the methods to be used in grading the examinations and determining a passing grade. The board may make this use of any or all parts of the uniform certified public accountant examination and advisory grading service provided by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and may contract with third parties to perform any administrative services with respect to the examinations that the board deems appropriate to assist it in performing its duties under this section.
(d) The board may, by rule or regulation, provide for the granting of credit to a candidate for the satisfactory completion by the candidate of an examination in any one or more of the subjects referred to in subdivision (a)(4) of this section which is given by the licensing authority in any other state. Any rules and regulations shall include the requirement that any examination approved as a basis for the granting of credit is, in the judgment of the board at the time of the granting of the credit, at least as thorough as the most recent examination given by the board in the subject or subjects tested. The board may also, by rule or regulation, prescribe terms and conditions under which a candidate who passes the examination in one or more of the subjects referred to in subdivision (a)(4) of this section may be reexamined in the remaining subjects, with credit given for the subjects previously passed. It also may provide by rule or regulation for a reasonable waiting period for a candidate's reexamination in a subject previously failed. Subject to the preceding and to any other rules and regulations that the board may adopt governing reexaminations, a candidate is entitled to any number of reexaminations. Except as the board may provide by a rule or regulation in order to prevent what it determines to be undue hardship to candidates, a candidate granted credit for satisfactory examination in any one or more of the subjects referred to in subdivision (a)(4) of this section shall have met the educational requirement of subdivision (a)(3) or (a)(5) of this section in effect on the date of the examination by which the candidate successfully completes the examination under subdivision (a)(4) of this section.
(e) The board shall charge each candidate for a certificate a fee for the initial examination under subsection (a) of this section, for reexamination under subsection (d) of this section for each subject in which the candidate is reexamined, and for evaluation of a candidate's educational qualifications under subsection (b) of this section. The applicable fee shall be paid by the candidate at the time of application for the examination, reexamination, or evaluation. Fees for examination, reexamination, and evaluation of educational qualifications shall be determined by the board and prescribed in the rules and regulations issued by the board. The liability of the board to a candidate taking an examination or reexamination is limited to the amount of the fee received for the examination.
(f) Persons who on July 1, 1995, hold a certificate issued under the laws of this state prior to that date are not required to obtain an additional certificate under this chapter, but are subject to all the provisions of this chapter; the certificate previously issued is, for all purposes, considered a certificate issued under this chapter and subject to the provisions of this chapter. Reinstatement power is vested in the board as to those certificates suspended or revoked prior to July 1, 1995, and the holder of those certificates may have them reissued upon application for reissuance in accordance with § 5-3.1-15. Persons holding certificates on July 1, 1995, who are estopped from obtaining a permit under government employment restrictions may apply for a permit under § 5-3.1-7 within one year following termination of that employment, and upon obtaining the permit may engage in the practice of public accounting in this state as a certified public accountant subject to the provisions of this chapter.
(g)(1) The board shall, upon application for a certificate and payment of a fee to be determined by the board and promulgated by rule or regulation, issue a certificate to a holder of a certificate issued by another state, provided that:
(i) The applicant meets all current requirements in this state at the time application is made; and
(ii) At the time of the issuance of the applicant's certificate in the other state, the applicant met all requirements then applicable in this state unless reciprocity is allowed under the substantial equivalency standard in § 5-3.1-7.
(2) If the holder of a certificate issued by another state meets all current requirements in this state except the educational or experience requirements of this state as prescribed in this section, or passed the examination under different credit provisions then applicable in this state, the board shall issue a certificate to the applicant upon application for the certificate and upon payment of the required fee, provided that:
(i) The applicant has four (4) years of experience of the type described in subdivision (a)(5) or meets comparable requirements prescribed by the board by rule within the ten (10) years immediately prior to the application; or
(ii) The applicant has five (5) years of experience in the practice of public accountancy over a longer or earlier period and has completed fifteen (15) current semester hours of accounting, auditing, and any other related subject that the board specifies by rule, at an accredited institution, and has one year of current experience in the practice of public accountancy.
(h) An applicant for issuance of a certificate under this section shall list in the application all other states in which the applicant has applied for or holds a certificate. Each applicant for or holder of a certificate issued under this section shall, within thirty (30) days of the occurrence of that event, notify the board, in writing, of the issuance, denial, revocation, or suspension of a certificate by any other state, or of the commencement of a disciplinary or enforcement action against the applicant or holder by any other state.
(i) The board may refuse to grant a certificate on the grounds of failure to satisfy the good moral character requirement only if there is a substantial connection between the lack of good moral character of the applicant and the professional responsibilities of a licensee and if the finding by the board of lack of good moral character is supported by clear and convincing evidence. When an applicant is found to be unqualified for a certificate because of lack of good moral character, the board shall furnish the applicant a statement containing the findings of the board, a complete record of the evidence upon which the determination was based, and a notice of the applicant's right of appeal.
(P.L. 1995, ch. 159, § 2; P.L. 1998, ch. 80, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 249, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 336, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 225, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 238, § 1.)