Frequently Asked Questions
What address should I use to send mail to you?
For standard delivery mail:
SC Board of Accountancy
PO Box 11329
Columbia, SC 29211
For FedEx or UPS:
SC Board of Accountancy
110 Centerview Dr.
Columbia, SC 29210
Who do I make my check out to?
Please make the check out to the SC Board of Accountancy.
I am applying for licensure in another state, but I am licensed in SC or took the CPA exam as a SC candidate. How can I have a license verification/grade transfer/letter of good standing sent to the state I am applying to?
How do I file a complaint?
- When will I receive my renewal notice?
- Will the Board of Accountancy send out any reminders for licensees who have not renewed?
During the renewal period, the Board sends out 3 to 5 reminder emails to licenses who have not yet renewed.
Licensees are responsible for updating their contact information with the Board. Current contact information on file with the Board is used to send reminders. If your information needs to be updated, click here.
- How do I renew my license?
Renewal is a two-step process:
- Complete the renewal form and pay your fees online
- Upload your completed CPE reporting form and any self-study certificates using the document submission link provided on page one of the reporting form.
- What is the deadline for license renewal?
- What if I don't renew my license on time?
If your license is not renewed by February 15 at 11:59pm, you must complete and submit a reinstatement application, obtain a criminal background check, pay the $95 renewal fee, and pay a $500 reinstatement fee.
State law prohibits you from holding out as a CPA until your reinstatement application is approved. Using the CPA title when your license is lapsed subjects you to additional penalties and disciplinary action by the Board.
If extenuating circumstances prevent you from renewing your license on time, you must contact the Board no later than January 15 to determine if you qualify to come before the Board to request special consideration before the February 1 renewal deadline. If your request is not heard at the Board meeting in January, the earliest your request can be heard is the April Board meeting. If you continue to practice or hold yourself out as a CPA without a valid license or while your license is lapsed, you may be subject to disciplinary action, as well as additional penalties.
- What is the deadline for firm registration renewal?
- Can my firm have non-CPA owners?
Yes. Your firm can have non-CPA owners, but the majority of the firm's ownership (at least 51%) must be held by CPAs who are currently licensed in some state.
All owners must be active individual participants in the firm.
- Must my firm's designated resident manager be a CPA?
Firms with more than one office in South Carolina must have a designated resident manager for each office, and each designated resident manager must hold a South Carolina CPA license.
- What responsibility does a firm's resident manager have for non-CPA owners in their office?
The designated resident manager is responsible for ensuring that all non-CPA owners:
- Comply with all applicable accountancy statutes and regulations.
- Are of good moral character and do not engage in any conduct that, if committed by a licensee, would constitute a violation.
- The designated resident manager must also submit CPE reports for all non-CPA owners who are SC residents by February 1 of each year. The report must show that the non-CPA owners have completed the same number of CPE hours as licensed CPAs, including the annual 2 hours of ethics CPE.
- What if my firm hires a CPA who is licensed in another state?
If you hire someone who is a CPA in another state to work in and/or from your South Carolina office, they must have a South Carolina CPA license before they can hold out as a CPA in South Carolina. (Be careful how you advertise. Remember, "holding out" means listing "CPA" after someone's name. Make sure you are not "holding out" for someone who is not yet licensed as a South Carolina CPA.)
- May I employ a person whose license has been revoked or suspended?
No, see S.C. Code Ann. Regs. 1-10(C) (2023).
Licensees and firms should take care when they enter into the practice of accounting with another licensee or firm or former licensee or former firm to ensure that their credentials are valid and not revoked or suspended.
Licensees and firms can use https://cpaverify.org/ to verify credentials and should also check with the appropriate state's Board of accountancy.
The Board urges licensees and firms to document how they confirm the validity and status of credentials and that they re-verify credentials periodically, such as on a yearly basis.
- If I'm a sole proprietor or just do some work on the side, do I need to register a firm?
There are two circumstances that require a sole proprietor or someone working on the side to register a firm:
- If you have set up a firm, the name of which contains "CPA" or "Certified Public Accountant", you must register your firm;
- If you provide attest or compilation services, you must register your firm.
- Do I need to designate a responsible party who will assume responsibility for client records in my absence?
- What are the rules and requirements on returning client records?
The Accountancy Practice Act includes definitions of:
- Client Records S.C. Code Ann. § 40-2-20(5) (2022)
- CPA-prepared records S.C. Code Ann. § 40-2-20(7) (2022)
- CPA work papers S.C. Code Ann. § 40-2-20(8) (2022)
- CPA work products S.C. Code Ann. § 40-2-20(9) (2022)
- Electronic files S.C. Code Ann. § 40-2-20(12) (2022)
S.C. Code Ann. § 40-2-190 (2022) provides parameters for the disclosure and release of client records.
- What is the requirement for ethics CPE?
Two of the required 40 hours of CPE must be in ethics for each annual reporting period. Effective with calendar year 2022, the Board ceased requiring a specific South Carolina ethics course. Licensees may fulfill the annual two-hour requirement with any behavioral or regulatory ethics course(s) that meet(s) the requirements of S.C. Code Ann. Regs. 1-08 (2023).
- How do I report my ethics CPE which I took as self-study?
The annual CPE reporting form is currently being revised to accommodate reporting self-study ethics courses.
- What are the ethics CPE requirements for South Carolina CPAs whose principal place of business is not in South Carolina?
If you are a South Carolina licensee, but your principal place of business is outside of South Carolina, you may use the ethics course for that state - if that state requires an ethics course - to fulfill the South Carolina requirement. However, if you don't hold an active license in the state which is your principal place of business, you must comply with South Carolina's ethics requirement.
- How much CPE can I carry over each year?
Licensees may carry over up to 20 hours of CPE each year. However, licensees who are in Retired status may carry over only 10 hours, see S.C. Code Ann. § 40-2-275 (2022).
- How long do I keep my CPE records?
Per S.C. Code Ann. Regs. 1-08(A)(3)(c) (2023) Licensees are responsible for accurate reporting of the appropriate number of CPE hours earned and should retain appropriate documentation in their files for five (5) years.
- Do webinars count as live CPE?
Webinars count as live CPE when they meet the requirements of the South Carolina regulations, in addition to meeting the following requirements:
- The webinar must be interactive. A good example of this is that the participants can ask the presenter questions and the presenter responds to the participants questions.
- Presenters must require participants to respond periodically to confirm that the participant is still viewing the webinar.
Static or passive rebroadcasts of webinars that are not interactive do not qualify for CPE credit.
- Do I need to enroll in peer review?
If you provide any of the services described in S.C. Code Ann. Regs. 1-09(A) (2023), you must enroll in peer review upon the issuance of the first report provided to a client. S.C. Code Ann. Regs. 1-09(A) (2023) states "As a condition of firm registration and/or renewal..., a licensed firm providing any of the following services to the public shall enroll in a qualified peer review program.
- Reviews of financial statements;
- Compilations of financial statements;
- Examinations of prospective financial statements;
- Compilations of prospective financial statements;
- Agreed-upon procedures of prospective financial statements;
- Examination of written assertions; and
- Agreed-upon procedures of written assertions."
- Do I need to send my peer review report to the Board?
- What is the CPA Emeritus designation?
A CPA may apply for the designation of CPA Emeritus if they do not perform or offer to perform for compensation services involving the use of accounting or auditing skills, including issuance of reports on financial statements or of one or more kinds of management advisory, financial advisory, or consulting services or the preparation of tax returns or furnishing of advice on tax matters. Licensees with the CPA Emeritus designation may provide services as a CPA on a volunteer basis as long as those services would not normally be subject to peer review.
A licensee with the CPA Emeritus designation must renew their license annually, but no fee or CPE is required.
- What is the CPA Retired designation?
CPAs who meet the following requirements may apply for the designation of CPA Retired:
- 30 years of licensure in South Carolina or in a substantially equivalent jurisdiction
- 55 years of age in a prior license year
- Work no more than an average of twenty hours per week
- Do not offer attest services or compilation services
- Where do I apply to take the CPA exam?
Apply to sit for the CPA exam at National Association of State Boards of Accountancy website at this link: http://nasba.org/exams/cpaexam/southcarolina/
- How can I send my transcripts to you?
Transcripts must be sent directly to the Board by your college or university.
Email transcripts to: email@example.com
Mail transcripts to: SC Board of Accountancy PO Box 11329 Columbia, SC 29211
- Do you have a transcript evaluation form?
Yes, you may download it here.
- What colleges will the Board of Accountancy accept college credits from?
In accordance with S.C. Code Ann. § 40-2-35(D) (2022), the Board accepts credits reported on transcripts from any college or university holding an accreditation from an accreditation body approved by the United States Department of Education. The accrediting bodies are listed at https://ope.ed.gov/dapip/#/agency-list.
In accordance with S.C. Code Ann. § 40-1-640 (2020), the Board also accepts education, training, and experience completed by an individual as a member of the military.
- How long does it take for my application to sit for the exam to be processed?
Your application to sit for the exam is not complete until all required items have been received.
Once all the required documentation is received and the application is complete, it can take 4-6 weeks to process the application.
- How should I answer the question on the application regarding whether I have been convicted of, pled guilty or nolo contendere to a felony that has an element of dishonesty or fraud or any other crime that has an element of dishonesty or fraud, under the laws of the United States, of this State, or of any other state if the acts involved constitute a crime under state laws?
An applicant should answer "yes" to this question if they have any criminal history, other than a minor traffic offense, from any year, in any jurisdiction, and submit an explanation of the charge(s) along with documentation showing disposition of the matter(s).
The background check we require is both statewide and national and is not limited in time. Any criminal offense, no matter, how minor or how long ago, requires a "yes" answer.
If an applicant has any doubts about how to answer this question accurately, they should answer "yes" and provide an explanation, or they should contact Board staff for clarification PRIOR to completing and submitting their application. Answering "no" where a criminal history exists could result in your having to appear before the Board and could delay issuance of your license.
- Do I need a license to practice accounting?
S.C. Code Ann. § 40-2-30(A) (2022) states that "it is unlawful for a person to engage in the practice of accountancy as regulated by this Board without holding a valid license or registration or without qualifying for a practice privilege pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 40-2-245 (2022)."
S.C. Code Ann. § 40-2-20 (23) (2022) states that the "'Practice of accounting' means:
- Issuing a report on financial statements of a person, firm, organization, or governmental unit or offering to render or rendering any attest or compilation service. This restriction does not prohibit any act of a public official or public employee in the performance of that person's duties or prohibit the performance by a non-licensee of other services involving the use of accounting skills, including the preparation of tax returns, management advisory services, and the preparation of financial statements without the issuance of reports; or
- Using or assuming the title 'Certified Public Accountant' or the abbreviation 'CPA' or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviation, sign, card, or device tending to indicate that the person is a Certified public accountant."
- I'm already licensed as a CPA in another state. Do I need a South Carolina CPA license to practice accounting in South Carolina?
If your principal place of business is in South Carolina, you must obtain a South Carolina CPA license before you begin practicing or holding out in South Carolina.
- When do out of state firms need to apply for an out-of-state firm registration?