Simic v. Accountancy Board of Ohio, 102913 OHCP, CV 12 782489

Docket Nº:CV 12 782489
Opinion Judge:John P. O'Donnell, J.
Party Name:MICHAEL SIMIC, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. ACCOUNTANCY BOARD OF OHIO, Defendant-Appellee
Case Date:October 29, 2013
Court:Court of Common Pleas of Ohio
 
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MICHAEL SIMIC, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

ACCOUNTANCY BOARD OF OHIO, Defendant-Appellee

No. CV 12 782489

Court of Common Pleas of Ohio, Cuyahoga

October 29, 2013

JOURNAL ENTRY AFFIRMING THE ADMINISTRATIVE REVOCATION OF CPA CERTIFICATE AND FIRM REGISTRATION

John P. O'Donnell, J.

This case is an appeal by plaintiff Michael Simic from the accountancy board of Ohio's decision to revoke his personal certified public accountant certificate and firm registration.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

Michael Simic is an accountant who owns and operates Simic CPA & Company, an accounting firm in Parma. Both Simic and his firm are subject to the regulations and requirements of the accountancy board of Ohio, the state's overseer of the accounting profession.

The board recognizes two professional accounting credentials: the certified public accountant certification and the public accountant registration.1 To obtain either of these designations, candidates must complete a series of examinations and meet certain educational and experience thresholds. Due to both the professional prestige and public trust invested in those who obtain such certification, the use and display of both titles is strictly controlled. In order to use either designation, whether to perform or advertise regulated accounting services, an accountant must obtain an Ohio permit or an Ohio registration. Both are subject to triennial renewal, beginning on the date of original issuance.

Separate from these individual licenses, Ohio requires that all accountants practicing under the designation of CPA or PA register their accounting firms with the state and obtain a firm registration. Section 4701.04(B) of the Ohio Revised Code requires a certified public accounting firm's registration to be renewed triennially. Simic's firm registration had to be renewed by July 31, 2011, and he was reminded of that deadline by a letter from the board in early May. Simic did not renew his firm registration by July 31. Hence, as of August 1, 2011, he was violating R.C. 4701.04 by operating an unregistered firm.

The board sent Simic a letter dated September 29, 2011, notifying him that his firm registration had expired, and granting an extension until October 28 to renew his firm registration (subject to a late fee). Simic was instructed that failure to renew by October 28 would result in disciplinary proceedings against both the firm and the CPA certificates of the firm's owners, including him. He was also told to stop using the CPA designation. Despite the extension and the accompanying warning, Simic once again failed to renew his firm registration by the required date, and he continued to publicly advertise as a CPA.

On November 10, 2011, the board sent Simic a letter that notified him of its intent to pursue disciplinary action against him and repeating the demand to discontinue using the CPA designation. The letter also advised him of his right to request a hearing within 30 days of receipt. Upon receiving this notice of intended disciplinary action, Simic mailed a completed firm registration renewal form and a check in the amount of $180 to the board on December 2, 2011. In a letter dated December 20, the board returned Simic's check and informed him that it could not complete his firm registration renewal because his " materials arrived too late to process due to pending disciplinary action." 2 Despite this rejection, Simic once again submitted a completed renewal form and check to the board. On January 11, 2012, the board again denied Simic's...

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