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Complaints and Board Investigations

This page contains information that may be of primary value to members of the public who are users of financial information. The Board welcomes suggestions regarding the presentation and organization of this information, additional topics of interest, and how this page may be more useful to the general public or to licensees.

Following are the procedures employed by the Accountancy Board ("Board") to expedite complaints against individuals or firms licensed with our agency. You should verify an individual's or firm's license status with the Board before filing a complaint.  There are some firms which provide accounting, tax preparation, or consulting services that are not required to be licensed by the Board. No legal action can be taken by the Board against these firms, unless these firms advertise as CPA firms or as public accountants. It is illegal for an unlicensed person or firm to operate as a certified public accountant, public accountant, or public accounting firm.  The Board's enforcement manual (PDF) outlines the general procedures the Board follows during investigations.

  • Complaints must be submitted in writing.
  • You may use our complaint form (PDF) for this purpose.
  • The complaint must contain the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all parties to the complaint, including the complainant. Complaints and supporting documentation may be filed by electronic mail or fax, but originals of these documents may be required by the Board at a later date.
  • The details and events leading to the complaint, as well as any supporting documentation, should be included. If the complaint is a fee dispute, you must have an engagement letter (contract between the complainant and the CPA) that specifies a fee or fee range and invoices that violate the engagement letter's terms. The mere fact that some CPAs charge more than others, or some CPAs provide better service for the same fee than others, is not sufficient grounds for filing a complaint with the Board.
  • All complaints are the property of the Board. Investigative files, by statute, are not public records.
  • Complaints are processed in the order received. Complaints which are sent to the Board by express delivery do not have priority once received in our offices.
  • Note: Complaints submitted anonymously or hypothetically are given due consideration. If the complaint is of such a nature that the complainant's identity is not relevant to the complaint, the Board can act as the complainant.
  • The Board does not give legal advice. All requests for legal interpretations of fact situations that are not specifically covered in the accountancy law or Board rules should be forwarded to an attorney.
  • The complainant will be given written notification of complaint that has been received and the complaint status as events warrant.
  • All complaints are processed by initially determining the extent of the Board's legal jurisdiction in the matter. It is possible that a particular complaint is outside the Board's jurisdiction. In such a case, we cannot take action and we will inform the complainant of this fact. Many cases that involve fee disputes or related monetary issues, claims of criminal wrongdoing not related to the practice of public accounting or the accountancy law, and violations of employment contracts or covenants not to compete are outside the Board's jurisdiction and should be pursued with the appropriate courts. The Board does have an interest in the outcome of civil or criminal proceedings against CPAs, and if a civil action is filed against a CPA we would appreciate being informed of the results of such action.

All complaints should be sent to: John E. Patterson, Executive Director, Accountancy Board of Ohio, 77 South High Street, 18th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215-6128.

Persons who wish to find out about a particular CPA should select the links under the section Find a CPA/Firm/Sponsor.

The Board's disciplinary actions are in the process of being posted on the NASBA Accountancy Licensing Database.