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CPA, Private Eye? Not in NY, Thanks to Society Legislative Win

Robert Busweiler
Published Date:
Aug 24, 2015

In June 2013, the New York Department of State quietly asserted, in a letter responding to a formal inquiry by a regional firm, that a CPA performing forensic accounting investigations in New York state needs to obtain another license--for a private investigator.

According to a state department attorney at the time, the services a forensic accountant provides to clients fell within the statutory scope of private investigation, thus the requirement for dual licensure.

That’s when the NYSSCPA began petitioning the legislature and for an exemption, said NYSSCPA Executive Director Joanne Barry.

“We knew that this was an issue that other states had encountered,” Barry said. “They resolved it by advocating for a carveout in their state law and we wanted to do the same before this became an issue for our members.”

 On Aug. 13, Gov. Cuomo signed into law a bill that amends the rules that govern private investigator licensure requirements to specifically exempt CPAs when they are engaged in the practice of public accountancy as defined in state law. The bill was passed unanimously by both the New York State Senate and Assembly on June 15. It was sponsored by Sen. Michael Venditto (R - Massapequa) and Assemblyman Robin Schimminger (D - Kenmore). Both legislators were immediately responsive to the Society’s outreach on this issue. 

Click here to see more of the latest news from the NYSSCPA.