Fingerprints may be needed for your California CPA license renewal starting in 2014

Your 2014 CPA license renewal in California may require getting your fingerprints taken.  If the board doesn’t already have a set of your prints in their files, you will be making a trip to a Live Scan facility before your next renewal.

Yeah, I know.  More requirements.  Go ahead and complain. I’ll wait.




Feel better?  Good.

Like it or not, make a mental note you may have another one-time step involved with your next renewal. 

The following article is reprinted with permission of the California Board of Accountancy.


In our last issue of UPDATE, we informed you about CBA Regulation Section 37.5, which requires criminal background checks for all licensees who have not previously submitted fingerprints as a condition of licensure, or for whom no electronic record of the licensee’s fingerprints exists within the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) criminal offender record identification database. This background check is a condition of license renewal after December 31, 2013.

To further assist you in becoming familiar with this requirement, provided below are some of the most FAQs we receive. To view the full list of FAQs, please visit faqs/index.shtml.

Q: Why is the CBA requiring CPAs to submit fingerprints?

A: The CBA’s mission is to protect consumers. In conjunction with this mission and to ensure consumers are receiving services from qualified practitioners, it is necessary for the CBA to be informed of past and current criminal convictions that are related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the accounting profession.

Q: How will I know if I must submit fingerprints?

A: The CBA will send you a letter notifying you of the requirement. If you receive a letter and intend on renewing your license in an active status, you must undergo fingerprinting.

Q: How do I go about completing the fingerprint requirement?

California Residents

A: As a California resident, you will need to submit fingerprints via Live Scan. Your notification letter will include a Request for LiveScan Service form. Take the completed form to a Live Scan location. You may view a current list of Applicant Live Scan locations on the DOJ website at

Out-of-State Residents

A: As an out-of-state resident, you will need to submit your fingerprints via hard card. Included with your notification letter will be a fingerprint hard card. Only hard copy fingerprint cards furnished by the CBA will be accepted. Once your fingerprints are completed, mail the unfolded cards directly to the CBA at the address below.

  • California Board of Accountancy
  • 2000 Evergreen Street, Suite 250
  • Sacramento, California 95815-3832
  • Attn: Fingerprint Unit

Q: Do I need to wait until my license renewal is due before being fingerprinted?

A: No. You may complete the fingerprint requirement at any time prior to the expiration of your license.

Q: I was fingerprinted by my employer, school, or other state agency. Do I still need to submit fingerprints to the CBA even though my present employer (school, other state agency) already required me to be fingerprinted?

A: Unfortunately, yes. By law, fingerprint records are specific only to the requester and cannot be shared with others.

Q: What will happen if I do not submit fingerprints to the CBA?

A: Your license renewal application will be incomplete and ineligible for renewal. In addition, failure to submit fingerprints on or before the date required for renewal of your license is grounds for discipline by the CBA.

To stay current with all CBA activities, including updated information regarding the fingerprint requirement, follow us at,, or sign up at

Just a thought after reading the disciplinary actions in the current newsletter about a few people getting sanctions for some rather, um, severe problems, shall we say, in their past.  If you have some …. ah … issues in your past that the board sort of doesn’t know about, self-disclosure now might be a really good idea instead of waiting ’till the board runs your prints and finds out about that DUI or other problem you thought you had behind you.

Just a wild idea, but things often go better when you volunteer bad info.

Full disclosure: The California Board of Accountancy is the regulatory agency with oversight of my CPA practice. The above article, quoted verbatim, is reprinted with permission of the Board.  The editorial comments and feeble attempts at humor are mine.

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