Accounting Malpractice Information

Professional malpractice law deals with the negligence or misconduct of attorneys, doctors, accountants, and any other professional person. Professional malpractice occurs when a person practicing his or her profession improperly performs duties of that profession and as result a mistake is made or someone is injured. A professional malpractice suit can be brought against any type of professional including Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), architects, dentists, doctors, attorneys, engineers, psychologist, etc.

A typical accounting malpractice suit alleges that the professional defendant was negligent. Negligence is conduct that falls below a legally established standard of care that must be met in order to protect others from an unreasonable risk of harm. The plaintiff in an accounting malpractice suit must show that the negligent defendant violated a reasonable standard of care, which typically means the level of care that is the customary or usual practice of other members in the accounting profession. If, for example, an accountant fails to file a client's tax return on time, that accountant has, through his or her carelessness, violated a basic standard of care. Few malpractice claims in accounting are as clear as the example.

The plaintiff in an accounting malpractice case typically must establish four key elements in order to recover. The key elements are:

  1. The plaintiff must show that the professional being sued had a duty to him or her.
  2. The plaintiff must prove that the professional breached that duty.
  3. The plaintiff must then show that he or she was injured.
  4. The plaintiff must establish that the professional's breach was the proximate cause of the injury. Proximate cause asks was the breach of duty sufficiently responsible for the injury so that the professional should be held accountable?

Finally, professionals typically have some type of professional standards that guide them in the course of performing their duties. The following are the CPA professional standards:

  1. The Public Interest - Persons using the CPA title shall accept the obligation to act in a way that will serve the public interest, honor the public trust, and demonstrate commitment to professionalism.
  2. Due Care - Persons using the CPA title shall comply with state law and the profession's technical and ethical standards, maintain competence and strive to improve the quality of services, and discharge professional responsibility to the best of the CPA's ability.
  3. Objectivity - Objectivity is to be maintained by persons using the CPA title. These persons shall:
  1. Avoid rendering professional services where actual or perceived conflicts of interest exist.
  2. Be independent in fact and appearance when providing auditing or other attestation services.

If you feel you have an accounting malpractice case or you have additional questions, please use the form below or click here to contact us.

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I understand that in visiting this site I am not entering into an attorney client relationship with Warren R. Trazenfeld, P.A., or any attorney within the law firm. The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

Copyright © 2005 Warren R. Trazenfeld