How to respond to subpoenas

CPA firms are often uncertain about whether or how to respond to a subpoena, as they also need to comply with a number of rules and regulations that are intended to protect client confidentiality. The following Q&A focuses on understanding the nature of subpoenas and how CPA firms can minimize their professional liability exposures when responding to them.

What is a subpoena?

The New 'Hosting Services' Interpretation

Under the new "Hosting Services" ethics interpretation in the AICPA's Code of Professional Conduct (ET §1.295.143), effective July 1, 2019, CPA independence is impaired by taking responsibility for hosting a client's data or records. As such, if the only way that the client can access its complete records is through the CPA firm, the CPA firm's independence is deemed impaired.

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Latest Articles

  • 18 Feb

    Practice Continuation for Small Firms

    By Suzanne M. Holl, CPA

    No one likes to think about it, but as we age, some of us will become critically ill or injured, and some of us will experience a long-term disability. Family emergencies and obligations can also call CPAs away from their businesses for long pe... read more

  • 18 Feb

    Indemnification: Understanding Your Risks

    By Suzanne M. Holl, CPA

    CPA firms are experiencing an uptick in clients trying to embed indemnification and/or hold-harmless clauses in various agreements with the firms. Many of the clauses are inappropriate for CPA services or are overly broad, even to the point of... read more

  • 18 Feb

    Client Assessment Checklist

    By Suzanne M. Holl, CPA

    Any client, whether new or established, can become problematic for a variety of reasons. For example, a problem client may—

    • be unhappy with the results of an engagement, though there was nothing wrong with the services... read more