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Client Record Retention Guidelines for Minnesota CPAs

Complying with client record requests

Updated January 2020

Minnesota CPAs must follow the client record request requirements outlined in Minnesota Statute 326A.13 and in the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct. Section 1.400.200 of the Code directs practitioners to comply with the more restrictive rules and regulations of a CPA’s state board of accountancy, including the regulations regarding client record requests. Failure to comply with the more restrictive provisions of the applicable regulatory body’s rules would constitute an ethical violation.

Minnesota client record requests regulations

According to 326A.13, CPAs shall provide upon reasonable request:

a) A copy of the licensee’s working papers, to the extent that they include records that would constitute part of the client’s records and are not otherwise available; and 

b) Any accounting or other records belonging to, or obtained from or on behalf of, the client for their account. Copies of these documents may be retained when they form the basis for work done by the licensee.

326A.13 and the Code of Professional Conduct

Due to the more restrictive language in Minnesota Statute, certain sections of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct are, in effect, overridden by 326A.13.

Outstanding fees. Section 1.400.200.04 of the Code allows CPAs to withhold client records if fees are due for the specific work product. However, Minnesota Statute does not permit the withholding of client records merely because there are outstanding fees. In accordance with the Code, a client’s records may be withheld if the work product is incomplete, if for purposes of complying with professional standards, or if threatened or outstanding litigation exists concerning the member’s work.

Working papers. Section 1.400.200.07 states that working papers are the member’s property, and the member is not required to provide such information to the client. Minnesota Statute does not distinguish between the CPA’s working papers and member-prepared records for the client. Therefore, in accordance with 326A.13(b), CPAs must comply with a client’s request for working papers to the extent they include records that would constitute part of the client’s record. 

All other guidance outlined in 1.400.200 should be followed accordingly.

Related resources

What are your record retention rights? This Footnote article breaks down when to comply with client record requests.

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CPA practices for sale: Search the classified ads for firms for sale.