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Firm permit renewal is a very big deal

BOA Business

Anne Janotta Erickson, MNCPA membership marketing team leader | November 2021 Footnote

Editor's note: Updated October 29, 2021

From 10,000 feet, it could be easy to disregard the importance of renewing your firm’s permit. It’s a permit, after all. How big of a deal could it really be?

Firm permit renewal is a very big deal. Allow that last sentence sink in. Now, continue reading to understand why firm permit renewal must be top of mind each and every year.

Why the fuss?

CPA firms are required to hold a valid firm permit. No ifs, ands or buts.

Without a permit, a firm cannot operate or advertise as a CPA firm, nor perform compilations, audits or other attest services. In short, a CPA firm without a firm permit cannot do its job, putting its livelihood at risk.

Firm permit specifics

The good news is that firm permit renewal is a manageable process, provided you stay in the know regarding the Minnesota Board of Accountancy’s (BOA) annual renewal deadlines for firms and individual CPAs.

Note that we said both firms and individual CPA certificate holders.

You see, a firm’s permit is connected to individual CPA certificate renewal. CPAs who are firm owners (this includes partners, shareholders, members, managers, directors and officers) must renew and report individually in order for the firm’s permit to be renewed.

By Dec. 31:

Two-thirds of a firm’s owners must have properly renewed their individual CPA certificate. Expect your firm’s permit application to be returned if two-thirds of your firm’s owners have not properly renewed.

By March 1:

Sixty days later, all firm owners must have renewed their individual CPA certificate.

What happens March 1?

The Minnesota BOA automatically revokes firm permits on March 1 if the firm employs even one CPA owner who did not renew properly. 

BOA staff does not have the authority to reinstate a revoked firm permit. This can only be done through the action of the BOA’s board. This involves issuing a public order, which can only happen when the board holds a meeting. There are approximately eight BOA board meetings every year.