Summary of Decision re: Optio Accounting Inc.

Summary of Complaint and Investigation

A complaint was initiated by former clients of the Respondent registered firm (“the Respondent Firm”) after they noticed there were excess charges made by the Respondent Firm to their credit card. They contacted the Respondent Firm in September 2020 to rectify the situation but were not reimbursed in full until March 2021.

The Investigation Panel imposed an interim restriction on one of the partners of the Respondent Firm, pending completion of the investigation.

During the investigation, the Respondent firm admitted the conduct alleged in the complaint.

Disposition

Following the investigation, the Investigation Panel determined that there is sufficient evidence that, if proven, would constitute professional misconduct, incompetence or conduct unbecoming warranting a registration sanction. It determined that it is in the public interest to resolve the matter with a consensual Reprimand and a Resolution Agreement with the Respondent Firm. The Respondent Firm is reprimanded for the conduct described above and has agreed to the sanctions described below.

Sanctions

The Resolution Agreement between the Investigation Panel and the Respondent Firm includes the following terms:

  1. The Respondent Firm consents to a reprimand;

     

  2. The Respondent Firm shall obtain prior written authorization from each client for each transaction it undertakes in payment of a client’s invoice;

     

  3. The Respondent Firm shall prepare a written policy respecting the correction of billing errors for approval by CPA Nova Scotia, to be submitted by December 30, 2022, and, upon receiving approval, shall distribute the policy to its clients;

     

  4. The Respondent Firm shall prepare a written plan respecting an arrangement for the continuity of service to its clients in the event of the inability of a partner to complete engagements due to illness or other absence, to be approved by CPA Nova Scotia; and

     

  5. A monitor is appointed to examine certain records of the Respondent Firm and conduct specific procedures on a monthly basis for a 12-month period and report the results of such review to CPA Nova Scotia and the Respondent Firm.