32-744 - Ownership and custody of working papers and records
32-744. Ownership and custody of working papers and records
A. All statements, records, schedules, working papers and memoranda prepared by a registrant or a partner, shareholder, officer, director, member, manager or employee of a registrant incidental to or in the course of rendering professional services to a client while a registrant are and shall remain the property of the registrant, except:
1. In the case of an express agreement between the registrant and the client to the contrary.
2. The reports submitted by the registrant to the client.
3. Records that are part of the client's records.
B. Without the consent of the client or the client's personal representative or assignee, no statement, record, schedule, working paper or memorandum may be sold, transferred or bequeathed to anyone other than surviving partners, stockholders or members or new partners, new stockholders, new members of the firm or any combined or merged firm or successor in interest to the firm.
C. On request with reasonable notice, a registrant shall timely furnish to a client or former client:
1. A copy of the registrant's working papers, to the extent that the working papers include records that would ordinarily constitute part of the client's records and are not otherwise available to the client.
2. Any accounting or other records belonging to, or obtained from or on behalf of, the client that the registrant removed from the client's premises or received for the client's account. The registrant may make and retain copies of these documents if they form the basis for work done by the registrant.
D. A registrant or firm shall maintain all records pertaining to any legal action initiated against the registrant or firm for a period of three years after the resolution of the action. On request, the registrant or firm shall timely furnish all records pertaining to the legal action to the board. For the purposes of this subsection, "legal action" means any civil or criminal lawsuit or state, United States territory or federal administrative proceeding where the allegations against the registrant or firm are violations of accounting or auditing standards or that result from negligence, gross negligence or reckless conduct, dishonesty, fraud, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty or the suspension or revocation of the right to practice before the federal securities and exchange commission, the internal revenue service or any other state, United States territory or federal agency.
E. Except as provided in subsection D of this section, this section does not require a registrant to keep any work paper beyond the period prescribed by any other applicable statute.