The Registrar’s Office is currently experiencing a high volume of firm name pre-approval and firm registration applications. As a result, there may be delays in our processing and response time.
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How to Set Up a Public Accounting Practice
Learn the basics of opening your accounting practice
When to Set Up a Public Accounting Practice
If you are providing accounting services to the public or engaged in the practice of public accounting as defined in CPA Ontario's By-law, you must register your professional accounting practice with CPA Ontario. Providing accounting services to the public, or
The practice of public accounting is defined as "the provision of the services that require a public accounting
Providing accounting services to the public is defined in section 1.1.53 of the By-law and includes:
- The performance of any engagement addressed by standards in the CPA Canada Handbook - Assurance for which a
licenceis not required under the Public Accounting Act, 2004 to perform the engagement.
- Accounting that involves analysis, advice
andinterpretation in an expert capacity, but excluding record keeping.
- Taxation that involves advice and
counsellingin an expert capacity, but excluding mechanical processing of returns.
- Compilation services, if it can reasonably be expected that all or any portion of the compilation or associated materials prepared by the member providing the service will be relied upon or used by a third party, whether or not a
licenceis required under the Public Accounting Act, 2004.
- Such other services and activities as may be determined by the Council from time to time.
These types of services are often referred to as "public accounting". All references in the CPA Code of Professional Conduct to "public accounting" shall be read as though there were also references to "providing accounting services to the public" as defined in the By-law.
Who can set up an accounting practice?
Any member of CPA Ontario in good standing may register an accounting practice. Students and those who are awaiting their CPA designation or membership in Ontario must wait until they are members of CPA Ontario to begin the registration process. Retired members may still register and operate an accounting practice as long as they maintain their membership in good standing.
CPA Logo Usage
The CPA Logo is available for download and use only by firms that are registered and in good standing with CPA Ontario. The CPA logo is a certification mark, and the firm and its members may only use the CPA logo in compliance with our intellectual property licensing requirements. Firms can obtain the CPA Ontario logo by contacting FirmsandLicensing@cpaontario.ca.
*Note: Only the firm representative or a delegate they have appointed may access the CPA Logo License Agreement.
Firms that provide certain services are subject to inspection.
Are you ready for a practice inspection?
Learn more about them and how to prepare.
Opening a Public Accounting Practice 101
The allowable practice structures, registration
There are a number of requirements that must be met:
- Professional liability insurance must be obtained.
- The firm must be registered.
- Some services are subject to practice inspection.
- There is an annual due, referred to as the "Annual Practitioner Due".
Members will need to ensure that they are in compliance with the by-laws and regulations of CPA Ontario, as well as various other acts, and, accordingly, may need to consult with legal counsel.
Members are required to declare if they ever made an assignment in bankruptcy, been declared bankrupt or taken the benefit of any statutory provision for insolvency and provide all required documents.
Note: Prior to starting the registration process, members are permitted to request separate approval of a proposed professional practice name. Members should go to My Portal, select Obligations and Requests, and then Applications and Start New Application.
- The proposed practice name.
- The nature of the services being provided.
- The practice structure.
- The number of members, students, professional colleagues, and non-members involved with the accounting practice.
- The names of the members involved in the accounting practice.
Responses will be provided in writing (see CPA Code of Professional Conduct Rules 401 and 404 and related guidance concerning the use of firm names). The Registrar's pre-approval of a firm name shall remain valid for a period of 180
Free Customizable Client Brochure For Small and Medium Practices
Use this customizable brochure to market your CPA Firm to prospective and current clients. Designed to support your client retention efforts, this brochure has been developed by CPA Ontario and the Small and Medium Practices Advisory Committee to help promote CPAs and the unique value-added services they can provide.
The sample brochure is for illustrative purposes only and contains a CPA Ontario watermark. If your Firm is interested in using this brochure and would like a "clean" copy, please complete the Request for the Small and Medium Practices Brochure Form and send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Providing Services Requiring a Public Accounting Licence
If you are registering a firm that is performing public accounting services requiring a
- Assurance engagement (including an audit or review engagement).
- Any compilation engagement in respect of which it can be reasonably expected that the services will be relied upon or used by a third party and the prescribed wording for the notice to
readeris not used.
- The report is issued in Ontario or the work for the engagement is primarily performed in Ontario.
For more information regarding obtaining a public accounting
If you intend to perform public accounting services requiring a
Firm Applications and Requests
You can log into My Portal to make the following applications or service requests:
Registration and Updates (all Firms):
- firm application for registration.
- firm updates (name, structure)
- firm name pre-approval
- firm closure
- add/update related businesses
Professional Corporations Only:
- apply for a Certificate of Authorization
- request a Certificate of Authorization Cancellation
Professional Liability Insurance Coverage:
- professional Liability Insurance (PLI) Declaration
- discovery Insurance Declaration
- update Insurance Information