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Frequently Asked Questions 

The following questions and answers address commonly raised Practice Advisory matters and have been provided for the general guidance of Members, Students and Firms.  As no two situations are identical, Members and Students are encouraged to contact a Practice Advisor at 416-962-1841 ext 4456, or 1-800-387-0735 ext 4456 for specific guidance related to their particular circumstances.  Each Member of CPA Ontario is responsible for ensuring that their own situation complies with the rules and bylaws. Where legal issues are involved, Members must contact their own legal counsel.  The practice advice provided is general in nature and given in the context of the Rules of Professional Conduct.  No two factual circumstances are identical.  Only legal counsel can provide legal advice.

FEES/ RATES

Q: I am in the middle of a fee dispute with one of my clients.  Where can I go for assistance?

A: CPA Ontario provides a fees mediation service free of charge when fee disputes arise between CPAs and their clients. Used wisely and in good faith, it can help the parties find fair solutions, efficiently and quickly. Access to this service may be initiated by either the CPA or the client, however, both parties must agree to the terms of the process. For more information on the process see Fees Mediation. [MARCH 2005][close]

Q: What are the standard rates for assurance services? For tax services?
A: CPA Ontario does not regulate rates or have fee guidelines.  Market rates vary by the level of experience of CPA(s) and other staff performing the service, the geographic location of the public accounting Firm and the type of service provided. [MAY 2005] [close]


FIRM NAME

Q: Can I use the abbreviation PC instead of Professional Corporation in my Firm name?

A:"Professional Corporation" cannot be abbreviated and must appear in full for an entity that is a Professional Corporation, in accordance with provision 3.2(2)3 of the Ontario Business Corporations Act. [MARCH 2005][close]


REPORTS ON FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

Q: Who in our firm can sign reports attached to financial statements? Must original signatures be used or can I use a stamp or electronic signature?

A: Every firm should have policies and procedures in place to ensure that the final product released by the firm complies with all professional standards and has been signed off by a Chartered Professional Accountant. In addition, the lead engagement person for an assurance engagement (e.g. audit or review), must be a licensed Public Accountant.[APRIL 2016][close]

Q: Can I send electronic financial statements to clients?

A: If you send electronic financial statements to clients you must ensure that the appropriate safeguards and controls are in place such that they cannot make changes to the financial statements.  For example, financial statements sent in pdf format can be password protected so as to prevent unauthorized changes from being made.  In addition, you must take steps to protect yourself from the unauthorized duplication and use of your professional letterhead and signature on the report. [MARCH 2005] [close]

Q: I am a sole practitioner practicing through a Professional Corporation, do I use “I” or “we” in professional communications?

A: It does not matter whether a sole practitioner practices on his or her own or through a Professional Corporation, any communication should use the word “I” as this refers to the one individual who is ultimately responsible for the activities conducted by the practice. [JULY 2005][close]