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FAQs - Public Accounting Licensing 


  

Questions relating to the Regulatory Landscape

Background

Q 1: What is CPA Ontario’s role in issuing licences?

A: CPA Ontario has been granted authorization by the Public Accountants Council (“PAC”) to license members who have fulfilled the requirements established by the Public Accounting Act, 2004 and the PAC Standards. Accordingly, we are the licensing body responsible for regulating CPA Ontario licensees, for granting and renewing licences as well as for suspending and revoking licences.

For more information on the Regulatory Landscape, please refer to the following link: http://www.cpaontario.ca/Public/PublicAccountinginOntario/1011page4797.aspx

Questions relating to Member & Firm

Membership in CPA Ontario does not in and of itself entitle a member to be licensed to practise public accounting in Ontario. Licensure can be obtained by the submission of a separate application form, and entails additional requirements to be met above and beyond membership requirements in order to obtain and maintain a public accounting licence. Furthermore, in order for a member to be eligible to apply for a PAL, prerequisite requirements must have been met which include "the educational, study, practical experience and examination requirements." Applications are presented to the Public Accounting Licensing Board (“PALB”) as they have the power to decide on applications from members for public accounting licences (“PAL”). If you are granted a licence by the PALB you will have full public accounting practice rights in Ontario.

When is a Public Accounting Licence Required?

Q 1: When is a public accounting licence required to be held by a member?

A: A public accounting licence is required when you are a person engaged in the practice of public accounting and

  • you are the lead engagement person responsible for signing the report or statement issued in respect of any:
  • assurance engagement (including an audit or review engagement), or
  • 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 reader is not used; and
  • the report is issued in Ontario or the work for the engagement is primarily performed in Ontario.



 A public accounting licence is not required if you

  • are not the lead engagement person responsible for signing the report or statement. Members of the engagement team or who are otherwise involved with or may directly influence the outcome of the engagement, including the quality control review partner, are not required to be licensed;
  • do not provide any assurance services (including audit or review engagements) but do provide such other services that may include: compilations 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 reader is used, taxation, accounting, internal audit, controllership, insolvency services, or business advisory services.


Please refer to the following link for examples of when a public accounting licence is required. Please note this link contains content which may refer to outdated report referencing numbers, however, the premise of each example remains applicable as to when a member must be licensed: Public Accounting Licence Requirements for Assurance Engagements Specified in CPA Handbook - Assurance (May 2009) (revised May 2009) lists various sections of the CPA Handbook -Assurance and states for each whether or not the practitioner or lead engagement person must be licensed in order to perform such engagements.

Q 2: Currently, I only provide accounting, taxation or compilation services but do not do any assurance engagements. Do I need to be licensed?

A: A public accounting licence is not required if you do not provide any assurance engagements (including auditing or review engagements) and restrict your practice to providing accounting, taxation or compilations in respect of which it can reasonably be expected that the services will be relied upon or used by a third party and the prescribed notice to reader is used. 

Please be reminded that pursuant to Regulation 4-6, Section 9, a firm engaged in the practice of public accounting, providing accounting services to the public or carrying on a related business or practice must be registered and be in good standing with CPA Ontario. Furthermore, a firm must maintain professional liability insurance coverage and provide CPA Ontario with satisfactory proof of such insurance on an annual basis. In addition, the practitioner is subject to payment of the Annual Practitioner Fee. Practitioners who provide compilation engagements with the prescribed notice to reader are also subject to practice inspection by CPA Ontario, even though a public accounting licence is not required. See Bylaw 1.1.31  for the definition of “providing accounting services to the public”.

Q 3: What individuals within a firm need to be licensed in order to provide public accounting services?

A: Council Guideline No. 2007-2, enacted by the Public Accountants Council under the provisions of the Public Accounting Act, 2004, and Regulation 9-1, section 15 require that only the lead engagement person responsible for signing a statement or report for a public accounting engagement must be licensed as a public accountant. Other members of the engagement team, including the quality control reviewer or other experts may be, but are not required to be, licensed as public accountants in Ontario.

Q 4: What individuals within a professional corporation need to be licensed in order to provide public accounting services?

A: If the professional corporation is established for the purposes of providing public accounting services, at minimum one shareholder is required to hold an active licence pursuant to Regulation 4-6, section 19. Furthermore, a professional corporation is required to hold an active certificate of authorization if the professional corporation intends to practise public accounting. To apply for a certification of authorization, Form 4-6D must be completed.

Within a professional corporation structure, the lead engagement persons on public accounting engagements performed are still required to be licensed.

If a professional corporation is a partner of a firm, the shareholders of the professional corporation would not be required to maintain a public accounting licence in their capacity as shareholders. However, if the professional corporation is responsible for an assurance engagement and the engagement opinion, statement or report is signed by the professional corporation, then the professional corporation has taken the role of the lead engagement person. In that case, a shareholder of the professional corporation would need to individually hold a public accounting licence. In addition, the professional corporation would be required to hold a certificate of authorization.

For further details, please refer to the PC FAQ at the following link: http://www.cpaontario.ca/FirmsATOs/Registrations/ProfessionalCorporation/1011page1622.pdf  

Q 5: Is it required that other members of the engagement team, including those from practices such as tax or information systems, be licensed by CPA Ontario as public accountants?

A: No, a public accounting licence is not required if you are not the lead engagement person responsible for signing the report or statement. Members of the engagement team or those who are otherwise involved with or may directly influence the outcome of the engagement (including the quality control review partner) are not required to be licensed.

Q 6: Is the engagement quality control review partner required to be licensed by CPA Ontario as a public accountant? An engagement quality control reviewer may be located outside Ontario or, in some cases, outside of Canada because of their experience and industry knowledge.

A: The engagement quality control reviewer is not required to be licensed as a public accountant in Ontario by CPA Ontario.

Applying for a new Public Accounting Licence

Q 1: Who can apply for a new public accounting licence?

A: A member in good standing of CPA Ontario, who has met the licensure eligibility requirements and who has never held a public accounting licence or previously held a public accounting licence but that licence has lapsed or expired, is eligible to apply for a new public accounting licence, pursuant to Bylaw 9.3 and Regulation 9-1, upon:

  1. completing Form 9-1A (Public Accounting Licence – New Application Package) and paying the non-refundable application fee (plus HST)
  2. satisfying the Public Accounting Licensing Board of good character;
  3. completing the Practising Public Accounting Declaration;
  4. completing the Practice Inspection Requirement; and
  5. completing either the Professional Experience Requirement or the Current Competency Requirement.

Q 2: What is the Practising Public Accounting Declaration?

Members are required to register a firm and/or professional corporation with CPA Ontario or be employed on the roster of a firm/professional corporation registered with CPA Ontario and providing public accounting services as a member of the engagement team or as the member of the firm who is responsible for the engagements (the lead engagement partner). This declaration must be completed in order for you to obtain and maintain your public accounting licence with CPA Ontario.

Q 3: I am a CPA, CMA or a CPA, CGA. Can I apply for a public accounting licence?

A: A member in good standing of CPA Ontario (whether a legacy CMA, CGA  or CA) who has never held a public accounting licence will be able to apply to CPA Ontario for a new public accounting licence when the member has met the educational, study, practical experience, examination and other requirements, as set out in the bylaws and regulations of CPA Ontario. At the current time (June 2016) discussions are ongoing between CPA Ontario and the Public Accountants Council of Ontario about new pathways to becoming eligible for licensure in cases where approved legacy pathways are no longer available. Members will be provided with an update once more information is available.

While the outcome of these discussions cannot be foretold, one of the fundamental principles of unification is that existing standards would be maintained.

One of the key requirements is obtaining substantial practical public accounting experience. Members interested in applying for a public accounting licence should be aware of the current Qualifying Experience Requirement: 

  • A minimum of prescribed public accounting experience in an Approved Training Office as defined in Regulation 6-4 or in an external audit pre-approved program pursuant to the current CPA Practical Experience Requirements (PER), which experience shall be completed under the supervision of a member who is licensed to practice public accounting; and
  • The experience must include a minimum of:
    • 1,250 chargeable hours in assurance services, of which at least:
      • 625 chargeable hours shall be in the audit of historical financial information; and
      • 100 chargeable hours of review procedures in review and other assurance engagements; and
    • 100 chargeable hours in taxation services; and
    • the requirements of the audit stream of the current CPA Practical Experience Requirements (PER).

 

Q 4: Where can I find the application form to apply for a new public accounting licence?

A: Please complete Form 9-1A (Public Accounting Licence – New Application Package).

Q 5: Is there a fee to apply for a new public accounting licence? What is the applicable fee amount?

A: Yes, there is a fee that must accompany your application for a new public accounting licence. Please refer to section ‘Licensing fees and Other Fees’ for further details.

Q 6: Am I able to submit the same CPD information I submitted for my membership obligation?

A: Only CPD taken in activities directly related to the competencies necessary to provide public accounting services are able to be submitted for consideration for meeting the CPD requirement for licensure. If CPD obtained for purposes of meeting your membership obligation is not in activities directly related to the competencies necessary to provide public accounting services, you will be required to obtain additional CPD in order to meet your CPD obligation for licensure.

Q 7: I am a newly qualified member and would like to apply for a licence. Do hours accumulated from attending the School of Accountancy and/or the Staff Training Program qualify towards my mandatory three-year Continuing Professional Development requirement?

A: Yes. These hours qualify as verifiable Continuing Professional Development for the purposes of licensure and may be counted toward the mandatory CPD requirements, provided these hours were obtained within the immediate past three years.

Q 8: My practice is a newly registered practice and therefore has not previously been “practice inspected”, although it is subject to practice inspection. As a result, I cannot provide the date of an inspection report – what should I indicate on the public accounting application?

A: You should indicate that the practice is new and has not yet been inspected when completing the Public Accounting Licence New Application Package (Form 9-1A). You are eligible to be granted a licence if you have satisfied the Public Accounting Licensing Board (“PALB”) that you have successfully completed all other requirements pursuant to section 2 of Regulation 9-1. The licence would be granted on the condition that the firm or practising office receives a successful practice inspection within 12 months following the date of firm registration.

Q 9: What is the reporting period for the Professional Experience Requirement for a new public accounting licence application?

A: For a new public accounting licence application, the reporting period for the Professional Experience Requirement (submitted in Form 9-1A Schedule A – New PAL Experience Certification Report) is for the immediate past five years from the date of application and may include calendar years pursuant to Regulation 9-1, section 1.9. Please be reminded that as part of the requirement of Practice Inspection program and pursuant to Regulation 9-1, section 4A, you must track and keep a record of hours charged to clients.

Q 10: I’m a newly qualified member. Can I apply for a public accounting licence?

A: As outlined in Q1 under section Applying for a new Public Accounting Licence, a member in good standing of CPA Ontario, who has met the prerequisite licensure requirements and who has never held a public accounting licence or previously held a public accounting licence but that licence has lapsed or expired, is eligible to apply for a new public accounting licence. The application form to apply for a public accounting licence may be accessed at Public Accounting Licence New Application Package (Form 9-1A). All requirements as outlined in Q1 must be met.

In addition to the requirements outlined in Q1 under the section Applying for a new Public Accounting Licence, if you qualified for membership subsequent to October 31, 2006, you are also required to meet the Qualifying Experience Requirement, which means you must have successfully completed while a student:

  • A minimum of prescribed public accounting experience in an Approved Training Office as defined in Regulation 6-4 or in an external audit pre-approved program pursuant to the current CPA Practical Experience Requirements (PER), which experience shall be completed under the supervision of a member who is licensed to practice public accounting; and
  • The experience must include a minimum of:
    • 1,250 chargeable hours in assurance services, of which at least:
      • 625 chargeable hours shall be in the audit of historical financial information; and
      • 100 chargeable hours of review procedures in review and other assurance engagements; and
    • 100 chargeable hours in taxation services; and
    • the requirements of the audit stream of the current CPA Practical Experience Requirements (PER).

 

Q 11: What can I do if I do not meet the public accounting licensing requirements as outlined in section 2 of Regulation 9-1?

A: The Public Accounting Licensing Board (“PALB”) has been given the authority to grant and deny applications for public accounting licences from members. However, the PALB cannot issue or renew a public accounting licence unless the member meets all the requirements as set out in Regulation 9-1, sections 2 through 4. Please note, the circumstances in which the PALB has the ability to exercise discretion is limited. Refer to Section 6 of Regulation 9-1 and Form 9-1A (Section D4. Professional Experience Requirement – Special Consideration) for further details.

Renewing my Public Accounting Licence

Q 1: I currently hold a valid public accounting licence. How can I renew my public accounting licence?

A: As noted on your current and active public accounting licence certificate, your licence expires on an annual basis, and therefore must be renewed annually. An application to renew your licence must be done by not later than 30 days prior to the date of the expiry of your current and active licence. Failure to renew your licence will result in your inability to practise public accounting in Ontario. Please be reminded that the public accounting licence reporting period runs from November 1 to October 31 of the following year.

In order to be eligible to apply to renew your public accounting licence, you must be a member in good standing of CPA Ontario, hold a valid public accounting licence, and pursuant to Bylaw 9.4 and Regulation 9-1, have successfully completed the following:

  1. the application for licence renewal and paying the non-refundable renewal application fee (plus HST), and such application is made by not later than 30 days prior to the expiry date of the licence;
  2. Practising Public Accounting Declaration;
  3. the Continuing Professional Development Requirement;
  4. the Practice Inspection Requirement; and
  5. the Professional Experience Requirement.

 

Q 2: What is the reporting period for the Professional Experience Requirement with respect to renewals of public accounting licences?

A: The reporting period for the Professional Experience Requirement is for the immediate past five years from the date of application and may include calendar years pursuant to Regulation 9-1, section 1.9. Please be reminded that pursuant to Regulation 9-1, 4A and also as part of the requirement of Practice Inspection program, you must track and keep a record of hours charged to clients.

Q 3: I am a managing partner in the regional (or national) office of my firm, which limits the time spent on assurance engagements. Will I be able to renew my licence?

A: As a managing partner in the regional (or national) office of a firm, you are still required to meet the renewal requirements for a public accounting licence, as set out in Section 3 of Regulation 9-1.  The Public Accounting Licensing Board may be able to exercise discretion when deciding on applications to renew a public accounting licence if the member has met all the requirements under section 3 of Regulation 9-1 and is only deficient with regard to meeting the Professional Experience Requirement. To have the PALB consider your renewal application under discretion, you must submit a separate memorandum detailing your specific situation. It is advised that you familiarize yourself with section 6 and section 7 of Regulation 9-1.

Please be reminded that a licensed member who is renewing his or her licence may be able to, as part of fulfilling the Professional Experience Requirement, obtain a portion or all of the Professional Experience Requirement through “documented hours”. “Documented hours” acquired as a result of participating in a recognized capacity in providing public accounting services can be included as part of the eligible hours requirement for purposes of meeting the Professional Experience Requirement to renew your PAL. Documented hours are hours acquired in a public accounting practice through the provision of public accounting services described in clauses 1.10.1, 1.10.2 or 1.10.4 of Regulation 9-1 and which have not been charged to clients.

Professional Experience Requirement – Completing the Public Accounting Licensing Certification Report

For further questions of this nature you are encouraged to contact CPA Ontario’s Practice Advisory Group. Call (416) 962-1841 x 4456 or 1-800-387-0735 x 4456 or e-mail practiceadvisory@cpaontario.ca

Q 1: Does time spent i) preparing tax returns, independently or in conjunction with the performance of assurance and compilation engagements in order to assemble the tax provision, or ii) time spent on corporate tax returns or iii) time spent on GST/HST returns qualify as "eligible hours"?

A: No. Time spent in the preparation of tax returns does not qualify under eligible hours. Only hours in ‘taxation services related to assessing the appropriateness of taxation provisions and related financial reporting’ as defined in Regulation 9-1(1.5.1) (and as per the definition of designated services within taxation in Part B of the public accounting licensing certification report within Form 9-1A) are considered eligible hours that can be claimed as part of the required Professional Experience Requirement of obtaining a minimum of 2,500 hours. More specifically, hours obtained in ‘taxation services related to assessing the appropriateness of taxation provisions and related financial reporting’ are eligible to count towards obtaining the 1,250 hours in designated services.   

Q 2: Does time spent providing tax consulting, tax planning, expert tax advice, etc. qualify as "eligible hours"?

A: This time does not qualify under eligible hours. Only hours in ‘taxation services related to assessing the appropriateness of taxation provisions and related financial reporting’ as defined in Regulation 9-1(1.5.1) (and as per the definition of designated services within taxation in Part B of the public accounting licensing certification report within Form 9-1A) are considered eligible hours that can be claimed as part of the required Professional Experience Requirement.

Q 3: Does time spent assembling a financial statement for personal income tax returns (e.g. statement of business activities, statement of real estate rentals) qualify as eligible compilation hours under Part A of the public accounting experience certification report? Note that these schedules may be part of a “GIFI” filing; the disclosure wording may be embedded in the software.

A: No.Time spent in the preparation of tax returns does not qualify under eligible hours. In this scenario, the hours obtained are not eligible, since the assembly of the financial statements for personal income tax return is being prepared for a specific user, in this case, CRA. CRA is not considered to be a third party pursuant to the Public Accounting Act, 2004 as this work does not demonstrate a reasonable expectation that all or any portion of the compilation or associated materials will be relied upon or used by a third party.

Q 4: When can a practitioner reasonably expect third parties to rely on or use the compilation or associated materials in order to determine if the work performed meets the public accounting experience requirements?

Third party reliance is a matter of professional judgment. Practitioners should discuss with their clients whether third parties could be reasonably expected to use or rely upon any portion of the compilation or associated materials, and they should document this discussion. Questions to consider in this discussion may include:

  • Is there any external financing that does or could require reliance on financial statements?
  • Do suppliers ask for financial statements as part of the negotiation for credit terms?
  • Are there prospects regarding the sale of the business that could result in reliance upon these materials?

Please remember that CRA is not considered to be a third party. A tax return electronically filed with CRA with a Notice to Reader embedded in the software will likely not qualify in this respect, unless a third party also receives this filing.

Q 5: I prepare several compilations for specific users (e.g. CRA). Would these hours qualify under public accounting services in Part A of the public accounting experience certification report?

A: No, only compilation services qualify under public accounting services in Part A of the Professional Experience Requirement, if it can reasonably be expected that all or any portion of the compilations or associated materials prepared by the person providing the services will be relied upon or used by a third party would qualify as providing public accounting services. If the financial information is only being prepared for a specific user such as CRA, it is not considered to be a third party as per the Public Accounting Act, 2004.

Q 6: I (or my firm) charge clients on a "value billing" (or "fixed amount") basis and do not specifically track chargeable hours for any clients for which such services are provided. I can theoretically estimate how many hours I work during the year, and the proportion of the time that was spent providing assurance type service and can provide CPA Ontario with an estimate of such hours. Will this be acceptable?

A: In order to ensure consistency and reliability of the hours reported to CPA Ontario, members who provide services for which the clients are charged on a value billing (or fixed amount) basis must track and report the actual hours they spend on such engagements.

Q 7: Do quality control services (engagement file quality reviews and monitoring services) qualify as providing assurance services for the purpose of meeting the Professional Experience Requirement?

A: For quality control services (conducted in accordance with assurance standards as outlined in the CPA Canada Handbook-Assurance) to qualify as assurance services for the purpose of meeting the public accounting licensing Professional Experience Requirement (Part A of the Experience Certification Report), such services must have been provided in a recognized capacity with a public accounting practice. Note, however, that a public accounting licence is not required in order to provide these services.

Public Accounting Licence Currently Not Held

Q 1: Currently, I do not hold a public accounting licence because I only provide assurance services for a charity (or a church, temple, mosque, or synagogue) for which I do not receive any fee or other reward. Am I required to hold a public accounting licence to perform such services?

A: Members of CPA Ontario who provide public accounting services without reward, under certain conditions, are exempted by Ontario Regulation 238/05 from the requirement to be licensed. Such conditions are: a member must be independent of the person for whom the services are being provided and be insured against professional liability.

Insurance requirement for members providing public accounting services without reward
To assist members who provide assurance services without reward for small charitable and not-for-profit organizations, CPA Ontario Council has approved the establishment of a policy to provide insurance coverage at no cost to such members, providing they register with CPA Ontario and meet certain prescribed terms and conditions. One of the conditions is that each organization for which assurance services are provided without reward have an annual gross revenue from all sources of $100,000 or less.

To obtain details on the terms and conditions of qualifying for such coverage under CPA Ontario’s policy and to register for coverage, please complete and submit an application form.

Members who provide assurance services without reward for organizations that have annual gross revenue in excess of $100,000, or who otherwise do not meet the prescribed terms and conditions, must obtain their own insurance coverage. They are also required to file annually with CPA Ontario a declaration confirming the insurance coverage, pursuant to the Mandatory Professional Liability Insurance Regulation.

Q 2: If I surrender my public accounting licence or my public accounting licence expires, what work can I do?

A: Surrendering your public accounting licence or allowing your public accounting licence to expire, will result in a prohibition from providing public accounting services in Ontario. Furthermore, if you are a sole shareholder of a professional corporation that holds an active certificate of authorization, your certificate of authorization will automatically be revoked.

In Ontario a person is not required to be licensed in accordance with Public Accounting Act, 2004 for providing services as:

(a) a bookkeeper or for engaging in bookkeeping, in cost accounting or in the installation of bookkeeping or business systems, solely by virtue of engaging in those activities; or

(b) a person preparing or offering to prepare financial statements solely as part of tax returns, if the person offers,

         (i) no opinion independent of the taxpayer in respect of the financial statements or in respect of the returns, or

         (ii) no other service requiring a licence under the Public Accounting Act, 2004

Q 3: Can a member who is not a licensee be a partner in a public accounting firm?

A: Yes, non-licensed members may be partners in a public accounting firm; however, in accordance with Council Guideline No. 2007-2 enacted by the PAC and Regulation 9-1, section 15, the lead engagement person responsible for signing an assurance report or compilation report must be licensed if the report for the engagement is issued in Ontario, or the work for the engagement is performed primarily in Ontario. (Please refer to Q6 under section ‘When is a Public Accounting Licence Required?’ within these FAQs)

Licensing Fees and Other Fees

Q 1: How much does it cost to obtain a public accounting licence?

A: Please refer to Regulation 4-2 Dues for the applicable fee for a new public accounting licence (amount does not include HST). The licensing year runs from November 1 to October 31 of the following year. Please be reminded that a licence must be renewed on an annual basis.

Q 2: How much does it cost to renew a public accounting licensing?

A: Please refer to Regulation 4-2 Dues for the applicable fee for renewal of a public accounting licence (amount does not include HST). The licensing year runs from November 1 to October 31 of the following year. Please be reminded that a licence must be renewed on an annual basis.

Q 3: Are there any other CPA Ontario fees associated with having a public accounting licence?

A: The Annual Practitioner Fee (APF) applies to each practitioner within a firm that is engaged in the practice of public accounting or in providing accounting services to the public. The practitioner fee must be paid on an annual basis in respect of each member residing or practising in Ontario who is a proprietor, partner, shareholder or employee of the firm; or provides public accounting or accounting services for or on behalf of the firm on any basis, or otherwise receives any income, excluding pension or retirement investment income, from the firm, including through the engagement by or employment with a related business or practice.

Firm - Sole Proprietors + LLP

Q 1: As a firm, we appear to be registered with CPA Ontario but do not appear to be licensed. Can a firm be licensed?

A: In Ontario, firms are not licensed. If a member wishes to practise public accounting or provide accounting services to the public through a firm, that firm must be registered with CPA Ontario as required under Bylaw 4.17.2. In accordance with Bylaw 9.2, a member who is engaged in the practice of public accounting is required to hold a public accounting licence. Under the firm structure, the firm is able to practise public accounting, as long as the lead engagement person holds an active public accounting licence. The firm registered with CPA Ontario as a public accounting practice must use the term “Licensed Public Accountant” when it is the firm’s name that is being used to sign the statement, opinion or report.

Firm Related Fees (Annual Practitioner Fee)

Q 1: Why was I billed the Annual Practitioner Fee when I let my licence lapse?

A: If you are a member, residing or practising in Ontario, as a sole proprietor, partner, shareholder or employee of a firm that is engaged in the practice of public accounting or in providing accounting services to the public, you are required to pay a practitioner fee on an annual basis.

If you are a member who provides public accounting or accounting services for or on behalf of the firm on any basis, or otherwise receives any income, excluding pension or retirement investment income, from the firm, including through the engagement by or employment with a related business or practice you are required to pay a practitioner fee on an annual basis.

Please refer to Regulation 4-2 Dues for a list of all fees.

Questions relating to the Professional Corporation ("PC")

Q 1: What does a professional corporation need to obtain in order to practise public accounting in Ontario?

A: A professional corporation composed of members must first be registered with CPA Ontario and obtain a valid certificate of registration before it may carry on any business or practice in Ontario. A professional corporation is also required to obtain a certificate of authorization in order to practise public accounting. The articles of incorporation must specify that the practice of public accounting is one of the objectives. The certificate of authorization is valid until CPA Ontario is notified in writing of changes to the professional corporation. Changes, such as practice closure, merger or changes to shareholders, must be submitted in writing to CPA Ontario 10 days prior to such changes being effected, pursuant to Bylaw 4.17.6. In order for a certificate of authorization to be issued or renewed, there must be at least one shareholder of the professional corporation that holds a valid public accounting licence, pursuant to Regulation 4-6, Section 19.

Q 2: Can I apply for a certificate of authorization for my professional corporation?

A: If you have a public accounting licence and you have a currently registered professional corporation and you intend to practise public accounting through the professional corporation, you can apply for a certificate of authorization. If the professional corporation has not yet been established, you can find the application form and information on how to register a professional corporation on our website at Registration of Professional Corporation. You will also find information on certificate of authorization, sample articles of incorporation and information about registering the corporation with the Ontario Ministry of Government Services on our website at: http://www.cpaontario.ca/FirmsATOs/Registrations/ProfessionalCorporation/1008page1295.aspx.

Questions relating to non-members

Q 1. I am a licensed member with a CPA Provincial Accounting Body or Other Authorized Licensing Body in Canada and I am either i) planning on moving to Ontario or ii) my firm is planning on performing public accounting services in Ontario. What are the requirements for me to obtain licensure rights within Ontario?

A: A member of CPA Ontario who holds an active public accounting licence with a CPA provincial accounting body or other authorized licensing body in Canada and has filed an application to be licensed in Ontario on the basis of their entitlement to practise public accounting in another province or territory must provide satisfactory support of the following:

  • is a current member, in good standing with the CPA provincial accounting body or other authorized licensing body in Canada;
  • holds, or is part of a firm that holds, a licence, certificate or other form of authorization to practise public accounting in the province/territory of the CPA provincial accounting body or other authorized licensing body in Canada with which you hold membership; AND
  •  that licence, certificate or other form of authorization is free of limitations, restrictions or conditions; AND
  • is not under suspension or the subject of revocation; and
  • is not the subject of a complaint, investigation, disciplinary proceeding, disciplinary finding, order or settlement in respect of a disciplinary matter.


This information must be confirmed directly from your CPA Provincial Accounting Body or Other Authorized Licensing Body in Canada. As part of your application, please complete Form 9-1A .

Firm Registration Requirement
 

Before a public accounting licence can be granted and if you intend to provide public accounting services in Ontario with a firm that is located outside of Ontario, the firm is required to be registered as a public accounting practice with CPA Ontario. The firm will be subject to CPA Ontario regulatory processes, such as practice inspection, mandatory professional liability insurance and payment of the Annual Practitioner Fee. The firm registration form can be downloaded from our website at http://www.cpaontario.ca/FirmsATOs/1008page2662.aspx


Mandatory disclosure requirement for licensed public accountants
 

Licensees and firms must meet the disclosure requirements for reports issued to clients for whom they are providing any accounting or assurance services in Ontario. For more information on the prescribed disclosure requirement, please refer to http://www.cpaontario.ca/Member/PublicAccounting/DisclosureReq/1011page7007.aspx

Q 2: Is there a requirement for a lead engagement person located outside Ontario to be licensed if he or she is providing assurance services for an Ontario entity?

A: A public accounting licence issued by CPA Ontario is required in Ontario if you are the lead engagement person (or the sole practitioner) on a public accounting engagement and

  • the engagement is datelined (the report is issued) in Ontario; or
  • the work or procedures for the engagement is or are primarily performed in Ontario

CPA Ontario members may apply for a public accounting licence by completing Form 9-1A.

In circumstances where the lead engagement person needs to be licensed in Ontario, he or she must first become a member in Ontario.

Designated Accountants in other countries

Q 1: I am a member of a U.S. State Board of Accountancy. What is required in order to be licensed in Ontario?

A: A U.S. CPA will need to be admitted as a member of CPA Ontario, complete the application form for a public accounting licence and meet the standards prescribed by CPA Ontario for qualification as a licensed public accountant. Please note that in order to be eligible to meet the licensing requirements under the U.S. CPA admission pathway, you will be required to successfully complete the CA Reciprocity Examination (CARE) Part I and Part II.

Information on how to apply for membership in CPA Ontario on the basis of holding membership in a state board of accountancy in the United States with which CPA Ontario has reciprocity is available at the following link: http://www.cpaontario.ca/Admissions/InternationallyTrainedAccountants/MemberRecipAcctgBody/1010page13478.aspx

Q 2: I am a member of a Reciprocal Membership Body. What is required in order to be licensed in Ontario?

A: A member of a Reciprocal Membership Body will need to be admitted as a member of CPA Ontario, complete the application form for a public accounting licence and meet the standards prescribed by CPA Ontario for qualification as a licensed public accountant. Please note that in order to be eligible to meet the licensing requirements under this admission pathway, you will be required to successfully complete the CA Reciprocity Examination (CARE) Part I and Part II.

Information on how to apply for membership in CPA Ontario on the basis of holding membership in a reciprocal membership body is available at the following link: http://www.cpaontario.ca/Admissions/InternationallyTrainedAccountants/ReciprocalMembershipBody/1010page13643.aspx

Q 3: I am a member of a specified body with which CPA Ontario has a Memorandum of Understanding. What is required in order to be licensed in Ontario?

A: A member of a specified body with which CPA Ontario has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will need to be admitted as a member of CPA Ontario, complete the application form for a public accounting licence and meet the standards prescribed by CPA Ontario for qualification as a licensed public accountant.

Information on how to apply for membership in CPA Ontario on the basis of holding membership in an accounting body with which CPA Ontario has a MOU is available at http://www.cpaontario.ca/Admissions/InternationallyTrainedAccountants/MemberSpecifiedAcctgBody/1010page13696.aspx

Students

Q 1: I am a student registered with CPA Ontario. Can I apply for a licence?

A: Only members in good standing with CPA Ontario who meet the requirements outlined in Bylaw 9.3 and Regulation 9-1 are eligible for a public accounting licence. Information about licensing will be provided with your admission to membership package.

Questions about the disclosure status of “Licensed Public Accountant”

Refer to Frequently Asked Questions about Disclosure Requirements for Licensed Public Accountants

Q 1: How should a licensed member sign off on statements, opinions or reports?

A: In Ontario, disclosures must be used on any statement or report that is in respect of an assurance engagement, or a compilation engagement for which 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, when the report for the engagement is issued or the work for the engagement is primarily performed in Ontario. The customary practice for disclosure of licensing status in Ontario is that such statements or reports are signed under the name of the firm or the name of the Professional Corporation.

For more information on the prescribed disclosure requirement, please refer to http://www.cpaontario.ca/Member/PublicAccounting/DisclosureReq/1011page7007.aspx