How to Close a Public Accounting Practice
Plan and Communicate an Effective Exit Strategy
A member closing or selling their practice will need to develop an effective transition strategy. If you do not appropriately plan the close of your practice, you may be in breach of the CPA Code of Professional Conduct. We recommend that you start planning your exit strategy five years in advance.
Members should communicate the close of their practice in writing to ensure that clients clearly understand that they need to find a new accountant. They will also need to determine if they will continue to be involved in the practice in some capacity until the transition is complete or stay on as a consultant. Members should think about their transition and/or succession plan at least five years in advance.
Members who decide to change the name of their firm can go to My Portal, select Firm Dashboard and then Appropriate Firm. Now click on Firm Requests and select New Requests and then Firm Name Change.
Statutory and Regulatory Requirements
1. Notification of practice closure
Members can request a firm closure by going to My Portal, select Firm Dashboard and Select Firm to choose the appropriate firm. Now click on Firm Requests and select New Requests and then Firm Closure. Only the following can perform this request:
- Sole proprietorship, partnership or LLP.
- Professional corporations (Including professional corporations no longer providing services to the public or another firm). You may continue to hold shares in the professional corporation, but no accounting services may be performed through the professional corporation once it is closed in CPA Ontario records.
A firm may apply in writing to surrender its registration, however, the application will not be accepted without the firm providing proof of discovery insurance for a period of six years.
2. Obtain discovery insurance
Contact your current insurance provider and switch your current policy to a discovery policy. Your insurance policy must be maintained for a period of six years from the cessation date. Once you have obtained this insurance, please update your insurance information by going to My Portal, select Firm Dashboard and Select Firm to choose the Appropriate Firm. Now click on Professional Liability Insurance and select Update Insurance Information. A notice to update discovery insurance information with CPA Ontario will be sent annually.
3. Withdraw LLP registration with the ministry, if applicable
Contact the Ministry of Government Services, Companies
4. Update your member profile, if applicable
Log in to My Portal and select Profile to make any necessary changes, including employment information.
Affinity partners such as Manulife should be contacted directly with any changes to your employment and contact information.