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 bylaws, you must register your professional accounting practice with CPA Ontario. Providing accounting services to the public, or practising public accounting, can be done on a full-time, part-time, subcontract or consulting basis.
The practice of public accounting is defined as “the provision of any services described in Section 2 of the Public Accounting Act, 2004, excluding any exceptions to services listed in Section 3 of that Act. This basically covers any services that require a public accounting licence in accordance with this Act.
Providing accounting services to the public is defined in Bylaw 1.1.31 and includes:
- The performance of any engagement addressed by standards in the CPA Canada Handbook - Assurance for which a licence is not required under the Public Accounting Act, 2004 to perform the engagement.
- Accounting that involves analysis, advice and interpretation in an expert capacity, but excluding record keeping.
- Taxation that involves advice and counselling in 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 will be relied upon or used by a third party, whether or not a licence is required under the Public Accounting Act, 2004; and the provisions of the services described in Section 2 of the Public Accounting Act, 2004 excluding any exceptions to services listed in Section 3 of that Act.
Both types of services are often referred to as "public accounting".
Who Can Set Up an Accounting Practice?
Any CPA Ontario member 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.
All the accounting firm forms you'll need to complete can be downloaded.
CPA Logo Usage
The CPA Logo is available for download and use by firms in good standing registered with CPA Ontario to practise public accounting or provide accounting services to the public. The CPA Logo is a certification mark, and the firm, and members of the firm, may only use the CPA Logo in accordance with the terms of the CPA Logo Licence Agreement.
Steps to obtain the CPA Logo:
- Log in to Firm Secure Area *
- Under CPA Logo, click on CPA Logo Licence Agreement.
- Sign the CPA Logo Licence Agreement to obtain the CPA Logo Artwork and Guidelines for the Licensed Use of the CPA Logo.
*Note: Only the firm LSO or a delegate appointed by the firm LSO on the Firm Secure Site may access the CPA Logo Licence Agreement.