Naming Your Firm

Your firm's name is the face it presents to the world, and it carries your professional reputation on its back. 

To assist you in presenting your best face to your clients, CPA Nova Scotia has developed a clear and comprehensive policy that will help you with registering and maintaining your firm's name, whether you are just starting out, or are a venerable, decades-old fixture in the industry. 

The underlying principle of the policy is that firm names cannot be confusing, self-laudatory (e.g. "World's Greatest Accounting Firm") or contravene the high level of professionalism associated with the CPA brand. The policy has greater detail, as well as helpful examples. 
 

About Legacy Designations

If your registered firm or practice name contains your legacy designation, it must be changed to a name approved by CPA Nova Scotia no later than September 30th, 2017. Don’t forget that this name change must be reflected in all of your outreach material:
Signage
Stationery
Any promotional material or items (advertisements, promotional items, etc.)
Social media account profiles (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
You can continue using your existing printed materials until then, as long as you are signing any documents as a CPA.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: "We're a public practice firm. How should we use the CPA designation in our firm name?" 


You need to immediately use the descriptive style "Chartered Professional Accountants" when signing off on any engagements or reports. You do have until September 30, 2017 to change the firm's name on your signage, business cards, stationery, and other promotional material. The CPA Nova Scotia Code of Conduct (Section 401-403) has specific information regarding your firm's name and the descriptive style requirements around the usage of "Chartered Professional Accountant(s)". 

If your firm name contains a legacy designation, you must complete a CPA Nova Scotia Firm Name Change Application no later than September 30, 2017. There is no requirement to change your firm name or complete this form if the legacy designation is not in your firm's name. 

Q: "I'm a sole practitioner, and my firm's name includes my own name. How does this change affect me?" 

If your firm name includes your legacy designation, you must complete the name change form in order for CPA Nova Scotia to review and approve your new firm name. If your legacy designation is in your firm name, It can be replaced with Chartered Professional Accountant or CPA.

As an example, David Ratcliffe has operated a firm registered as "David Ratcliffe, Chartered Accountant", or "David Ratcliffe, CA". His registered firm name must be changed by September 30, 2017, to remove that legacy designation. So, David would need to complete the name change form, requesting it to be replaced with "David Ratcliffe, Chartered Professional Accountant", or "David Ratcliffe, CPA".  David must continue to use his current firm name until he receives approval of any changes, including the change from “Chartered Accountant to Chartered Professional Accountant”.  In view of the requirements to immediately begin to use the descriptive style of “Chartered Professional Accountant” when signing off on engagements or reports (referred to in the FAQ above), a member that has an approved name that includes a legacy designation may be interested in having the name change as soon as possible to avoid confusion.

Q: "Our firm has more than one CPA. Can we use the plural version?" 

You can absolutely use "Chartered Professional Accountants" in your firm name if you have more than one designated CPA. However, if the only other CPA is a staff member, be aware that if they leave the firm, it puts you in breach of the rules until the name is changed back to the singular (or until another CPA is hired in their stead).
 

Firm Name Policy and Form
Firm Name Policy
(Adobe PDF File)
Firm Name Change Application
(Adobe PDF File)