Attaining a CPA designation is a vital step on your path to success, and to providing reputable and thoughtful business services to the public.
However, before you book your first client, there remains an important step: registering as a firm.
CPA Nova Scotia requires individual members (or a group of members) to register as a firm prior to providing public accounting services or regulated services to the public. This is done to help us — and you — continue to uphold the values and standards that we share.
Public Accounting Services
Public accounting is defined by legislation (Section 2(1)(a) of the Public Accountants Act) and by CPA Nova Scotia By-Laws, and include the following types of engagements:
• Audit Engagements as set out in the CPA Handbook - Assurance
• Specified Audit Procedures as set out in the CPA Handbook - Assurance
• Review Engagements as set out in the CPA Handbook - Assurance
Regulated services are defined by CPA Nova Scotia By-Laws, and include the following types:
• Compilation Engagements (also known as Notice to Reader Engagements)
• Accounting Services involving analysis, advice, counsel or interpretation, but excluding record keeping.
• Tax Services involving analysis, advice, counsel or interpretation, but excluding the mechanical processing of tax returns.
How to Register
To register as a firm, you must complete the following steps:
1. Apply for registration, using the appropriate CPA Nova Scotia form found at the right of this page. This form will initiate both the firm registration process and the firm name approval process. You can choose to register as a Professional Corporation, a Limited Liability Partnership, a Sole Proprietorship, or a Partnership.
2. You must pay registration fees
3. You must provide evidence of Professional Liability Insurance. If your firm plans on engaging in public accounting services, the individual member(s) who sign off on engagements must apply for certification from the CPA NS Public Accounting Certification Committee.
“What if I don’t plan on using my CPA for any of those activities?”
There are actually quite a few people with the CPA designation, who use their CPA as a source of knowledge and authority that enhances their other business activities. As an example, a realtor may attain a CPA in order to gain a more knowledgeable understanding of taxation matters within that industry. If you are not using your CPA for public accounting services or regulated services, and you do not use the CPA designation in your practice name, you do not need to register as a firm.
"What if I was registered with a Legacy Body at proclamation?"
Any firms that were already registered with their legacy body at the time of proclamation will be included in the CPA Nova Scotia registry. If your legacy body did not require registration, then you must register as a firm with CPANS no later than December 31, 2016. If you are unsure of your registration status, please contact our Registrar, at (902) 425-7273 ext. 231, or via e-mail.
"What if I held a license with the Public Accountants Board of Nova Scotia at proclamation?"
Any firms that already held a license will continue to hold a license following proclamation, and will be subject to the annual renewal process with the Public Accountants Board of Nova Scotia. Furthermore, all firms that held a license at proclamation will be certified with CPA Nova Scotia to practice public accounting, and will be subject to the annual renewal process (due September 30, 2017).