Certification Process

Any member issuing or signing an audit report, a review engagement report, or performing specified auditing procedure engagements will be required by the Public Accountants Board of Nova Scotia (PABNS) to carry a public accounting license. This doesn't apply to all members in the practice of public accounting; it applies to individual members who are responsible for the issuance of audit reports, review engagements, or other assurance reports. Typically, this would be the engagement partner. Please note that a license is not required to issue a Compilation Engagement (Notice to Reader financial statements). 

CPA Nova Scotia is responsible for certifying members seeking to perform public accounting. There are two categories of certificates: Audit Certificate and Review Certificate. Chartered Professional Accountants in the practice of public accounting must be certified by CPA Nova Scotia and licensed by the PABNS. You must obtain certification from CPA Nova Scotia prior to being issued a public accounting license by the PABNS.  

The PABNS remains an independent licensing body. Following proclamation of the Public Accountants Act (Nova Scotia) on August 2, 2016, members may be licensed to perform audits or reviews, mirroring the categories of certifications issued by CPA Nova Scotia. 

Members who were licensed by the PABNS prior to proclamation will be deemed certified by CPA Nova Scotia (with an Audit Certificate) until the next renewal date of October 31, 2017.  As standard practice, members will be required to submit a renewal application on or before September 15th of each year for either category, beginning in September 2017. 


 Category of Certificate  Public Accounting Certification as per By-Law  Summary of Permitted Services
 Audit Certificate

Any of the acts and functions involved in the practice of public accounting 

  • Audit Engagements
  • Review Engagements
  • Specified Procedures such as Trust and Legal Reports
  • All acts and functions as set out in the CPA Canada Handbook - Assurance
 Review Certificate   

 Any of the acts and functions involved in the practice of public accounting, other than an audit engagement as set out in the applicable section of the CPA Canada Handbook - Assurance.

  •  Review Engagements




 Members and firms that perform compilation engagements, accounting services, and tax advisory services for clients are deemed to be practicing CPAs under the definition of regulated services. A license from the Public Accountants Board of Nova Scotia is not necessary for these services. However, members and firms providing these services must be registered with CPA Nova Scotia and will still be subject to practice inspection, disciplinary action and professional liability insurance coverage.