Assisting Accountants

By CPABC
Last Revision: 6/30/2016

CPABC Bylaw Regulation 704/4 requires all sole practitioners to appoint an “Assisting Accountant” to return client records in the event of the practitioner’s death or incapacity.

What is an Assisting Accountant?

An Assisting Accountant assumes the responsibility for returning client records in the event of a sole practitioner’s death or incapacity – that’s it. They do not provide services to your clients in your absence or take over your practice in the event of your death. 

Appointing an Assisting Accountant is not the same as having a business continuity plan. Other than returning client records, the Assisting Accountant does not assume responsibility for your employees or any other affairs of your practice. Furthermore, the Assisting Accountant is not responsible for helping your estate sell your practice or otherwise obtain some form of compensation or economic benefit for your spouse and family.

While a good first step in addressing the issue of business continuity, this appointment is not a substitute for a detailed business continuity or succession plan, which would go a long way to reducing the turmoil and uncertainties for both clients and employees.

Who can act as an Assisting Accountant?

In order to qualify as an Assisting Accountant, an individual must be:

  • a member of CPABC in good standing; and
  • licensed for public practice.

Requirement for Sole Practitioners

All members applying for, or renewing, a public practice licence who will be working as a sole practitioner are required to appoint an Assisting Accountant and provide written confirmation of this appointment to CPABC. This appointment is effective until a new appointment is provided to CPABC. Practitioners may authorize CPABC to appoint an Assisting Accountant on their behalf if necessary.

Licensed members practising at, or in association with, a registered firm in which two or more members have proprietary interest are not required to appoint an Assisting Accountant.

To meet the requirement, practitioners may use the Appointment of Assisting Accountant Form available on CPABC’s website and return it to publicpractice@bccpa.ca.