Chartered Professional Accountants perform a variety of professional services, some of which may require a practice licence. Please note that CPABC may consider a firm or office to be engaged in the practice of public accounting in BC depending on the type of services offered and work performed. If you are unsure whether your firm is engaged in public practice, please contact either Brigitte Ilk or Stella Leung in Advisory Services.
If you are a partner, shareholder, or proprietor of a firm engaged in public practice in BC (including a CPA practising as a sole practitioner), Bylaw 700 (2) requires you to have a licence in your respective category from CPABC. If you are a member who is an employee who has overall engagement responsibility where your activities are included in the definition of public practice, and as such, are subject to practice review, you must have a licence in your respective category from CPABC.
Note: Members offering to the public any public practice services will be required to be licenced in public practice, irrespective of remuneration.
Public Practice is defined in Bylaw 100 as providing or offering to provide one or more of the following services to the public:
Other Regulated Services:
The following categories of public practice licences are established as per Bylaw 703 (1):
The illustration sets out how the definitions of “public practice,” “public accounting,” and “other regulated services” fit together, how these definitions are associated with the different categories of licensing, and which services can be offered or performed under each category.
Individual members, already in practice, will be licensed in a category, based on their current practice area.
New practitioners will apply for a licence in a category determined by their experience and education and on their intended practice area.
Practitioners will need to complete an annual practice licence renewal form. To maintain a certain category of licence, a practitioner will be required to have been active in that practice area for the past five years, with consideration of relevant professional development which may have been taken.
Individuals intending to obtain either an Audit or Review licence must earn their required assurance hours in a Pre-Approved Training Program (transition provisions will apply for legacy members).
Individuals wishing to obtain a Compilation licence may earn their required experience in either a Pre- Approved Program or through an Experience Verification Route (transition provisions will apply for legacy members).
Legacy members who have met all requirements to provide public practice services under their legacy designations and have not previously applied for a public practice licence do not require bridging programs. Rather, they should apply for the licensing under the re-entry requirements. If a member wants to “crystallize” their right to practise under Legacy requirements, they should apply for assessment of eligibility to enter public practice.
CPA candidates seeking public accounting registration for the three public accounting streams (Audit, Review, and Compilation) must follow specifically identified pathways within the overall CPA certification model. All requirements should be met within the proposed 30-month period of practical experience. For more information click here.
Please note that CPABC may consider a firm or office to be engaged in the practice of public accounting in BC depending on the type of services offered and work performed. If you are unsure whether your firm is engaged in public practice, please contact either Brigitte Ilk or Stella Leung in Advisory Services.
Applying for a public practice licence is a five-part process:
If a member wishes to request to amend the category of public practice licence, please complete Form 3B, Request to Amend Category of Public Practice Licence.
Sign and submit the completed form to email@example.com
You may be contacted by the Director, Public Practice Licensing if there are any questions about your request.
Costs associated with having a public practice licence:
CPABC Public Practice Fees
Other Regulated Services
All firms that are engaged in public practice are required to have professional liability insurance.
Bylaw Regulation 1301/1 stipulates that all registered firms must carry the following minimum levels of professional liability insurance:
Bylaw Regulation 1301/1(4) stipulates that each professional liability insurance contract shall be endorsed with the requirements that the insurance company shall notify CPABC in writing forthwith of:
Bylaw Regulation 1301/1(5) stipulates that Members holding a public practice licence must ensure that prior acts and omissions are covered by adequate professional liability insurance either through riders to an ongoing insurance policy or a separate discovery policy, for a minimum of six years after ceasing to be in public practice.
Insurance premiums vary depending on many factors, including the number of CPAs in the practice, total billings, level of risk, and level of insurance you desire. Before your practice licence application can be finalized and before you start engaging in public practice activities, the final confirmation of your insurance coverage with a copy of the notification endorsement must be submitted to CPABC. The final confirmation can be either:
You can obtain professional liability insurance coverage through any provider.
Contact information for The Chartered Professional Accountants' Professional Liability Insurance Program, Administered by AICA Services Inc. is:
AICA Services Inc.
277 Wellington Street West
For inquiries, telephone 416.204.3398 or 1.800.267.4734 or visit www.aica.ca.
Under CPABC Bylaw Regulation 704/4 a sole practitioner is required to either:
Appointment of Assisting Accountant Form
“Crystallization” means that a member can apply to have their education and public practice experience assessed to see if they meet the legacy requirements for entry to public practice. If they meet the requirements for public practice, they can have their member file flagged so that should they decide to register in public practice at a later date, they can enter via the “re-entry path to public practice” rather than having to meet the public practice entry requirements as a new practitioner.
The vast majority of legacy CA members do not have to apply for crystallization as they have met the requirements for public practice upon certification.
In order for a CGA/CMA legacy member to apply for assessment of eligibility to enter public practice (“crystallization”), they will have to complete the following:
The application fee can be paid online in the ONLINE SERVICES at the top right hand corner of the www.bccpa.ca website
Once application fee has been paid, please email the receipt along with the application package to firstname.lastname@example.org
If a member ceases public practice as defined by Section 100 of the Bylaws, and would like to cancel their practice licence issued under Part 7 of the Bylaws of the Organization of Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC), they must complete Form 3C Request for Cancellation of Public Practice Licence.
Please send the completed Form 3C to the attention of Kate Talmage, Public Practice Coordinator or by fax at 604.732.9439.
If you have questions about cancelling a practice licence, please contact Kate Talmage, Public Practice Coordinator.