Firm Registration

CPA Nova Scotia requires individual members (or a group of members) to register as a firm before providing public accounting services or other regulated services to the public, regardless of whether these services are provided to the public on a full-time, part-time or pro bono basis. This is done to help us — and you — continue to uphold the values and standards that we share.  

Public Accounting Services

The practice of public accounting is defined in Section 2 (zm) of the Chartered Professional Accountants Act (Nova Scotia) and includes the following services:

  1. Audit of historical financial information and all related opinions, declarations, consents or other related reports.
  2. Assurance engagements other than an audit or review of historical financial information where an opinion, compliance or other attestations is provided.
  3. Review of historical financial information and all related opinions, consents, declarations or other related reports.
  4. Agreed-Upon Procedures.

Other Regulated Services

In accordance with By-Law 30, other regulated services include the following services that are offered to members of the public:

  1. Performing a compilation engagement as described in the CPA Canada Handbook – Assurance.
  2. Providing an accounting service involving summarization, analysis, advice, counsel or interpretation in an expert capacity, excluding record keeping. 
    • Record keeping means the preparation or maintenance of an entity’s accounting records, including the printing of a trial balance and financial statements produced directly from such source accounting records. Financial statements include the balance sheet and income statement only and exclude the statement of cash flows and statement of retained earnings.
  3. Providing a tax service involving analysis, advice, counsel or interpretation in an expert capacity.
  4. Preparing a tax return or other statutory information filing.
  5. Providing a forensic accounting, financial investigation or financial litigation support service.

Exemptions from Firm Registration:

In accordance with By-Law 247, a member qualifies for an exemption from firm registration requirements in the following circumstances:

  1. The service is provided as a participant in voluntary tax preparation services through an organization approved by CPA Nova Scotia.
  2. The service is provided as an officer or director in a volunteer capacity, recognizing a volunteer may receive an honorarium for service as an officer or director but must not receive payment for providing the other regulated service.
  3. The service is performed as a member who is also governed by the Nova Scotia Barristers Society as approved by the Board, and the member can demonstrate that comparable professional liability insurance is maintained, as outlined in By-Laws 404-408. 
  4. The service provided as a member is either a forensic accounting service, a financial investigation service or a financial litigation support service, and the  member’s current firm cannot be registered with CPA Nova Scotia due to noncompliance with the legal and beneficial ownership requirements outlined in By-Laws 255(d), 278, 307.  This exemption may apply when a member worked for an unregistered firm prior to October 27, 2023, and continues to work at this unregistered firm. In such a case, the member must demonstrate that they maintain comparable professional liability insurance requirements, as set out in By-Laws 404-408.
  5. The service is provided as a member employed as an accountant or auditor performing functions of their employment with a municipality, as defined in the Municipal Government Act, 1998, c. 18, as amended, the government of Nova Scotia, the government of Canada or a Crown corporation.

The member is required to submit an annual declaration regarding their eligibility for an exemption under Section 247 as part of their annual member renewal.

How to Register a Firm

To register as a firm, you must complete the following steps:

  1. If required, apply for a Firm Name Pre-approval (also known as Letter of Consent), for the proposed firm name in accordance with the Registered Firm Name Policy. 
  2. Apply for firm registration, using the appropriate CPA Nova Scotia application 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 your firm as a Professional Corporation, a Sole Proprietorship, a Partnership or a Limited Liability Partnership.
  3. You must complete a Professional Liability Insurance Declaration and provide evidence of Professional Liability Insurance.
  4. You must pay the applicable firm registration fee, which will be invoiced and payable online.
  5. If your firm plans on engaging in public accounting services, the individual member(s) who sign off on engagements must apply to the CPA Nova Scotia Public Accounting Licensing Committee for a public accounting licence.

For further information please see our Other Regulated Services FAQs.