Varied Registration Model

Finding Your Firm’s Fit

Attention firms!

Effective October 1, 2017, Professional Accounting Firms (PAF) will be registered with CPA Alberta in a new way. The Varied Registration Model will provide increased clarity for clients and prospective clients on the types of services that a PAF can perform and will follow the standards set for PAF registrations (including licensure in some provinces) across the country. As a result, this change will benefit both firms and members of the public who use the services of a PAF, by ensuring a client or prospective client is contracting the right firm for the work they require.

The Varied Registration Model contains four categories, which are designed to capture and accommodate the various and unique types of PAFs currently in existence.

Currently, PAFs are registered based on a “restrictions” basis: what services is the firm not able to provide, based on the education and experience of those in the firm. As an example, a firm may be “restricted from providing audit services,” since the CPAs in the firm do not have recent, related experience or the proper training in this area.

With the new Varied Registration Model, PAFs will be registered based on an “approvals” basis: what areas of service the firm provides. As an example, a firm may be registered as providing compilation, review, and other regulated services.

Firms will be registered in one or more of the following categories under the Varied Registration Model:
  • Audit
  • Review
  • Compilation
  • Other regulated services (including public accounting practice services)
As is currently the case, each of these categories has education, experience and examination requirements established that must be met in order to be eligible to supply the service. A PAF will be registered depending on the training, qualifications, and experience of the members of the PAF. This will ensure that appropriately trained and qualified individuals are able to provide the services they are qualified and competent to deliver.
Current PAFs registered with CPA Alberta will automatically be transitioned to the Varied Registration Model according to its previous categorization; no action is necessary by your firm to complete this change. For example, if a firm was unrestricted prior to October 1 (i.e., the firm was licensed to provide all services, including audits), then the PAF can continue to hold registration in all four of the new categories (Audit, Review, Compilation, and Other regulated services).

PAFs that are currently restricted from providing some services will be categorized accordingly. For example, a firm restricted from performing assurance services prior to October 1 would be registered in the following categories: Compilation and Other regulated services.

Again, registration in this model is based on the backgrounds of the CPAs who are part of the PAF. So, within any given PAF, different CPAs may be able to provide different services. A junior staff member with no experience in audit, for example, would be unable to provide audit services, even if the firm is registered in that category. As is the case now, it is up to the leadership of the firm to ensure appropriate individuals are providing appropriate services to clients, based on the staff member’s skills, experience, and education.
No. The type of services a PAF can provide is based on the same criteria as is currently the case. The move to the Varied Registration Model will not change the types of services a firm can provide.
Firms are changing to meet the unique needs of their clients; it’s important CPA Alberta change its practices, too. This new registration model more clearly demonstrates to clients and prospective clients the type of work the PAF is qualified to deliver, and acknowledges the nuances inherent in each firm. The Varied Registration Model also creates a more efficient registration process and harmonizes registration processes for all PAFs across Canada.
No action is necessary by PAFs to complete the transition to the Varied Registration Model. Each PAF will be automatically transitioned by CPA Alberta according to its previous categorization; your firm can continue to offer the same services to clients. CPA Alberta will be mailing individual firms in the next few months regarding their particular registration and more information on the Varied Registration Model.

If you have any questions on this change, please contact the CPA Alberta Registrations Department at
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