The name of the Professional Accounting Firm (PAF) must fall within the stipulations set out in Rule 401 of the Rules of Professional Conduct and Associated Guidance.
The Rule states that naming conventions are meant to allow CPAs and firms “to conduct their practices under names which reflect their individual preferences and which are appropriate for their particular marketplaces”.
When considering a possible practice name, consider what would be acceptable by CPA Alberta for registration purposes. CPA Alberta considers the following to be an “identifiable concern,” if a practice name is:
- exclusionary (implying that others do not or cannot offer similar services);
- limiting to others (e.g. if reference is made to a location, region or area);
- profane, vulgar, immorally suggestive or of similar poor taste; or
- such that the good reputation of the CPA profession may be impaired or compromised.
PLEASE NOTE, for a professional corporation, any practice name that is inconsistent with the registered corporate name is considered to be misleading.
When using a name and presenting it to the public, all other Regulations, Bylaws and/or Rules relating to it must be followed (e.g. noting Chartered Professional Accountant(s), Limited Liability Partnership, and/or association, as applicable).
It is strongly recommended that, prior to purchasing materials such as stationary, signage, and advertising, please have the possible firm name reviewed by CPA Alberta’s Corporate Registrations team. This will ensure that the name does not present any identifiable concerns.
If you would like to submit your desired PAF name for review, please email CPA Alberta’s Corporate Registrations team at PAF@cpaalberta.ca.
Under Rule 402 of the Rules of Professional Conduct with Guidance, professional accounting firms (PAFs) are required to solely use “Chartered Professional Accountant(s)” in conjunction with their firm name — what is known as the firm’s descriptive style.
In Alberta, the use of the initials “CPA” as part of the firm name does not meet this requirement – the descriptive style must be spelt in full.
- Smith & Doe Chartered Professional Accountant(s)
Regardless of the services performed or offered, using “Chartered Professional Accountant(s)” as part of the firm name or as a descriptive style is viewed as carrying on a professional or public accounting practice and firm registration will be required.
In situations where one or more CPAs operate a professional accounting firm in partnership with someone who is not a CPA, the firm cannot practice under the style of “Chartered Professional Accountant(s)” unless the CPAs who are owners of the practice, exercise control of the firm.
Please note: the rules for personal use of the designation are different from those for firm descriptive style. More details on how to use the designation for a member is available here.