public practice

Tools, templates and
resources to help you
in your profession

getting started

Becoming a public practitioner allows you to take control of your career and become a successful business owner. It could well be the most rewarding career move you’ll ever make.

CPA Australia By-Laws

For regulatory purposes, CPA Australia has created By-Laws for members in public practice – By-Laws 9.1 to 9.8.

Your pathway into public practice

If you’re a CPA or FCPA, these are the pathways available to you, based on gross yearly fees earned from the provision of public accounting services.

Find out more about the pathways in Australia (PDF) and New Zealand (PDF).


Intending to earn between $10,000 and $45,000 in gross fees per calendar year Intending to earn more than $45,000 in gross fees per calendar year
Hold a CPA or FCPA designation2
Australian members: Complete either Advanced Taxation (pre-Semester 1 2019), Australia Taxation and Australia Taxation  Advanced in the CPA Program. New Zealand members: Complete a New Zealand-specific Company Law and Taxation Law subject3
Complete the Practice Management distance learning program4
Meet experience requirements6 Attend Public Practice Program Intensive

Hold minimum prescribed professional indemnity insurance
Meet experience requirements6
Hold minimum prescribed professional indemnity insurance
Have an approved company structure
Apply for a Limited Public Practice Certificate Apply for a Public Practice Certificate
Apply to use the CPA Australia public practice branding and comply with branding requirements 
Apply to advertise and promote your services on Find a CPA
Comply with professional obligations (including CPD and AML) and specific licensing and registration requirements5

Only undertaking pro-bono work1 Intending to earn less than $10,000 in gross fees per calendar year1
Hold a CPA or FCPA designation2
Hold minimum prescribed professional indemnity insurance
Meet CPD and AML obligations, as applicable5
Comply with specific licensing and registration requirements
Do not advertise or promote your services or use the CPA Australia public practice branding

1. Australian members: Excludes those who sign audit reports for SMSFs, for which a public practice certificate is required and may exclude members undertaking review engagements, for which a public practice certificate may be required. NZ members: Excludes those who conduct FMC audits, for which a public practice certificate is required.

2. Must currently hold either a CPA or FCPA designation – all other CPA Australia members will not be eligible to apply for a public practice certificate, and in some very limited circumstances, may not be able to continue to provide public accounting services.

3. Australian members: Unless RTA registration is held. Can be completed in the same semester as undertaking the Practice Management program. In addition, all applicants are required to have completed an Audit and Assurance subject from the CPA Program (or through an accredited university) and a company law subject from a recognised university, prior to enrolling in the Public Practice Program. New Zealand members: Members who have not completed subjects which are specific to New Zealand will need to complete New Zealand-specific Tax and Company Law subjects prior to applying for and obtaining a public practice certificate.

4. New Zealand members: Members holding a NZICA or Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand certificate of public practice are automatically eligible to be issued with a CPA Australia public practice certificate without completing the Public Practice Program.

5. Australian members: The Australian Commonwealth Anti-Money Laundering & Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML) currently only applies to financial planners who make arrangements on behalf of a client to invest in a financial product. It does not apply to accountants in practice. It has been proposed to bring accountants and other professionals within the Act. New Zealand members: The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Terrorism (AML/CFT) Amendment Act 2017 extended the coverage of New Zealand’s AML/CFT laws to include accountants from 1 October 2018.

6. You must have at least three years' full time work experience (in the last eight years) in an area of work relating to accounting, auditing and assurance services, bookkeeping, consumer and commercial credit services, financial planning/advice, financial reporting, forensic accounting, insolvency and corporate reconstruction, management accounting, management consulting, taxation, transactional accounting and valuation services; or have at least three years full time work experience (in the last eight years) in providing public accounting services. Applicants from outside Australia should note that their work experience will be individually assessed to determine if its meets the requirements.  

do you need a public practice certificate?

Under CPA Australia By-Law 9.1, any member providing public accounting services into Australia or New Zealand must hold a Public Practice Certificate (PPC), no matter where in the world they are located. 

If you offer these public accounting services, you require a PPC:

  • accounting 
  • auditing and assurance
  • bookkeeping
  • consumer and commercial credit services
  • financial planning and advice
  • financial reporting
  • forensic accounting
  • insolvency and corporate reconstruction
  • management accounting
  • management consulting
  • taxation
  • transactional accounting
  • valuation services.

If you offer these as a sole service, you do not require a PPC:

  • company secretarial services
  • information technology

This requirement applies to principals, partners and directors of a public practice entity. For more information, view the guidelines on providing services into Australia (PDF) or New Zealand (PDF). The requirement to hold a PPC does not apply to employees or to those earning less than $10,000 in gross fees per calendar year from the provision of public accounting services.

Online Learning

How to apply

Obtaining a PPC requires the completion of the Public Practice Program. Read the pre-requisites for applying for a PPC and start your online application now.

Public practice resources

Resources for setting up a practice in Australia and New Zealand

Practice pathways in Asia

Read an overview of the requirements to practise as an accountant in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. 

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