PUBLIC PRACTICE

Become a Public Practitioner

Become a public practitioner

Today’s accountants aren’t just advising on tax and compliance, they’re advising businesses that are changing the world. See how becoming a public practitioner can enable you to take control of your career and become a successful business owner.

Find out more about your pathways into public practice.

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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 you are located. 

If you are a CPA or FCPA providing public accounting services, you need one of the following:

A PUBLIC PRACTICE CERTIFICATE
if you earn more than $45,000 gross fees per calendar year

A LIMITED PUBLIC PRACTICE CERTIFICATE
if you earn between $10,000 and $45,000 gross fees per calendar year

NO CERTIFICATE
if you do not earn more than $10,000 gross fees each calendar year and you do not advertise or hold your services out to the public. However, you must hold professional indemnity insurance.

HOW TO GET A PUBLIC PRACTICE CERTIFICATE

There are three steps you need to follow to apply for a Public Practice Certificate:

1

Complete the Public Practice Program

2

Meet additional requirements

3

Apply for your Public Practice Certificate (PPC)

Step 1 – COMPLETE THE PUBLIC PRACTICE PROGRAM

The Public Practice Program is designed to help members establish themselves in public practice. It provides the technical and ethical requirements specific to public practice as well as the business management skills needed for a successful practice.

From January 2020, the program has two components:

  1. Public Practice Program eLearning – online learning format that focuses on the essential technical and ethical requirements to become a CPA Public Practitioner.

  2. Public Practice Program Workshop – a workshop designed to help set your business up for success through facilitator led and self-paced practical learning.

    Note: The outbreak of COVID-19 has necessitated the cancellation of our face to face events in 2020, including the Public Practice Program workshops. However, we remain committed to supporting our members in public practice and have prepared two options to apply for a PPC in 2020:

    • Option 1: Complete a Public Practice Workshop by webinar prior to applying for a PPC

    • Option 2: Apply for a PPC prior to completing a Public Practice Workshop or webinar series

      Find out more about pathways to PPC during COVID-19 restrictions.

Note:
The Public Practice Program eLearning or workshop alternative can be done in either order.

Prior to 2020, as part of the Public Practice Program members may have completed:

  • Practice Management instead of Public Practice Program eLearning
  • Public Practice Intensive instead of Public Practice Workshop

If you are applying for a Limited Public Practice Certificate, you only need to complete Public Practice Program eLearning.



STEP 2 – MEET THESE ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS

Once you have completed the Public Practice Program eLearning and workshop you must also meet the following key requirements to be eligible to apply for a public practice certificate:

  1. hold appropriate professional indemnity insurance (PII). This includes a minimum of $2 million in PII cover for members providing services in Australia and NZ$1 million for members providing services in New Zealand
  2. have the required practical experience as stated in By-Law 9.4

As applicable:

  • If you have migrated to Australia in the last five years, you must also have completed Australian-specific company law and tax from an approved higher education provider.
  • If you have migrated to New Zealand in the last five years, you must also have completed New Zealand-specific company law and tax from an approved higher education provider.
  • Members who complete their Public Practice Program by webinar will also need to complete the following requirements prior to applying for your PPC:
    1. Complete the APES 320 Quality Control Manual tool.
    2. Complete the APES 325 Risk Management Framework tool.
      Risk management and quality control are essential when delivering quality services to your clients and protecting your business.
  • If you are applying for a PPC prior to completing the Public Practice Workshop or webinar due to COVID-19 (see Option 2 above), email [email protected] and request the Member Agreement for PPC. This must be completed and emailed to the Public Practice Team at CPA Australia before you lodge your PPC application


STEP 3 – APPLY FOR YOUR PUBLIC PRACTICE CERTIFICATE

Having satisfied all requirements, you can apply for your PPC within eight years of completing both components of the Public Practice Program.

Apply for a Certificate

Application forms and prerequisites for other public practice related certificates, including a Limited Public Practice Certificate, multi-disciplinary practice and trading with a non-member, are also available.

Fees

Branding your practice

If you are member who holds a CPA Australia PPC in Australia or New Zealand you may be entitled to brand your practice with the CPA Public Practice logo.

You will need to apply to brand your practice when you submit your PPC application, including a sample letterhead and proof of Professional Indemnity Insurance.

Refer to the Public Practice Brand Guidelines for helpful information regarding using the CPA Public Practice Logo, eligibility to use the CPA Public Practice brand, naming your practice, and designing stationery and communications for your practice.

Public Practice logo

Ongoing Public Practice Certificate Requirements

Ongoing requirements specific to PPC holders include:

  1. Commit to the Best Practice Program
    The Best Practice Program is a holistic support model designed to set you up for success, ensure you understand your obligations and receive the right guidance early on, when it’s most needed.
  2. Maintain adequate professional indemnity insurance (PII)
    This includes a minimum of $2 million in PII cover for members providing services in Australia and NZ$1 million for members providing services in New Zealand.
  3. Participate in the Professional Standards Scheme if eligible
    All eligible PPCs are required to participate in the Professional Standards Scheme, unless you have been granted an exemption, to limit your liability. To ensure you are covered you must display on all promotional material the notification of limited liability statement “Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation”. Check your eligibility.