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.


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:

  • and earn more than $45,000 gross fees per calendar year, you must apply for a PPC.
  • and earn between $10,000 and $45,000 gross fees per calendar year, you may apply for a limited public practice certificate.
  • and you do not earn more than $10,000 gross fees each calendar year, you do not need to obtain a PPC, as long as you do not advertise or hold your services out to the public. However, you must hold professional indemnity insurance


There are three steps to being awarded a Public Practice Certificate:


Complete the Public Practice Program


Meet additional requirements


Apply for a certificate


The new Public Practice Program is more streamlined and flexible and 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 new program has two components:

  1. Public Practice Program eLearning – the new online learning format is streamlined and on-demand, providing greater flexibility. It focuses on the essential technical and ethical requirements to become a CPA Public Practitioner.

  2. Public Practice Program Workshop – the outbreak of COVID-19 has necessitated the cancellation of our face to face events in the immediate future, 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 Public Practice Certificate (PPC):

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

CPA Australia has developed a five-part webinar series that covers the core elements of the Public Practice Program Workshop. Members wishing to obtain their PPC may choose to undertake this webinar series as an alternative to the Public Practice Program Workshop prior to applying for their PPC. Conditions apply. Find out more.

Option 2: Apply for a PPC prior to completing a Public Practice Workshop or Webinar Series

For a limited time, members who have fulfilled all the relevant prerequisites will be able to apply for their PPC prior to completing a Public Practice Workshop or Webinar series.

However, members must agree to complete a Public Practice Workshop or Webinar series by 30 June 2021, noting that failure to meet this requirement will result in the automatic cancellation of their PPC on 1 July 2021. Conditions apply. Find out more about the workshop or webinar.

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


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

  1. have the required practical experience as stated in By-Law 9.4
  2. hold appropriate professional indemnity insurance
  3. agree to comply with the Quality Review Program.

Members who complete their Public Practice Program by webinar will also need to complete the following requirements prior to applying for your public practice certificate:

  1. Complete the APES 320 Quality Control Manual tool.
  2. Complete the APES 325 Risk Management Framework tool.

As applicable:

  • New Zealand residents must also have completed New Zealand-specific company law and taxation law.
  • 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.

How to Apply for a PPC under Option 2

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.


Having satisfied all requirements, you can apply for your public practice certificate within eight years of passing the Public Practice Program.

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.