FAQ

Practising Certificate

Obtain a Practising Certificate
Q1.What are the procedures in applying for the issue of a practising certificate?
Q2.May I apply for both membership and practising certificate at the same time?
Q3.What are the experience requirements for practising certificate applicants?
Q4.Will my working experience acquired in Mainland China be accepted for practising certificate issuance purpose?
Q5.What is the examination requirement for the issue of a practising certificate?
Q6.Do I need to take the practising certificate examinations in any specified order?
Q7.I was a practising certificate holder from 1991 to 2004 and had not renewed it since 2005. What are the procedures to take out a practising certificate again?
 
Maintain a Practising Certificate
Q1.I have just applied for a practising certificate to practise in my own name. May I now change my full time employment from a CPA practice to commercial field?
Q2.How many accounts do I need to sign to maintain my practising status?
Q3.What should I do to update the Institute with my new registered office, any standard form for my completion?
Q4.May I practise in my own name and in the name of a partnership firm at the same time?
Q5.May I add my Christian name to my letterhead?
Q6.I will retire as a partner of my CPA practice in June this year. What should I do to continue with my CPA practice?
 
General
Q1.How can I check the practising status of a member of the Institute?

 

Obtain a Practising Certificate
Q1.What are the procedures in applying for the issue of a practising certificate?
Ans.Applicants are required to submit a completed practising certificate application form (form R-4), a crossed cheque or bank draft for the appropriate registration fees payable to the "Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants" along with relevant supporting documents as specified in the checklist for applicants attached to form R-4 for the Institute's consideration.
 
Q2.May I apply for both membership and practising certificate at the same time?
Ans.

Yes, if you can satisfy all requirements for membership and practising certificate issuance.

 Please refer to Q3 below for details of the approved accounting experience required for practising certificate purpose.
In addition to the experience requirements, practising certificate applicants are also required to satisfy the examination, residence, non-bankruptcy and CPD requirements.
In general, QP graduates (i.e. QP students who have completed the QP in full) are exempted from the practising certificate examinations and are deemed to have satisfied the examination requirement for practising certificate issuance purpose. However, with effect from January 2008, QP graduates with non-Hong Kong degrees are required to sit and pass the Aptitude Test – Hong Kong Law for practising certificate issuance purpose. Please refer to the notes to the practising certificate examination entry form for details.
 
Q3.What are the experience requirements for practising certificate applicants?
Ans.Please click HERE for details.
 
Q4.Will my working experience acquired in Mainland China be accepted for practising certificate issuance purpose?
Ans.Under the current council ruling, full time experience in public practice gained in Mainland China will be accepted as satisfying the four-year / thirty-month approved accounting experience requirement in part* and the one-year recent local experience requirement in full if:
 (1)the CPA practice in Mainland China is a branch or subsidiary of or affiliated with a CPA practice in Hong Kong; and
 (2)the applicant's work significantly relates to the accounting practices of Hong Kong; and
 (3)the applicant is working under the direct supervision of a Hong Kong practising certificate holder; and
 (4)a substantial amount of the applicant's experience is in auditing.
 Note:*At least one year of the four-year / thirty-month approved accounting experience must have been acquired in Hong Kong.
 
Q5.What is the examination requirement for the issue of a practising certificate?
Ans.Under the provisions of the Professional Accountants Ordinance, the council of the Institute rules that a practising certificate applicant is required to satisfy the examination requirement through completing the practising certificate examinations.
The examination is an open-book examination consisting of three papers: PC-business assurance, PC-law and PC-taxation .
 
Q6.Do I need to take the practising certificate examinations in any specified order?
Ans.Candidates who are required to sit more than one paper may choose to sit all papers in any order or just one paper at each sitting. The council rules that subject-by-subject passes are allowed. At present, there is no time limit restricting the validity of such passes.
 
Q7.I was a practising certificate holder from 1991 to 2004 and had not renewed it since 2005. What are the procedures to take out a practising certificate again?
Ans.You are required to submit a fresh application to the Institute and your application will be assessed according to requirements now in force.
At present, in addition to the four-year / thirty-month approved accounting experience requirement, all practising certificate holders are required to possess at least one-year recent local auditing experience which is full time acquired with a local CPA practice.
 
Maintain a practising certificate
Q1.I have just applied for a practising certificate to practise in my own name. May I now change my full time employment from a CPA practice to commercial field?
Ans.At present, there is no restriction in respect of the business sector of the full time employment of practising certificate holders.
Please provide details of your new employment either by filing a completed membership record amendment coupon or by amending the relevant columns in the membership record update in the Members’ Area for the Institute's updating.
 
Q2.How many accounts do I need to sign to maintain my practising status?
Ans.There are no rules about the number of accounts signed by a practising certificate holder (i.e. a certified public accountant (practising)) for annual renewal. However, practising certificate holders are required to sign an Annual Return in respect of section 30(6), Professional Accountants Ordinance on an annual basis as evidence to prove that they have commenced practice within six months from the date they were issued the practising certificate.
 
Q3.What should I do to update the Institute with my new registered office, any standard form for my completion?
Ans.Please send a written notice to the Institute providing both the English and Chinese addresses for updating.
 An official letter of consent from your present employer or an existing CPA practice which is the leaseholder/ landlord of your intended registered office must be produced to the effect that there is no objection to such use and to the erection of a signboard at the entrance to the registered office.
If you will practise under the name of a CPA practice, either as a sole proprietor/partner/authorized signatory of a firm or as a practising member director/authorized person of a corporate practice, you will be exempt from this requirement.
 
Q4.May I practise in my own name and in the name of a partnership firm at the same time?
Ans.At present, the council rules that the number of name of CPA practice under which a practising certificate holder may register as a sole proprietor, partner, practising member director, an authorized signatory of a firm or an authorized person of a corporate practice (as the case may be) should not exceed three.
 
Q5.May I add my Christian name to my letterhead?
Ans.There is no restriction about how your name appears in your letterhead for your practice. However, in order to avoid confusion, you are advised to use your full name that is kept in the Institute's register of certified public accountants.
 
Q6.I will retire as a partner of my CPA practice in June this year. What should I do to continue with my CPA practice?
Ans.Under the Professional Accountants By-law 29, a practising certificate holder shall practise in any one or a combination of the following modes:
in his/her own name;
in the name of a firm of certified public accountants (practising) as a sole proprietor, a partner or an authorized signatory; and/or
in the name of a corporate practice as a practising member director.
Please write and provide your intended mode of practice and relevant information such as location of your registered office and other contact details for our updating as soon as such information is available.
If it is your intention to practise in your own name, please file the following information with the Institute:
(1)a specimen letterhead bearing your own name and the description "Certified Public Accountant (Practising)" or "Certified Public Accountant".
(2)a written confirmation that a signboard has been duly erected at the entrance to your registered office.
(3)a copy of the business registration certificate as evidence of your commencement of business.
(4)if you intend to use the address of your present employer, if any, or an existing CPA practice as your registered office, a letter of consent from your employer or the CPA practice.
Please do not include "& Co." or "CPA (Practising) Ltd." or "事務所", "樓", "行", "會計師有限公司", etc. in your name of practice unless a practice name has been registered with the Institute under the Professional Accountants Ordinance.
 
General
Q1.How can I check the practising status of a member of the Institute?
Ans.

You may carry out the initial checking by visiting our online membership list that is updated on daily basis.  Full English names as indicated in the Hong Kong identity card or passport of our members are registered in our membership database and published in the List.  Please be reminded that there may be individuals registered with identical name in our membership database.

As an alternative,  a register of Certified Public Accountants containing the name, practising status, etc. of our members is also available for public inspection during office hours at our service counter at 27th Floor, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. 

If a written certification is required, you are required to provide a written consent from the member concerned, preferably with his/ her full name and HKICPA membership no., along with a handling charge of HK$50 to the Institute for our processing.