FAQ

Firm registration matters

Registration of a Firm
Q1.What are the procedures to apply for registration of a firm?
Q2.What are the guidelines for registration of non-personalized (trading) name?
Q3.Can I apply for registration of a firm with my friend who is the sole proprietor of a CPA firm in Mainland China?
Q4.What is the cost for registration of a partnership firm with two partners?
Q5.How long will it take to register a new firm?
Q6.

May I apply for a practising certificate and registration of a firm at the same time?

 
Maintain the firm registration
Q1.We want to change our firm name. What should we do?
Q2.Our firm has just moved to a new office. What should we do to update the Institute with our new address?
Q3.One of our partners will retire next month. Can we get a refund of the firm registration fee paid for him?
Q4.What should we do to update the Institute with the recent admission of a new partner to our firm?
Q5.Can I get a refund of the firm annual fee after registration of a corporate practice?
Q6.Do we use standard form to register an authorized signatory for my firm?
Q7.What is the procedure to cancel my firm registration?
Q8.

I am a practising certificate holder currently practising in a firm name. As I have no intention to practise in my own name, can I renew my firm registration without holding a practising certificate?

 
General
Q1.How can I obtain a full list of CPA practices in Hong Kong?
Q2.Which CPA firm can help us to set up a company in Mainland China?
Q3.Where can I get the pay scale of services provided by CPA firms in Hong Kong?

 

Questions and Answers pages:

Registration of a Firm
Q1.What are the procedures to apply for registration of a firm?
Ans.A certified public accountant holding a practising certificate who wishes to practise under a firm name, as a sole proprietor or in partnership with other practising certificate holder(s), must apply to the council for registration of the firm by completing and returning a firm application form RF-1. Please submit the form along with a crossed cheque or bank draft for the registration fees payable to the "Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants" and the required supporting documents as specified in the Notes of the application form.
 
Q2.What are the guidelines for registration of non-personalized (trading) name?
Ans.

Under the current policy, a proposed trading name will not be approved if, in the opinion of the council, it is:

 (a)misleading; or
 (b)unlawful; or
 (c)not of professional good taste and is inconsistent with the image of the profession; or
 (d)in conflict with the ethical rules of the Institute, in particular section 450 - Practice promotion of the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants.
 Council has rejected certain names in the past, mainly on one of the following grounds, which have been adopted by the registration & practising committee as guidelines on the application of (a) and (c) above:
 (i)the name is not of professional good taste and inconsistent with the image of the accounting profession;
 (ii)the name may mislead the public to believe that the practice is related to a famous brand or organization;
 (iii)the name may mislead the public to believe that the practice is superior to the other practices;
 (iv)the name may mislead the public to believe that the sole-proprietorship practice is a partnership;
 (v)the name may mislead the public to believe that the practice is an international practice;
 (vi)the name implies territories other than Hong Kong and may mislead the public to believe that the practice will be able to provide services in all such territories; and
 (vii)the name may mislead the public to believe that the practice belongs to a group of practices.
 
Q3.Can I apply for registration of a firm with my friend who is the sole proprietor of a CPA firm in Mainland China?
Ans.Under section 28A(5) of the Professional Accountants Ordinance, all partners of the firm need to be Institute members before it can be registered and at least such proportion as the council prescribes its partners are practising certificate holders. The current ruling is that at least two-thirds of the partners must be practising certificate holders. As such, you cannot register a firm with individuals who are not members of the Institute.
 
Q4.What is the cost for registration of a partnership firm with two partners?
Ans.

Firm registration fee are paid per partner. The registration fees for a practising partner/ sole proprietor and a non-practising certificate holder partner for the year 2013 are $5,050 and $10,100 respectively.

 

You should pay $13,600 being $3,500 for the first registration fee and $10,100 for the firm registration fee for two partners.

 

Please refer to the fee schedule for details.

 
Q5.How long will it take to register a new firm?
Ans.Applications with full payment and relevant supporting documents submitted according to the deadlines specified for each registration and practising committee meeting will be considered at that meeting. For applications that meet registration requirements will be approved by the council upon the recommendation of the committee. Those received after the deadline will be processed at the subsequent meeting of the committee.
 Normally, official result will be available 10 weeks after the submission deadline.
 
Q6.May I apply for a practising certificate and registration of a firm at the same time?
Ans.Yes, if you can satisfy all requirements for the issue of a practising certificate and firm registration.
 
  
Maintain the firm registration
Q1.We want to change our firm name. What should we do?
Ans.Please apply for change of your firm name (English and/or Chinese) by completing and returning a form RF-3 along with a letter providing reasons for the change and special meanings of the trading name, if applicable, to the Institute before the deadline for consideration by the registration and practising committee.
 
Q2.Our firm has just moved to a new office. What should we do to update the Institute with our new address?
Ans.
Please complete and return a form RF-3 along with a letter of consent from the leaseholder/landlord of the proposed office, if applicable, to the Institute's Admission Department at 27th floor, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong for processing.
 
Q3.One of our partners will retire next month. Can we get a refund of the firm registration fee paid for him?
Ans.
No, annual fees paid are not refundable/ transferable.
 
Q4.What should we do to update the Institute with the recent admission of a new partner to our firm?
Ans.
Please complete and return a form RF-3 along with appropriate registration fee to the Institute's Admission Department at 27th floor, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong for updating.
 
Q5.Can I get a refund of the firm annual fee after registration of a corporate practice?
Ans.
Annual fees will only be refunded if the firm is deregistered within nine months from the date of registration of a corporate practice with the same partners as directors. Refunds will be made on a half-yearly basis, i.e. 30 June and 31 December each year. If you can satisfy the above criteria, no action is required from you. We shall send the refund cheque to you automatically.
 
Q6.Do we use standard form to register an authorized signatory for my firm?
Ans.
No standard form is provided for this purpose. Please send a written notice that should be issued by the sole proprietor/senior partner of your firm providing the effective date, name of the practising certificate holder concerned and his/her specimen signature under your firm name to the Institute for record.
.
You are also required to notify the Institute in writing as soon as applicable when withdrawing such authorization.
 
Q7.What is the procedure to cancel my firm registration?
Ans.
Please complete and return a form RF-2 to apply for deregistration of a firm to the Institute by reference to the deadline announced by the Institute from time to time.
 
Q8.I am a practising certificate holder currently practising in a firm name. As I have no intention to practise in my own name, can I renew my firm registration without holding a practising certificate?
Ans.
No. Under the Professional Accountants Ordinance, you must be a practising certificate holder before you are eligible to register as a practising partner or a sole proprietor of a CPA firm. Renewal of both your membership and practising certificate are part of the basic requirements for renewal of your firm registration.
 
General
Q1.How can I obtain a full list of CPA practices in Hong Kong?
Ans.
A copy each of the Institute's registers of CPA firms and corporate practices are available for public inspection during office hours at the Institute's service counter at 27th floor, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wanchai, Hong Kong.
 The Hong Kong CPA Practice Directory (including both CPA firms and corporate practices) is available in this website.
 Lists of practising certificate holders and CPA practices are published annually in the government gazette. You may check the government website.
 
Q2.Which CPA firm can help us to set up a company in Mainland China?
Ans.
Registered CPA firms are not required to report to the Institute the scope of their services. In addition, as a statutory body, it is not the Institute’s practice to recommend any of our CPA practices to third parties for business purpose.
 As the Hong Kong CPA Practice Directory (including both CPA firms and corporate practices) with their registered officees and in some cases their telephone/ fax numbers, email addresses, website and type of professional services offered has been published in this website, you may consider checking the Directory and contacting the CPA firm or corporate practice directly.
 
Q3.Where can I get the pay scale of services provided by CPA firms in Hong Kong?
Ans.As CPA practices are not required to provide this information to the Institute, we are not able to provide this information.