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Please click on the tabs below the video to find information for registering and maintaining a firm.    

 

Types of Public Accounting Firms

There are two types of public accounting Firms: attest and non-attest (tax/consulting). Both types of Firms must be registered with the Board. All CPAs or PAs working at either type of Firm must hold an Ohio permit. 

(Type 1) - Attest Public Accounting-  Firms that perform or offer to perform attest services (audits, compilations, reviews, attestation engagements, employee benefit plan audits, etc.) are attest firms and must undergo peer review.

Per Ohio Administrative Code 4701-7-04 Practice of public accounting and regulated services.

(A) "Practice of public accounting" means either of the following:

(1) The performance of or offering to perform any engagement that will result in the issuance of any report in accordance with the professional standards defined in rule 4701-9-034701-9-044701-9-05, or 4701-9-06 of the Administrative Code.

(2) The performance of or offering to perform services in accordance with applicable professional standards defined in Chapter 4701-9 of the Administrative Code, other than those described in paragraph (A)(1) of this rule, such as consulting services, personal financial planning services, or the preparation of tax returns or the furnishing of advice on tax matters by a proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, professional association, corporation or other business organization, that advertises to the public as a "certified public accountant," "CPA," "public accountant," or "PA."

(B) A certified public accountant or public accountant who performs or offers to perform any services described in paragraph (A) of this rule must hold an Ohio permit and be affiliated with a registered firm.

(Type 2)- Non-Attest (Tax/Consulting)- Firms that prepare taxes, or provide consulting or other services not subject to peer review but that advertise to the public as a CPA or PA firm.

Per Ohio Administrative Code 4701-7-04 Practice of public accounting and regulated services.

(A)  "Practice of public accounting" means either of the following:

(1)  The performance of or offering to perform any engagement that will result in the issuance of any report in accordance with the professional standards defined in rule 4701-9-034701-9-044701-9-05, or 4701-9-06 of the Administrative Code.

(2) The performance of or offering to perform services in accordance with applicable professional standards defined in Chapter 4701-9 of the Administrative Code, other than those described in paragraph (A)(1) of this rule, such as consulting services, personal financial planning services, or the preparation of tax returns or the furnishing of advice on tax matters by a proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, professional association, corporation or other business organization, that advertises to the public as a "certified public accountant," "CPA," "public accountant," or "PA."

(B)  A certified public accountant or public accountant who performs or offers to perform any services described in paragraph (A) of this rule must hold an Ohio permit and be affiliated with a registered firm.

Regulated Services

An Ohio CPA permit holder who uses the “CPA” designation in the performance of tax work, consulting services or any non-attest services, but who does not advertise/hold out to the public as a CPA or CPA Firm.

Per Ohio Administrative Code 4701-7-04 Practice of public accounting and regulated services.

(C)  "Regulated services" means the performance of or offering to perform any of the following services by a certified public accountant or public accountant who uses the designation "certified public accountant," "CPA," "public accountant," or "PA" in association with those services and who is not affiliated with a registered firm:

(1)  Consulting services in accordance with the professional standards defined in rule 4701-9-08 of the Administrative Code.

(2) Tax services in accordance with the professional standards defined in rule 4701-9-09 of the Administrative Code.

(3)  Preparing financial reports, signing financial reports, preparing reports on internal controls, or signing reports on internal controls.

(D)  A certified public accountant or public accountant who performs or offers to perform any services described in paragraph (C) of this rule must hold an Ohio permit.

Registering a Firm

Once you have determined which type of firm to register, you will need to submit your initial firm application online.  Please click on the green Launch button on the right to login to the eLicense system.  

You will need to add your business to eLicense prior to applying for a license.  Once the business has been added, you can select  "Apply for a New License" to complete the application.

Firm Registration Renewals

Peer Review Firms

A public accounting firm that is subject to peer review must renew its firm registration by October 31st of the year assigned by the board to the firm.  The firm must submit all required firm registration renewal information to the Board by that date, including documentation of an approved peer review not previously submitted to the Board.

Please click here to see Peer Review Firm Renewal information.

Tax Consulting Firms

A public accounting firm that does not perform any engagement subject to peer review, and that uses the designation "certified public accountant," the abbreviation "CPA," "public accountant," or the abbreviation "PA" must renew its firm registration by August 31st of the year assigned by the Board to the firm.  The firm must submit tot he Board all required firm registration renewal documentation by that date.

Changing Registered Firm Types

  • To change from a Tax/Consulting firm to a Peer Review firm, please complete the application for a new license on your eLicense Dashboard.  Please click on the green Launch button on the right to login to your eLicense dashboard.  Please note: Any public accounting firm, business or CPA permit holder that performs or offers to perform services or engagements which result in the issuance of an attest report must notify the board of this fact within ninety days of the initial engagement agreement date and register with the board as a peer review firm pursuant to section 4701.04 of the Revised Code. 
  • To change from a Peer Review firm to a Tax/Consulting firm, you must meet at least one of the following criteria:

(A) The firm submits an affidavit to the board confirming the firm has not performed any engagement(s) subject to peer review standards since the firm's last peer review.

(B) The firm submits to the board documentation from the AICPA peer review committee confirming the firm's engagement(s) are not subject to peer review.

(C) The firm submits proof of completed peer review along with all applicable attachments per rule 4701-13-07 of the Administrative Code, including an acceptance letter or completion letter from the peer review committee, if the firm performed any engagement(s) subject to peer review requirements since its last peer review.

To submit the required documentation, please login to your eLicense Dashboard and click on "options" and then select "submit additional documents."  You may then apply for a new firm registration after the old firm has been closed.  Please refer to the "Registering a Firm" tab for instructions.  If you have any questions regarding this process, please contact Kelly Kelly at Kellyann.Kelly@acc.ohio.gov.

Peer Review

Public accounting firms that perform attest work, (compilations, reviews, audit, financial statements, EBP audits etc.), are subject to the peer review requirement.

All attest firms are due to renew every three years on October 31st of the year assigned by the Accountancy Board of Ohio (Board). The firm must submit to the Board all required firm registration renewal documentation by that date including evidence of an approved peer review not previously submitted to the Board.

Firms may have a due date for the peer review program, that falls AFTER the Board firm registration renewal date, so please pay special attention to this when receiving your peer review letter from the Ohio Society of CPAs (OSCPA). Firms may request in writing, up to six month permanent change to their peer review year-end, to avoid their peer review acceptance letter being late for the Board firm renewal. The firm must contact the OSCPA peer review administrative staff to request the change.

The Ohio Society of CPAs is our authorized agent in charge of scheduling and approving peer reviews. For more information concerning the Board’s peer review program, select the link entitled OSCPA Peer Review Program in the External Resources section on the right.

Peer Review Q&A's

Ethical Standards and Rules for Operating a Firm

Chapter 4701-11 Ethics Standards

The topics in this chapter cover the following:

Independence

Confidential client information

Contingent fees

Commissions and referral fees

Form of practice and name

Retention of client records

Board Communications

Acts discreditable

Application of ethics rules to non-CPA owners

 

Chapter 4701-13 Registration of Offices, Partnerships, and Corporations

The topics in this chapter cover the following:

Public accounting firm registration requirements, renewal deadlines

Public accounting firm insurance requirement

Change of peer review firm registration status

Change of firm name or ownership

Peer review program standards

Required submission of peer review documents

Retention of documents relating to peer reviews

Peer review deficiencies; hearings

Interstate Practice ("Mobility")

This section contains the requirements for CPAs from other states who wish to practice public accounting in Ohio. Ohio has unrestricted mobility for any CPA from another state who has an active license to practice public accounting in that state.  There are no fees or temporary licenses for out-of-state CPAs.

In Ohio, mobility accrues to individual CPAs only.  CPA firms located outside Ohio may practice public accounting on an incidental/temporary basis without obtaining an Ohio firm registration.  Ohio does not register public accounting firms based in another state.  Public accounting firms in other states that open an Ohio office do need to register as Ohio public accounting firms.

Persons who wish to open an office in Ohio should consult the section to the left entitled Opening an Ohio Office.

Persons who wish to practice in Ohio on an incidental or temporary basis should consult the External Resources section to the right to see the Temporary Practice Statute.  Ohio CPAs who wish to practice public accounting in other states may wish to consult the CPA Mobility website link for general information.  As always, the final authority on any other state's accountancy law or Board rules is the relevant state accountancy board.

Updating CPA Employees in eLicense

Firms are asked to update their list of current CPA employees at a minimum of every six months.   To update your employees, please login to eLicense and click on options on the Employer tile.  

Select Manage Employees from the menu to open the License Affiliations page.  This is where you will update your new/old employees.  You will add new employees by clicking on +ADD NEW AFFILIATION, and remove employees by clicking on Edit/Deactivate.

The Board has created a video tutorial to help guide you through this process.

 

Firm Information Updates

The Board must be notified of any updates made to the firm.  These updates include the following:

  • Address
  • Firm name
  • Change in Ownership
  • Closing of the firm

To submit updates, please login to your eLicense Dashboard and upload all documents showing justification for the updates.  From the dashboard, click on options on the firm tile, and select submit additional documents.