A California-licensed CPA is an individual who has met the education, examination, and experience requirements of California State law and has been issued a license to practice public accountancy by the California Board of Accountancy (CBA).
A California-licensed accounting firm consists of accounting firms meeting minimum registration requirements to provide public accounting services in California. These firms consist of corporations and partnerships, as well as sole practitioners operating under a name different from the name on their CPA license.
An individual, whose principal place of business is not in California and who has a valid and current license to practice public accountancy from another state, may, with limited exceptions, engage in the practice of public accountancy in California without obtaining a California license. In order for the individual to qualify for practice privilege, the out-of-state licensed CPA must satisfy one of the following:
- Have continually practiced public accountancy as a CPA in another state for at least four of the last 10 years
- Come from one of the substantially equivalent states that the CBA has deemed to have education, examination, and experience requirements substantially equivalent to its own licensure requirements found in Business and Professions Code section 5093.
- Individually possess education, examination, and experience qualifications for licensure that the CBA has determined to be substantially equivalent to its own licensure requirements found in Business and Professions Code section 5093.
In certain circumstances, an out-of-state CPA must either seek the approval of the CBA prior to engaging in the practice of public accountancy, or must cease practicing in California until such time as the CBA provides permission to continue practice. In addition, there are certain disqualifying conditions that can lead to the revocation of practice privilege.
- List of events that would require an individual to seek approval prior to practicing in California
- List of events that would require an individual to cease practice in California
- List of disqualifying conditions that can lead to the revocation of a practice privilege
If after performing a search of CBA records on an out-of-state license CPA you receive information that indicates no results are available, this does not mean that the individual is not authorized to practice public accountancy in California.
To file a complaint against an out-of-state licensed CPA, please complete the CBA's complaint form.
To perform certain services for a California-headquarted entity, an out-of-state accounting firm must first register with the CBA. The specific services that first require registration with the CBA include the following:
- An audit or review of a financial statement
- A compilation of a financial statement when it is expected, or reasonably might be expected, that a third party will use the financial statement and the compilation report does not disclose a lack of independence.
- An examination of prospective financial information.
To file a complaint against an out-of-state registered accounting firm, please complete the CBA's complaint form.