What to expect from a CPA?
The CPA profession in Canada is diverse, and not all CPA’s offer the same types of services to the public. Our profession has four categories of practice:
- Licensed CPAs, who perform assurance services such as audit engagements or review engagements.
- CPAs who provide other regulated services, including: tax, compilation engagements, business valuations or consulting services.
- CPAs who provide services to the public, that aren't 1 or 2 above.
- CPAs who provide services to employers.
CPAs are expected to be competent and of good character in any area of practice. There are 6 elements in our code of conduct: integrity, competence, objectivity, confidentiality, moral & legal behaviour and co-operation with the profession’s regulations.
When you engage in a service arrangement with a CPA, ensure you get an engagement letter from the CPA. This letter forms a contract that can clarify the expectations of the parties, including billing protocols, timing of service delivery and documents required to complete the work.
Typically, the public rely on CPAs who provide services to them as clients. When you engage the services of a CPA you should ask lots of questions! Some questions to consider are:
- How long have you been in practice?
- Are you in good standing with CPA Saskatchewan?*
- How many clients do you have like me and my company?
- How long have you practiced at this particular firm?
- In what areas of accounting do you practice as a CPA?
- Will you be working on my file, or can I expect other staff as well?
- When can we meet and what are your hours of operations?
- How much do you charge for your services?
- Approximately how much will your services cost me in total?
- Do you provide your clients with a detailed written statement of fees?
- Do you charge anything for the first meeting?
*Note: CPA Saskatchewan publishes a list of registered firms and their statuses, so you can check your firm online! If you have questions about a firm not included on the list or the firm status, please contact us via email. To verify a CPA’s membership status, please visit our Find a CPAfeature on our website. For information about licensed members or firms, email CPA Licensing.