Business and Professions Code – BPC § 5051

BPC § 5051. Practice of public accountancy

Except as provided in Sections 5052 and 5053, a person shall be deemed to be engaged in the practice of public accountancy within the meaning and intent of this chapter if he or she does any of the following:

(a) Holds himself or herself out to the public in any manner as one skilled in the knowledge, science, and practice of accounting, and as qualified and ready to render professional service therein as a public accountant for compensation.

(b) Maintains an office for the transaction of business as a public accountant.

(c) Offers to prospective clients to perform for compensation, or who does perform on behalf of clients for compensation, professional services that involve or require an audit, examination, verification, investigation, certification, presentation, or review of financial transactions and accounting records.

(d) Prepares or certifies for clients reports on audits or examinations of books or records of account, balance sheets, and other financial, accounting and related schedules, exhibits, statements, or reports that are to be used for publication, for the purpose of obtaining credit, for filing with a court of law or with any governmental agency, or for any other purpose.

(e) In general or as an incident to that work, renders professional services to clients for compensation in any or all matters relating to accounting procedure and to the recording, presentation, or certification of financial information or data.

(f) Keeps books, makes trial balances, or prepares statements, makes audits, or prepares reports, all as a part of bookkeeping operations for clients.

(g) Prepares or signs, as the tax preparer, tax returns for clients.

(h) Prepares personal financial or investment plans or provides to clients products or services of others in implementation of personal financial or investment plans.

(i) Provides management consulting services to clients.
The activities set forth in subdivisions (f) to (i), inclusive, are “public accountancy” only when performed by a certified public accountant or public accountant, as defined in this chapter.
A person is not engaged in the practice of public accountancy if the only services he or she engages in are those defined by subdivisions (f) to (i), inclusive, and he or she does not hold himself or herself out, solicit, or advertise for clients using the certified public accountant or public accountant designation. A person is not holding himself or herself out, soliciting, or advertising for clients within the meaning of this section solely by reason of displaying a CPA or PA certificate in his or her office or identifying himself or herself as a CPA or PA on other than signs, advertisements, letterhead, business cards, publications directed to clients or potential clients, or financial or tax documents of a client.


Added Stats 1945 ch 1353 § 2, as B & P C § 5061. Amended and renumbered by Stats 1959 ch 310 § 35; Amended Stats 1989 ch 489 § 2; Stats 1998 ch 485 § 3 (AB 2803).

BPC Section 5051