Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Partnerships & Corporations (Firms)
What does DBA mean?
DBA is an acronym for "doing business as." An individual who wishes to do business under a name other his or her their legal name registered with the CBA may choose to practice as a partnership, corporation, or under a fictitious name.
What is a Fictitious Name?
A fictitious name is the name style used when an individual or a group chooses to practice under a name style other than its legal name registered with the CBA. A fictitious name must be registered with the CBA.
I am the sole proprietor of a small accounting firm that provides primarily compilation and tax preparation services. I recently registered a fictitious name for my firm with the city and county where I practice. Do I also need to register the fictitious name with the CBA, and is there a fee?
If a CPA or PA wants to practice public accountancy with a name other than the name by which he or she holds a license to practice, under Business and Professions Code Section 5060, a fictitious name application must be approved by the CBA before the name can be used. There is no fee to register a fictitious name.
Can a non-licensee's name be in the name style of the firm if he or she is a shareholder or partner?
Yes. The firm must be registered with the CBA and licensees must comprise the majority of owners except that firms with two owners may have one owner who is a non-licensee (refer to Section 5079 of the California Accountancy Act for additional information).
Does the phrase "An Accountancy Corporation" or "A Professional Corporation" need to be in the name style of the firm?
No. An accountancy professional corporation is no longer required to include this information in its name style.
Can a corporation, partnership, and fictitious name permit have the same name at the same time?
Yes, you may have all three at the same time.
Can I practice under the new name of our firm now that I have applied for licensure or do I have to wait for the CBA's approval?
You may not practice under the firm's new name until you have been notified that the CBA has approved the name.
Does a firm's name on its letterhead and business cards have to read the same as the name registered with the CBA?
If a partner/shareholder is disassociated and the firm's name style includes that partner/shareholder's name, can the firm's name stay the same?
The firm may keep the name style or choose a new name style. Remember to notify the CBA of any name change.
Does "LLP" or "RLLP" need to follow the limited liability partnership's name in the name style?
Do partnerships and corporations need to renew their licenses?
Yes. All partnerships and corporations must renew their firms' licenses every two years.
How long does it take for a corporation or partnership initial license application to be approved?
If the application is complete when submitted, processing time is usually four to six weeks.
Who signs the partnership or corporation license renewal form(s)?
The managing partner or managing shareholder signs the renewal form(s).
Do you need the original Articles of Incorporation from the Secretary of State?
Yes. The original endorsed Articles of Incorporation and one copy should be submitted along with your application.
Is a partnership's license affected if one of the CPA/PA partner's licenses is delinquent?
Yes. If a partnership consists of only two partners, the partnership would be invalid. If the partnership has more than two partners, the partnership would still be valid.
Is a corporation's license affected if one of the CPA/PA shareholder's licenses is delinquent?
Yes. If the corporation is a soleholder corporation, the firm license is not valid. If you have more than two shareholders, then the corporation's license would still be valid.