The practice of public accounting in Illinois is governed by the Illinois Public Accounting Act
and the Illinois Administrative Code
, which, as of 2016, incorporates the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct
as its minimum standard for professional conduct (ILAC Section 1420.200).
An individual license and a license for all firms are required. An individual license is all that is required for a sole practitioner, unless the firm name suggests the firm consists of more than one person (such as "and associates" or "and company"). Learn more about licensing.
Other Forms of Organization
If your firm is a partnership, LLP, LLC, or sole practitioner with a firm name that suggests more than one person as noted above and is performing an audit or review of historical financial statements or examination of prospective financial statements (i.e., “licensed services”), you will need to obtain a separate Public Accounting Firm license before issuing the accountant’s or auditor’s report on any such engagement.
An application for Public Accounting Firm license may be downloaded from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation website.
Firms and sole practitioners performing the services listed above must enroll in an approved peer review program and satisfactorily complete a peer review for license renewal purposes. Thus, if your firm is engaged to perform any of the services listed above, it will need to enroll in an approved peer review program and satisfactorily complete a peer review within 18 months of the client period-end of your firm’s first licensed service.
If you are a member of the AICPA, your firm will be subject to peer review if you perform any accounting or auditing engagements (including compilation and agreed upon procedure engagements). Thus, if your firm is engaged to perform any accounting or auditing engagement, it will need to enroll in an approved peer review program and satisfactorily complete a peer review within 18 months of the client period-end of your firm’s first accounting or auditing engagement. An AICPA Public Accounting Firm Creation Form (PDF) may be downloaded from the AICPA website.
Form of Organization and Name
See AICPA Code of Professional Conduct
If an entity continues as a partnership, LLP, LLC, etc. with more than one owner, the firm name does not need to be changed and may include the name(s) of former owners (e.g. PriceWaterhouseCoopers).
Are you considering doing work in another state? If so, check out CPAmobility.org, an online tool to help CPAs navigate the practice privilege requirements that allow CPAs to more easily practice across state borders. CPAmobility.org is a joint venture of the AICPA and NASBA.
Firm mobility generates a level playing field across the states, ensures public protection without unnecessary paperwork, and reflects the ways in which CPAs and CPA firms operate.
Firm mobility, which became effective in Illinois on August 25, 2017, allows CPA firms which do not have a physical presence in Illinois to operate in Illinois without registering the firm or paying new fees providing they meet the peer review requirements and non-CPA ownership requirements of Illinois.
Starting a Practice