Public accountant (cross-border services)
If you are a public accountant in a member state of the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Iceland and you want to work temporarily or occasionally as an auditor in Germany, the following provisions of the Public Accountant Act (WPO) apply.
There is no obligation to establish a place of business in Germany or to have an address for service in Germany (§ 3 (1) WPO).
First of all you need to differentiate whether you want to perform so-called statutory tasks that are exclusively reserved for public accountants (final examination according to the German Commercial Code, etc.) or whether you want to provide miscellaneous services (especially tax consultancy services).
Which are the statutory tasks of public accountants?
The main statutory task of public accountants is auditing of the annual statutory audit of large companies and issuing of an audit opinion in accordance with §§ 319 in conjunction with 267 (3) of the German Commercial Code.
Which tasks are covered by "miscellaneous services"?
Services that are referred to as miscellaneous services can be performed by both public accountants and tax accountants and are subject to the professional regulations for tax consultants, including but not limited to § 3 a of the Tax Consultancy Act.
What else needs to be considered with regard to the "statutory tasks"?
You can only perform statutory tasks if you have been appointed as public accountant by the Chamber of Public Accountants (§ 15 of the Public Accountant Act) and if your name was added to the professional register (§ 38 of the Public Accountant Act). However, public accountants being registered in a EU member state, Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Iceland can perform a simplified aptitude test in accordance with §§ 131 g to 131 m of the Public Accountant Act.
The competent authority for accepting registration applications and adding applicants to the professional register is the Chamber of Public Accountants.
Applications may also be directed to the Point of Single Contact Schleswig-Holstein.
- In accordance with § 28 (2) of the Public Accountant Act, public accountants from an EU member state, Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Iceland can be legal representatives of an audit firm in Germany.
- An amendment of the current legal provisions will probably come into force on 17 June 2016 (Printed matter of the Federal Assembly 593/15 dated 4 December 2015). According to the amended sections §§ 131 to 131 b of the Public Accountant Act, audit firms being registered in an EU member state, Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, or Iceland are allowed to exercise statutory tasks in Germany after registration with the Chamber of Public Accountants and under the professional title of their home state if audits are made in cooperation with a partner who is an approved auditor in Germany and who will assume responsibility for the audit.
to the Printed matter of the Federal Assembly 593/15