Certified Public Accountants (1) are members of an independent liberal profession. They take an oath when they begin practice and are obliged to follow the profession's code of ethics
A profession governed by common standards and a code of practice
Certified Public Accountants produce and (in the first instance) certify companies' annual accounts, in accordance with standards laid down by the Order of Accountants. Those standards ensure that the client receives a quality service and that the documents conform to the applicable rules. Certain standards apply to general work while other, more specific standards apply to particular tasks. In dealings with their clients, Certified Public Accountants undertake to maintain professional confidentiality.

Registration with the Order of Certified Public Accountants
Certified Public Accountants must be registered with the Order of Certified Public Accountants, or they may commit the offence of practising unlawfully. A Certified Public Accountant's signature is a form of guarantee, which means that his professional responsibility is engaged for as long as he practises. Whether the Certified Public Accountant practises independently or is an employee of an accounting firm, professional liability insurance is required.

Inspections by the Order of Certified Public Accountants

The Order of Certified Public Accountants oversees the proper application of professional standards, and ensures that the code of practice is followed, by means of quality inspections. These inspections were introduced with a view to harmonizing and improving accountants' working practices and thus offering quality services to clients.

(1) In France, the roles traditionally associated with a "Certified Public Accountant" are performed by the Expert-comptable (accountant and consultant) and the Commissaire aux comptes (auditor). The term "Certified Public Accountant" is used in this document to cover both areas of activity.