Public practice is governed by the Accountants Act 1967, Membership and Council Rules 2001 and MIA By-Laws (On Professional Ethics, Conduct and Practice).
Under the Act, the person must be a member of the Institute, and is prohibited from public practice through a body corporate except where it is allowed by other statutes for limited areas of public practice, such as provision of tax services, corporate secretarial services and even as investment advisors.
A member, in most instances, is allowed to be engaged in public practice as a sole practitioner or in partnership only with another member(s) as the Act and By-Laws prohibits the sharing of profits with non-members. All firms in public practice are described as firms of chartered accountants.
Only members registered as chartered accountants with valid practising certificate can describe and hold themselves out as chartered accountants in public practice and are able to set up firms providing public practice services.
Public Practice services includes:
- auditing including internal auditing;
- accounting and all forms of accounting related consultancy;
- accounting related investigations or due diligence;
- forensic accounting;
- taxation, tax advice and consultancy;
- costing and management accounting;
- insolvency, liquidation and receiverships;
- provision of management information systems and internal controls;
- provision of secretarial services under the Companies Act 2016]; or
- such other services as the Council may from time to time prescribe.
Members also must have their principal or only place of residence in Malaysia to be in public practice in Malaysia.
Members who wish to set up a practice must first obtain the approval of the MIA on the use of the firm’s name. There are 2 types of firms which are audit and non-audit.
Professionals governed under their respective acts are exempted from premise licensing under Section 102 (s) of Local Government Act and Licensing of Trades, Businesses and Industries (Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur) By-Laws 2016. Hence, audit and non-audit firms of Chartered Accountants under the Accountants Act, 1967 are exempted from premise licence requirements by the local Council. However, the signboard licence is still applicable.