CPA in Greece refers to the acronym defining the certified public accountants, which represent a branch of accountancy in Greece.
The public accountant does similar work activities as the regular accountant, the one who provides his or her services to commercial companies and to individuals, but there are few important differences, which can be explained by our specialists in company formation in Greece.
In other words, it must be known that all CPAs are accountants and they can provide basic accounting services for those who want to open a company in Greece, such as local and foreign investors, but on the other hand, not all accountants are CPAs.
Becoming a CPA requires a higher level of professional skills and more accreditations, which can allow the accountant to perform more complex accounting activities, offered to more complex structures, such as public institutions.
Definition of a CPA in Greece
A CPA refers to an accountant who has additional certifications compared to a regular accountat. The CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant, entitled to provide complex accounting services to commercial and public institutions.
Activities of a CPA
Although the CPA can develop basic accounting operations, such as bookkeeping and payroll, usually, the CPA in Greece will handle complex matters such as audits, prepare financial reports for large companies, offer tax consultancy services and investment advice.
Law regulating accounting procedures in Greece
Law 4308/2014, Law 4336/2016, Law 4449/2017, the Presidential Decree No. 226/1992
Main regulator of accounting procedures
The Ministry of Finance and the Hellenic Accounting and Auditing Standards Oversight Board
Accounting principles in Greece
The Greek General Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)
Audit law in Greece
Law 4336/2016, Law 4449/2017
Thresholds for audit in Greece
Reach 2 out of the following 3 - a net turnover of EUR 8 million, total assets of EUR 4 million, an average number of 50 employees
Education requirements for a CPA
The minimum requirement for a CPA in Greece is to have completed tertiary studies (bachelor degree) in the field (accounting, finance, etc.). Further on, the accountant needs to have specific certifications and qualifications obtained as masters degree and additional licenses.
Certification of Greek CPA required (yes/no)
Institution to issue certifications
The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Greece, in charge with the examination of future CPAs and the licensing of successful CPAs.
Main criteria for corporate reporting in Greece
The main aspects which influence the type of reporting a company should follow and the documents to prepare are influenced by the size of the company, the turnover and assets held, but also by the company type.
The financial year in Greece
The same as the calendar year - 1 January to 31 December
Reporting periods in Greece
30 June/ 31 December
Main financial reports documents required in Greece
The financial reports are the financial statements which are comprised of the following: audit's report, notes, directors' reports, balance sheet, cash flow statement, profit and loss report, equity statement. The submission of the documents varies based on the company type and its characteristics referring to its size, assets and turnover.
Entities that should use the services of a CPA
The services of a CPA in Greece are best suited for large companies, multinational companies and public entities.
What are the main activities of a CPA in Greece?
The CPA is entitled to complete basic accounting documents and to provide simple accountancy in Greece, that can serve to see the financial situation of a company or of a public entity.
This is one of the main activities of all accountants, but in the case of a CPA, the list of activities allowed to develop is much more complex.
For instance, the CPA is entitled to provide tax advice in relation toGreek double tax treaties and tax planning to companies and other corporate bodies, meaning that the CPA can act as a tax advisor. The CPA can represent the company in matters of audit and other similar procedures that can assess the financial status of a business.
Through the services of the CPA, a company can find better solutions in order to reduce the tax burden or to find better solutions for the business. These services can also include VAT registration.
A simple accountant does not have the right to offer tax consultancy services, as his or her main job is to provide an accurate image of the company’s finances and to prepare the financial documents as per the requirements of the Greek law, and then submit them in due time.
We invite you to watch a short video on the CPA in Greece:
The CPA in Greece can also act as the person who offers management advice, in the sense that the CPA can advise the company’s management structure and shareholders on the most effective ways to invest the company’s money.
The CPA can provide better solutions in budgeting, offer risk management solutions and help in matters related to the real estate belonging to the company or to any other real estate investments.
In this sense, you can always rely on our team of specialists in Greek company formation, as they also have expertise in these fields, besides offering company incorporation services to local and foreign clients (registering the company, obtaining certificates, licenses and permits, etc.).
How can a person become a CPA in Greece?
An accountant can start his or her activities even with a high-school diploma that certifies the person in developing this activity (after graduating from a school that has accountancy in Greece as a specialization).
For becoming a CPA, a university degree is mandatory, regardless if the person has graduated from a local or foreign university.
Graduating from tertiary studies is the main requirement, but the accountant can truly become a CPA in Greece only after passing an examination held by the main institution which regulates this profession. For this, it is necessary to obtain a certification from the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Greece.
Persons who register for the examination will have to follow a basic course provided by the institution, created in accordance with the European Union’s law. In the list below, you can discover some of the main requirements in order to become a CPA in Greece:
• the accountant who wants to become a CPA must have a bachelor degree in accordance with the Law 4449/Article 7;
• all CPAs must pass the examination held by the above mentioned institute, in accordance with the Law 4449/Article 9;
• after passing the examination, the CPAs must have a total practice experience of 5 years, according to the Law 4449/Article 11;
• it must be noted that on yearly basis, approximately 1,000-1,100 people apply for the professional examination, but only 200 become trainees after the examination;
• in April 2020, Greece had a total of 917 registered CPAs.
What is the law on accounting in Greece?
The CPA in Greece is required to follow the national law on accounting. As a member of the European Union (EU), Greece has implemented in its national accounting and tax laws the directives of the EU.
Greece also applies the reporting procedures and auditing procedures required by the EU. Greece applies different accounting procedures based on the size of a company.
This is an important matter for any investor wishing to open a company in Greece. The reporting requirements are also different based on several factors, as presented below:
the number of employees;
the value of the assets owned by the company;
the value of the annual turnover.
Greece applies the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) following the EU model. This model must be used by several types of companies, as presented below:
All these 4 categories are known as public interest entities. For these categories of companies, it is highly advised to request the professional assistance of a CPA in Greece, as this category of accountants is one of the main types of accountants that is qualified to provide accounting services.
The obligation to follow the EU IFRS model is also applied for other categories of companies and our consultants can provide more information.
Outside of the companies that are regulated under the law to follow the IFRS model, all other business entities must follow the Greek General Accepted Accounting Principles.
In general, it must be noted that companies which are required to follow the IFRS model must also complete audit procedures. Our CPA in Greece can provide in-depth information on the procedures that are completed during an audit.
The obligation to comply with an audit appears when any of the companies following the IFRS model meets the following:
average number of employees – 50 persons;
total corporate assets – EUR 4 million;
net turnover – EUR 8 million.
The audit obligation is imposed when a company meets any 2 of the 3 conditions stated above for a period of 2 consecutive financial years.
An audit in Greece is completed following the rules and the regulations prescribed by the Law 4449/2017, which follows the EU directives.
Our CPA in Greece can present additional information concerning audit procedures. Please mind that the accounting standards applicable in this country fall under the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance.
What institutions regulate the activity of Greek CPA?
The same institution is involved in any legal issues concerning the activity of a CPA in Greece.
For example, any matter related to the activity of a CPA, including the investigation of the activity of a CPA, is handled by the Hellenic Accounting and Auditing Standards Oversight Board, which is a body that works under the Ministry of Finance.
This institution has the right to oversee the activity of a CPA in Greece and to take any disciplinary measures against the activity of a CPA, when necessary, in accordance with the stipulations of the Law 4449/2017.
When sanctions have to be applied, the Disciplinary Board of the Hellenic Accounting and Auditing Standards Oversight Board will establish the necessary measures.
Meanwhile, the activity of a CPA in Greece that is considered illicit or which may have not followed the accounting regulations applicable here will be investigated by the Quality Control Board.
Please contact us if you need further information on any other issue concerning the activities of accountants in Greece, as well as on the law regulating accounting formalities, reporting and other obligations applicable to corporate entities.
For businessmen who want to open a company in Greece as a small business, the services of regular accountant can be sufficient, but for those who want to start a large company, the services of a CPA will be necessary.
The same applies for investors who want to register a public company. In all cases, we invite you to contact our team of consultants in company registration in Greece for more information on the main corporate accounting services that can be offered to businesses.
Federico Richardson is our company formation expert in Greece and the founder of Lexidy Law Boutique SLP. He can assist clients with the entire company registration procedure in Greece.
Call us now at +302111995654to set up an appointment with our lawyers in Athens, Greece. Alternatively you can incorporate your company without traveling to Greece.
As a Lexidy Law Boutique SLP client, you will beneficiate from the joint expertize of local lawyers and international consultants. Together we will be able to offer you the specialized help you require for your business start-up in Greece.