The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) has gained more importance in the management of private entities in Panama following the enforcement of Law 280 on December 30, 2021. This law expanded the range of functions for accountants and incorporated the adjective "qualified". Now, these professionals, in addition to being licensed in Accounting, require a certificate of qualification as a Certified Public Accountant issued by the Technical Accounting Board.
Currently, the Certified Public Accountant in Panama has become a key figure within registered companies in Panama. Their roles range from managing resources, advising executives on the application of legal accounting standards, to safeguarding the company's assets. Additionally, with Law 254 of November 2021, companies incorporated in Panama must submit the accounting record to the Resident Agent. This financial statement must be endorsed by a qualified Certified Public Accountant.
Functions of a Certified Public Accountant in Panama
Certified Public Accountants in Panama perform various functions, including:
- External and internal auditing, opinion, review, and compilation of financial statements for private entities.
- Verification, supervision, and certification of accounting records.
- Endorsement of income tax declarations for both juridical and natural persons with annual income exceeding USD11,000.
- Independent auditing to prevent money laundering, both in the private and public sectors.
- Serving as expert witnesses in judicial investigations.
- Advisory services in transactions and businesses involving accounting or financial information.
Law 280 also established that all accountants working for public and private companies, without the certificate of qualification, have a period of up to three years to obtain the certificate.
Requirements demanded by the Technical Accounting Board for issuing licenses for Certified Public Accountants and the qualification certificate:
- Power of attorney and application granted to a lawyer.
- Original and certified copy of the accounting university degree certified by the General Secretary of the university where the studies were conducted.
- Birth certificate, copy of the identity card, and two passport-sized photographs.
- Affidavit before a notary.
- Complete payments of USD15 to the calligrapher for creating the letters on the certificate and USD25 for stamps for the issuance of the certificate.