Guidance to applicants for authorisation as an external accounting firm
Published: 27 November 2017
Last updated: 17 January 2022
New External Accountants Act from 2023
New External Accountants Act entered into force from 1. January 2023. The information on the website applies to the previous External Accountants Act. We are working on updating the information.
1. Application for authorisation as an external accounting firm
The requirements to be met for authorisation as an external accountant are set out in Act of 18 June 1993 No. 109 on Authorisation of External Accountants (External Accountants Act), section 6.
A specific application form (in Norwegian only) must be used.
2. Conditions for authorisation
2.1 External accounting firms
An external accounting firm shall:
- have a chief executive officer who is an authorised external accountant
- have as its mission the keeping of accounting records for others
- be financially trustworthy
- have a fixed place of business in Norway
An external accounting firm is required to designate a specific authorised external accountant as responsible for an engagement, in accordance with the External Accountants Act section 3 first subsection.
2.2 Exemption from the requirement for a chief executive officer
Regulations of 8 February 1999 No. 196 on the authorisation of external accountants etc. (external accountants regulations) section 1-3 set out exemptions from the requirement for a chief executive officer who is an authorised external accountant.
An authorised external accounting firm may have a chief executive officer who is not an authorised external accountant if the following conditions are met:
- the firm does not engage in activity other than external accounting
- the firm has at least 20 FTEs
- the firm has an authorised external accountant to head its external accounting business
- the head of the external accounting business is an employee of the firm, and
- the firm has written policies for the tasks of the head of the accounting business and the latter's reporting to the chief executive officer
2.2.1 Co-operative housing associations and firms of lawyers
Co-operative housing associations and firms of lawyers engaged in business under licences issued under the Courts of Justice Act section 220 may be granted authorisation as external accounting firms provided they fulfil the conditions of the External Accountants Regulations section 1-3 first subsection nos. 3, 4 and 6.
2.2.2 Enclosures to an application for authorisation under the External Accountants Regulations section 1-3
If a firm applies for authorisation on the basis of dispensation pursuant to law, the application must be accompanied by a statement to the effect that the conditions of the External Accountants Regulations section 1-3 are met. The designated head of the external accounting business must be identified. The written policies for reporting by the head of the external accounting to the chief executive officer must also be enclosed; see section 1-3 first subsection no. 6.