Profession Launches New Restricted Domain



Last year, the AICPA began the process of attaining the .cpa extension as a restricted internet domain for exclusive use within the profession from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The organization’s CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, said the move to obtain the domain for the profession would, “…help promote CPAs’ visibility and protect their professional standing online.”  

Indeed, CPAs are only the latest industry to join the paradigm shift toward ‘not coms’ which has steadily been climbing since 2014. At the time, the focus of TLDs came primarily from the marketing perspective, according to Inc; a way to secure a domain that was already taken in the .com arena. The focus of the .cpa domain in 2020, however, revolves around not only brand recognition, but security and resistance to Internet fraud as well1.  

In a press release on Sept. 1, announcing the launch of .cpa, Melancon said, “Trust is a crucial commodity in business and on the Internet…The .cpa domain will signal you’re doing business with a licensed CPA firm or individual CPA so it provides an additional level of trust, security and brand recognition in online interactions.”  

The launch of this new domain is exciting news for many CPAs, however, the initial period of application from now until Oct. 31 is reserved for licensed firms only. Individual CPAs will have to wait until January of next year to begin the application process for their own restricted domain. So, is the wait for and investment in a .cpa extension worth it? 

According to Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of, the new restricted domain offers several advantages. In a self-penned article published by the Journal of Accountancy, Asgeirsson cites branding and security, but also emphasizes the restricted domain’s ability to enhance trust among clients and the public. Additionally, he states the new domain will demonstrate a firm’s progression and understanding of the digital sphere2.  

“Restricted or protected domains such as .cpa are part of the next, more secure generation of the Internet, what I like to think of as Internet 2.0,” Asgeirsson wrote. “A recent Ponemon Institute survey found that 57% of small businesses reported instances of phishing or social engineering attacks in the past 12 months, many tied to fraudulent look-alike or spoofed domain addresses…Since trust is an essential component of the CPA profession, we’re early movers on this adoption curve.” 

The MICPA agrees that the .cpa domain is a major benefit and value add to the profession, especially in terms of security and guarding trust. By limiting access to this domain to licensed practitioners within the accounting industry, this not-com adds one more protective layer between your clients and fraudsters.  

To learn more about the .cpa domain, the AICPA and have provided a position paper and an explanatory video which will further explain the benefits of a .cpa domain. Firms interested in acquiring their restricted domain can apply for theirs at now, and will receive the outcome of their domain assignment in early November.

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Source: MICPA

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