Aspects of daily life

Professional titles in company names

In order to be able to use specific professional titles in their name, companies and organisations of freelancers in professions with licence requirements have to comply with additional statutory regulations in addition to the general requirements for starting up a company. Examples of these are:

  • Architect
    The title "Architect" or a corresponding combination of words in the name of a partnership or limited liability company (GmbH) may only be used under certain conditions. In the case of partnerships, at least one member of the partnership has to be registered in the list of architects. A GmbH may only use the title in its name, if the shareholders who are archtiects have at least one quarter of the voting rights, the company only works in the field of architecture and the company is registered with the Architectural Association.
  • Legal firm
    Limited liability companies, whose business purpose is to advise and represent their clients in legal matters, use the name "Legal Firm", if they are admitted as such to the Bar Association. The managing director and shareholders are exclusively lawyers. When naming the firm, they have to take into account that at least the name of one of the shareholders has to be listed alongside the title.
  • Tax consulting firm
    Public limited companies, commercial partnerships limited by shares, limited liability companies, general commercial partnerships, limited commercial partnerships and partnership companies can use the title "Tax Consulting Firm", if they are recognised by the Chamber of Tax Consultants. The members of the board, the managing directors or the shareholders are normally tax consultants – they could also be e.g. lawyers, auditors or tax agents. Alongside the description, the professional titles of all the professions represented in the partnership also have to be listed in the name (exception: partnership companies).
  • Environmental assessment organisation
    An accredited environmental assessment organisation may use the description “Environmental Assessor” in its name, if at least one third of the general partners or partners, managing directors or board members are registered as environmental assessors or the company consists of an environmental assessor and employees with certificates proving their expert knowledge. The licence has to be issued by the relevant licence authority
  • Audit firm
    Public limited companies, European companies (SE) commercial partnerships limited by shares, limited liability companies, general commercial partnerships, limited commercial partnerships and partnership companies can use the title "Audit Firm", if they are recognised by the Chamber of Auditors. The majority of the members of the board, the managing directors, the general partners or the partners have to be auditors or auditors of annual accounts registered in the EU (alongside them e.g. lawyers, tax consultants or tax agents can also be legal representatives of the company). Alongside the description “Audit Firm”, the professional titles of all the professions represented in the partnership also have to be listed (exception: partnership companies).

Release note

The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Wirtschaftsministerium and the Umweltministerium released it on 07.07.2017. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts. In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.