Business or Firm

Forming a Corporate Business Entity

In order for architects to form a corporate business entity in California, they must register the name of that entity with the office of the Secretary of State (SoS). Once that entity is registered, every licensee within the firm must submit a Business Entity Report Form (BERF) indicating the business entity through which they are performing architectural services.

In the last several months, it has been brought to the attention of the Board that the SoS is not approving certain architectural firm names. Architects are able to form either a Professional Corporation (PC) or a General Stock Corporation. Professional Corporations have always needed to comply with the Naming Restrictions described in Business and Professions Code section 5610.3. General Stock Corporations have never had naming restrictions imposed by the Board.

As the Board does not have jurisdiction over corporate names, the Board contacted SoS for guidance. The SoS indicated that they reject names that are likely to mislead the public in thinking the corporations is a professional corporation. Therefore, the use of words such as "Architect", "Architecture", etc. in names will likely not be accepted.


The Board has compiled the following resources that may be helpful in starting a business in California: