Global Accounting Alliance

ICAS is a founding member of the Global Accounting Alliance (GAA), formed to provide thought leadership on accounting issues, coordinate interaction with regulatory bodies and use the combined knowledge of accountants around the globe in the public interest.

The articles from the latest issues of GAA Accounting are published online.

Our own Chief Executive, Anton Colella is Chair of the umbrella body which represents more than 1,000,000 accountants around the world.

ICAS and the other 10 membership bodies of the GAA collaborate closely to ensure we speak together and are a leading voice on the key international issues that surround our profession.

The shared expertise of the GAA is a gateway for accountants to grow and develop in what is becoming one of the first professions to be truly global.

The GAA comprises 10 of the world's premier accountancy bodies:

Using your GAA passport

Members of any GAA institutes living or working in the UK can register with ICAS and enjoy many of the same benefits as ICAS members under the GAA passport scheme. Registration is free of charge.

ICAS are currently reviewing our GAA passport benefits. If you are interested in registering with us as a GAA member, please contact our International team.

Registering as GAA passport member with ICAS does not confer membership of ICAS. If you wish to join ICAS and become a CA, you may be eligible to join through a reciprocal membership route, or via an accelerated entry scheme.

GAA passport for ICAS members

If you are an ICAS member who has moved overseas to Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa or the USA, you can register with your local GAA body and enjoy many of the same benefits that are available for local members.

Find out more about the facilities and services available for ICAS members living outside the UK.

Frequently asked questions about ICAS membership

1. How can I become a CA?

To study for the CA qualification you enter into a training contract with an ICAS authorised employer. This contract is in addition to your terms and conditions of employment and is an agreement between you, ICAS and your employer.

There are different routes to becoming a CA which include:

2. Is there an accelerated pathway and/or mutual recognition for members of GAA institutes?

ICAS currently has a direct reciprocal membership arrangement in place with six international accounting bodies, allowing you to join us without taking any additional exams.

Eligibility for Membership

If you want to join through a reciprocal arrangement, you must be a member of one of the following bodies, having qualified through the normal examination routes:

If you are a member of any other accountancy body, or you gained admission to one of the above bodies through a reciprocal arrangement or pathway route, you will not be eligible for admission to membership through the reciprocal route. You should contact CA Education to discuss your options for membership.

Application Requirements

To apply for reciprocal membership, you will be required submit the following documentation:

  • Application form for Reciprocal Membership completed fully and signed
  • Letter of Good Standing from your original qualifying institute confirming your route of entry and any disciplinary history
  • Copy of your Academic Transcript from your original qualifying institute
  • A covering letter explaining why you would like to join ICAS as a reciprocal member

Members of all institutes other than ICAEW and CAI must also provide:

  • Two letters of reference from current ICAS members who know you personally. The letter should include the membership number of your referee.

You will also be required to pay the admission fee and the annual subscription fee applicable at the time of entry. Admission is on fixed dates throughout the year and you will need to submit your application in full in advance of the closing date.

To request an application pack including the application form and details of current fees and charges, please contact Central Registry.

Practice Rights

Please note that reciprocal membership does not grant any UK practice rights. For example, it does not grant you the right to sign off UK audits. If you require practice rights, you will need to apply for the special entry route by contacting CA Education.

3. Will I be able to use the description ‘Chartered Accountants’?

ICAS has now introduced processes through which Firms can use the description ‘Chartered Accountants’.

A Firm is eligible to use the description ‘Chartered Accountants’ if more than 50% of the Firm’s principals are Chartered Accountants i.e. members of ICAS, ICAEW or ICAI, and may use the designation ‘Chartered Accountants’ without applying to ICAS for permission. If exactly 50% of the principals are Chartered Accountants, the Firm may only use the designation if ICAS has formally consented in writing.

Any principal in an eligible Firm who is not a Chartered Accountant must either apply to ICAS to become an Affiliate, or must sign an undertaking to be bound by ICAS’ Rules, Regulations and Code of Ethics, in the same way as ICAS Members and Affiliates.

4. What restrictions, if any, are there on the use of the description ‘Chartered Accountants’?

‘Chartered Accountants’ may only be used as a description and must not form part of the registered name of the Firm. A Firm which has ‘Chartered Accountants’ in its registered name will be asked to change the name immediately.

5. Will I be able to use the designatory letters ’CA’?

ICAS has now introduced processes through which Firms can use the designatory letters ‘CA’.

The designatory letters ‘CA’ are the exclusive privilege of all ICAS Members and may be used by individual Members upon admission to Membership.   In order to be eligible to use the letters in its trading name, a Firm meet the following criteria:

  • At least 50% of the principals of the Firm must be ICAS Members
  • The ICAS Members must have management and voting control of the firm.
  • Any principal who is not an ICAS Member or Affiliate, and is not a member of either ICAEW or ICAI, must sign an undertaking to be bound by ICAS’ Rules, Regulations and Code of Ethics, in the same way as ICAS Members and Affiliates

Firms which satisfy the eligibility criteria may only use ‘CA’ in the Firm’s trading name if a licence to do so is granted by ICAS.   In order to obtain a licence, the Firm must complete and submit a licence application to ICAS.   If granted, the licence agreement will set out the terms and conditions under which the wording may be used.

If your firm wish to apply for permission to adopt of the designatory letters ’CA’ please see following page 'Use of Description CA or ICAS Logo' for the application form, guidance notes and the relevant terms and conditions of use.

6. What restrictions, if any, are there on the use of the designatory letters ’CA’?

As with the description ‘Chartered Accountants’, Firms are not allowed to include the designatory letters ‘CA’ in the registered name of the Firm.  A Firm which has ‘CA’ in its registered name will be asked to change the name immediately.

7. How can I obtain a public practice licence (‘Practising Certificate’)?

A Practising Certificate (PC) is required when a member engages in practice. A member engages in practice when he or she provides, or holds him or herself out to provide, such services to the public either personally or through a firm.

Practising Certificates are valid for the calendar year or the balance of the calendar year for which they are issued and must be applied for annually after the initial grant.

The Practising Certificate does not of itself convey the right to practice in the reserved areas of insolvency or audit. Please see section 12 below for further information.

If you would like to apply for a PC you will need to:

  • Complete and submit an Initial Practising Certificate Application Form
  • Enclose an up-to-date CV (to consider whether you have relevant experience in the areas you intend to provide to the public)
  • Provide information on your firm's professional indemnity insurance (PII)
  • Submit one character reference and one technical reference
  • Confirm you have attended or will attend the Practice Management Course within the first 12 months
  • Pay the required PC fee

Once a member has obtained a practising certificate, they must comply with the Public Practice Regulations.

8. What are the licence requirements for someone in public practice?

You will need to meet the following requirements:

ICAS' Practice Management course is a mandatory requirement for all PC holders once every five years. This course should be of benefit to all PC Holders and provide a full regulatory and technical update as well as allowing the opportunity to meet fellow practitioners and members of the ICAS team. All new PC holders will need to attend the morning session of the course within 12 months of obtaining their PC.

Your PC requires to be renewed annually and this is now done through your Members Annual Return.  You will be notified that the return is ready to complete around November each year and the deadline for submission is usually 31 December each year.

9. Are there additional requirements for speciality practitioners such as Insolvency or Audit?

The Practising Certificate does not of itself convey the right to practice in the reserved areas of insolvency or audit.

10. What is required of accountants in industry (i.e. CAs not in public practice)?

There are no specific additional requirements for those not in public practice, as all requirements for CAs in industry are met through the qualification process.

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