Professional Qualifications Act 2022
In accordance with section 8 of the Professional Qualifications Act 2022, ICAS as a Recognised Supervisory Body is required to publish information on requirements for ICAS Members to practice in the United Kingdom.
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. Such examples of practice may include:
- Becoming a principal in an accountancy firm;
- Independently offering accountancy or related services to the public;
- Being an insolvency permit licence holder; or
- Being a responsible individual as either a principal or employee in a registered audit firm under the Audit Regulations.
Experience and qualifications
An ICAS Member seeking to practice in the United Kingdom must have completed a training agreement with an approved employer through a standard ICAS pathway. This includes completion of a minimum of 450 days relevant practical experience. More information on ICAS’s standard pathways to CA membership can be found here.
Alternative routes to membership
ICAS offers alternative routes to membership for those individuals holding other accounting qualifications. Such routes are defined as special entrant pathways. The experience and qualification requirements for such individuals varies depending on the existence of any formal reciprocal or mutual recognition agreement between ICAS and the other accounting qualifying body. Further information on the such routes and the process for applying for ICAS membership can be found here.
The awarding of ICAS membership through such alternative routes does not automatically confer a right to practice and all ICAS Members must obtain a Practicing Certificate and meet any prescribed additional experience requirements, including where applicable those required to achieve the audit qualification, as noted below.
In the last six months (as at 13 October 2022) eight individuals applied, and were awarded, a Practicing Certificate following completion of a special entrant pathway. All individuals held a recognised international accounting qualification and an undergraduate degree.
A Practicing Certificate (PC) is required when an ICAS Member engages in practice. Practice is the provision of services including accounting and related services for which the relevant skills have been acquired by a member by reason of his or her training and qualification, to persons other than his or her employer.
The application process for ICAS Member’s seeking a Practicing Certificate as well as ICAS’ Public Practice Regulations can be found here.
ICAS audit qualification
Any ICAS Member wishing to be a Responsible Individual for audit must have gained both the UK audit qualification and a Practicing Certificate. ICAS is a Recognised Qualifying Body under the UK Companies Act and is entitled to award the audit qualification in the UK. The attainment of the CA Qualification does not automatically entitle the ICAS Member to the UK audit qualification. The CA Qualification does meet the theoretical requirements of the UK Companies Act, however, a minimum of 210 days of UK audit experience is also required (including at least 105 days of UK statutory audit) to be recorded within an ICAS Achievement Log to meet the relevant practical experience requirements to achieve the UK audit qualification.
In the event that the CA Student Member does not obtain the minimum audit experience requirements during their Training Agreement, they may still be awarded the UK audit qualification on completion of any outstanding audit experience requirements post qualification. A separate Achievement Log will need to be completed, approved by a recognised counselling member and submitted to ICAS for review and approval.
This Achievement Log is separate from the ICAS Member’s main Achievement Log completed as part of the CA Qualification and should be requested by emailing email@example.com.
A firm can only accept appointment as an auditor if it is a Registered Auditor. In the UK, ICAS registers firms to act as Registered Auditors, rather than individual persons. A Registered Auditor is a firm that is registered with a Recognised Supervisory Body (RSB) and is eligible to be appointed as a Statutory Auditor to undertake regulated audit work.
Each person responsible for audits and signing audit reports in the audit firm must be a Responsible Individual (RI).
The application process for registration as a registered auditor and individuals seeking responsible individual status can be found here.
The Register of Statutory Auditors contains information on Statutory Auditors and Audit Firms in the UK and can be found here.
Details of current regulatory fees, including those relating to practicing and audit registration can be found here.
Continuing professional development (CPD) and mandatory training
All ICAS Members, including those in practice, are required to maintain continuing professional development. ICAS promotes CPD as a mandatory part of good professional practice and a fundamental principle of professional ethics. For the public and employers, CPD provides the reassurance that as individuals, and as a profession, Chartered Accountants are committed to upholding standards. More information on ICAS’s CPD requirements can be found here.
ICAS Members who are Audit Compliance Principals or Responsible Individuals must also complete ICAS’ mandatory audit course: Keeping Audit on the Right Track. This course aims to educate Audit Compliance Principals (ACPs) and Responsible Individuals (RIs) in developing a strong compliance function and preventing some of the recurring issues identified on audit monitoring visits. More information the course requirements can be found here.
Other regulatory bodies
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and Chartered Accountants Ireland, as recognised supervisory bodies, also regulate statutory auditors in the UK.