Types of complaints and their processes

This page lists the types of complaints and the process surrounding each. If you wish to bring a complaint against and ICAS member, please see our page on Complaints information for member of the Public.

Fee complaints

ICAS will not consider a complaint that involves a fee dispute between an ICAS Member and a client over the amount of a fee that has been charged. This is considered to be a commercial matter that should be resolved in court, if required. We do not recommend a scale of fees/charge out rates for our Members.

ICAS may be able to consider a complaint which relates to a Member's conduct in charging a fee, e.g. if you have been misled over a fee or if you have been charged for work which has not been completed.  ICAS Members must meet certain ethical standards when dealing with fees (as stated in Section 240 of the ICAS Code of Ethics).

Although ICAS does not intervene in fee disputes; we do offer an arbitration service. The Fee Arbitration Scheme offers a quick and effective method of resolving fee complaints. Arbiters are appointed to act as Auditors of Fees and their findings are binding on the parties. Please read the guide that provides Detailed information on the scheme.

Download Fee arbitration scheme guide PDF [2,183 KB]

Insolvency complaints

If your complaint relates to an insolvency matter then you should raise this with the Insolvency Practitioner in the first instance, as they may be able to deal with your complaint to your satisfaction. Insolvency Practitioners must act in accordance with certain laws and guidance.  If you are unhappy with the process that has been followed then it is unlikely that ICAS will be able to assist you. ICAS will not become involved in the day-to-day administration of an insolvency case and do not have the power to change an Insolvency Practitioner's decision.

Complaints against Insolvency Practitioners need to be submitted to the Insolvency Service in the first instance.  Further information can be found on bis.gov.uk

Complaints against Firms

You should raise your concerns with the Firm in the first instance. If you cannot resolve matters then you can complain to ICAS.  Please note that most of our complaints are directed at individual Members.

We can consider a complaint against a Firm if it relates to work in certain regulated areas:

  • Audit: we can consider a complaint that involves audit work if the Firm concerned is authorised by ICAS to carry out audit work.  If you do not know who authorises the Firm then you should ask directly.
  • Investment business: if the Firm concerned is authorised by the Financial Services Authority then you should speak to that body.  If the Firm provides investment advice on a smaller scale then it may be authorised by ICAS as a 'Designated Professional Body'. While we can consider complaints against such Firms, please note that we cannot award compensation.

Your complaint may also be directed against the firm if it relates to firm-wide compliance issues (e.g. AML, Client Money Regulations) or breaches made by a non-CA principal or senior employee.

Public interest complaints

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) acts as an independent disciplinary body for accountants, accountancy firms and actuaries in the UK if a complaint raises issues that are in the public interest.  The arrangements for the investigation and discipline of public interest complaints are governed by the FRC Disciplinary Scheme.

Complaints against CA Student Members

CA Student Members are subject to the same robust standards as qualified Members, which means that they must behave with integrity in all their dealings and ensure that they abide by the ICAS Rules, Regulations and Code of Ethics: any failure to do so may create a liability to disciplinary action under ICAS Rule 13.

One example is where a CA Student Member is found to be in breach of any exam conditions: this will likely lead to the CA Student Member being referred to the Investigation Committee to consider an appropriate disciplinary sanction.CA Student Members should also be aware that entering into a form of personal insolvency would cause ICAS to consider whether the student is a fit and proper person to be considered for Membership, having regard to the circumstances of the insolvency.


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