I applied for an ACCA Practising Certificate in August last year following the death of my father but it has been rejected but now put forward to the waiver committee.
Let me give you some background:
My father set up the practice in 1969 and was a Chartered Secretary in Private Practice. I joined the firm in 1990 when, to be honest, it was financially on its knees and helped Dad modernise and develop the business (working for peanuts as you do working for family!).
In 1999 I started taking the ACCA examinations and completed all 14 papers over 3 years (whilst working full time) passing every paper first time and, with my father's supporting submissions evidencing experience, became an ACCA member in December 2002. In December 2007 I became a Fellow of the Association.
I had not applied for a Practising Certificate previously as my father was still at the head of the practice even though, in reality, I had become the leading figure in terms of attracting new clients etc but it had always been agreed between us that I would only take the lead when he was happy to relinquish control. I was not comfortable being the certificate holder if he was still going to call all the shots.
We agreed that Dad would go into semi-retirement towards the end of 2010 and therefore from 2007 we started preparing my PCTR (Practising Certificate Training Record). I believe Dad had spoken to the ACCA and had understood that they would look at my application once that was done. What I now understand is that his signature was fine for membership but as the firm was not an ACCA Approved Employer it would be rejected for the Practising Certificate.
Everything was going fine with 2 and a half years of PCTR completed with the final period running to 31 May 2010 but on 25 April 2010 Dad was unexpectedly admitted to hospital (6 days before my wedding day), went into a coma on 27 April 2010 and died on 10 May 2010.
Once things calmed down my application to the ACCA went in in early August. My sister took control of our "non qualified" practice on the understanding that in reality Dad wanted me to take control, and I wanted to take control, but I needed the Practising Certificate from ACCA to do so.
I heard back from the ACCA declining the application because Dad was not a member of a recognised body sufficient for the Practising Certificate criteria but that my application could be put forward to the Waiver Committee.
I gathered a volume of references (including from three other ACCA Practising Certificate holders), wrote a full report and waited. Time passed (7 months!) and only now have I heard back that the Committee will hear the application next month and that I should attend the hearing.
I have to prove the circumstances are exceptional and explain why I hadn't joined an ACCA Approved Employer. The problem was my loyalty to the family practice - had I left the practice would have collapsed and there is no doubt over that. Even if I had joined a firm and taken the clients with me where would that have left my parents?
So, here I am an FCCA with 20 years experience completely capable of doing everything I need to do with my PCTR having more ticks next to categories of experience than most I'm sure and yet I am on the verge of having to resign should my application be declined. It pains me to consider that someone with far less experience gets waved straight through purely because an ACCA Employer signs them off.
Yes in theory I could go and work for someone, or merge the firms but that was never the plan and financially it would make no sense bearing in mind we have built a 300 client practice and the business is doing well. I just cannot allow the practice with 42 years history to die.
Yes, also in theory it would make no real difference being "non qualified" and I could apply to other professional bodies should I choose to (any recommendations as to which is best?!) but that is not why I studied to ultimately become an ACCA member (or indeed a Fellow).
I am pushing ahead with the ACCA Practising Certificate Application because I want the business to develop and succeed but the whole system just feels so unjust right now and, yes I guess today I feel rather disillusioned so I am looking to my accounting web colleagues for advice!
Has anyone got any experience of the Waiver Committee and particularly what are they looking for me to prove as being exceptional circumstances?