Share this content

Practicing Certificate/Licence

Practicing Certificate/Licence


I am new to AccountingWeb so apologies for asking a question which may have familiar tones for many of you but I cannot find a definitive answer to this specific question:

Can an ACCA member (without a practicing certificate), who is also an AAT member with a practicing licence, offer public practice services in accordance with the AAT licence IF HE/SHE DOES NOT REFER TO HIS/HER ACCA MEMBERSHIP STATUS in relation to these services?

Many thanks.



Please login or register to join the discussion.

By Locutus
11th Jun 2011 19:24

I was in a very similar situation many years back

The advice I was given at the time by ACCA was that if the work I intended to do fell within their definition of public practice (for instance, preparing tax returns or final accounts) then I needed to have an ACCA practising certificate, regardless of whether or not I held an AAT licence or my whether my clients knew of my ACCA membership.

However, you don't need to hold an ACCA practising certificate for activities that fall outside their definition of public practice, such as freelancing for other accountants or doing bookeeping work for end clients up to trial balance stage.

I later got a practising certificate, so it was no longer an issue after that.

Best to check with ACCA, though, as things may have changed.

Thanks (0)
12th Jun 2011 17:21

Status quo re ACCA HAS NOT CHANGED one jot

I have over 15 years experience in practice but not with an ACCA approved practice and so when bookkeeping only, I was okay. But I have been turning down copious amounts of final accounts and tax work because of this anomoly.

So after 10 years of membership (and thousands in fees) I resigned from the ACCA and now trade under my AAT practice certificate. It wasn't an easy decision or one I took lightly, but eventually bit the bullet and did so. I have to say, I have no regrets and the ACCA's rules are ridiculously inflexible. 


Do note, if you do as you suggested above  you will be breaching the ACCA's rules, so I wouldn't advise it. But I do know that there are many who were in my previous position, trading with an AAT PC and then later registered as ACCA students. They are breaking the ACCA rules and risk expulsion. So strictly if you are already sucessfully in practice and wish to become an ACCA student, you either don't bother or you give up your practice. Daft.

Thanks (0)
By Locutus
12th Jun 2011 18:59

It's a bit ironic

I've always found it ironic that once you sign up as an ACCA student, the one activity in life that you are no longer allowed to provide to the general public on a self employed basis is ... errrr ... accountancy and tax work.

Even when you have passed all of your exams you are still banned until you get a practising certificate.

Thanks (0)
14th Jun 2011 10:24

That's a definitive answer!
Thank you both VERY MUCH.....I guess that answers that!

Do you know - off hand - whether ACCA membership is accepted by any other accounting body (eg CIMA) for transfer to the latter which also has less stringent practising certificate rules? I have found some references to IFA (Institute of Financial Accountants?) but I suspect membership of a non-CCAB body would relegate me to the realms of "unqualified" or "qualified by experience"...

I have also been approached to head/set up an accountancy service for a business consultancy company. The services would include tax returns and financial statements (ie they would be public practise services). I would be an employee (ie not a director, shareholder or partner) in this instance, but the only "qualified" accountant there (at least initially). Would I need an ACCA practising certificate (or even an AAT practising licence) to do this job?


Thanks (0)
By Locutus
14th Jun 2011 10:51

Transfer to other CCAB bodies and being an employee

 Other CCAB bodies ought to give you some credit for being an ACCA member, although you make have to pass some final papers.  I have no idea on the other bodies' practising certificate requirements, although I can't see how they could be any more restrictive than ACCAs!

If you simply work as an employee and have no ownership or directorship function at the new place, then my understanding of ACCA's rules is that you would not need a practising certificate, as you are technically under the direction of another, even though you will be the only qualified person there.

Thanks (0)
15th Jun 2011 09:43

0103953 is spot on here

Are you AAT registered or qualified?

The Practicing requirements are robust but not impossible like the ACCA. You can obtain a PC with AAT and many mortgage companies still recogise you as qualified.

Thanks (0)
15th Jun 2011 10:33

We should start a club ....

 of those who have passed the ACCA exams but can't practice because of decisions made decades ago! I am also an AAT Member in practice and to be honest I have yet to meet a client who either asks or cares. Something like 110 mortgage lenders recognise the AAT MIP scheme so that is not an issue either.

Thanks (0)
15th Jun 2011 12:24

Public Practise Practitioner vs Employee
Once again - THANK YOU ALL!

Yes, I am an AAT member and I agree - the AAT's requirements seem strict but "do-able" as opposed to the ACCA's "brick wall" approach.

I suspect that once clients get to know you then they don't really care but - in an odd way - do draw comfort from the fact that you are qualified with/belong to a recognised body. However, WE CARE (otherwise we wouldn't be doing this) and it is painful - especially when ACCA membership has been hard fought for. Incidentally, even where ACCA membership has been relinquished a person should still be able to state that they are qualified with the ACCA (if the question is ever raised) so there may still be some enduring benefit.

I cannot see the ACCA's restrictions changing other than if they begin to lose "market share" of members and students.


Thanks (0)
16th Jul 2012 12:35

Quite frankly ACCA are idiots.

Their restrictive ways cause many accountants to not be able to trade, which anybody can look at and go "hang on that's rather stupid of ACCA". 


In the end you either resign and trade under some other way by taking more exams etc, or you trade regardless of having a certificate or not and if you get forced to resign from ACCA, well how is that any different to the first option? 


ACCA bring it on themselves frankly, what do they expect accountants to do when they make up these stupid rules? One thing I remember them saying was that there was an alternative "review" route that could be taken but it was (a) not always successful and (b) cost £600+ pounds instead of the normal £400-£500+. It's daylight robbery, it's not like we just conveniently have £600 lying around doing nothing, that's a ton of money. 


In all my years, not one person has asked about certificates or background etc. They see you've done the work, have enough experience and therefore are competent at your job. They couldn't care less about anything else. 

Thanks (0)
Share this content