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Practising Certificate - ACCA too restrictive - help!

Practising Certificate - ACCA too restrictive -...

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I have recently been approached by potential clients wanting me to do soletrader accounts and tax returns etc. This I cannot do because I was never able to get my practising certificate with ACCA.
Is there another way of practising - maybe transferring to another accounting body???

My history as follows:
I am a fully qualified member of ACCA.
I was working in practise, passed all my exams and obtained my 3 years work experience and transferred to membership last year.
6 months later my father in law died and my husband took up the responsibility of running his families engineering company.
This was never the plan.
We decided that I would leave my practise job and help my husband run our limited company - of which we are now both directors.
I only work part time, I do monthly management accounts, year end accounts prep and anything else needed to support my husband.
I cannot go back to practise to obtain the 2 years post qual experience ACCA requires for a practising certificate.

Also I have been signing my emails with ACCA letters after my name - is this allowed in ACCAs rules? I am not advertising accountancy work in any way.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Replies (15)

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21st Nov 2013 20:44

Give ACCA a tinkle
The rules regarding practising are in place for a number of reasons. One reason being a safeguard for both the general public and the reputation of the profession and fellow practitioners. Two years post qualification experience for applying for a practising certificate is the bare minimum time needed before being let loose on the public. Many people who apply for them have many more years PQE and then decide to apply.

It would be a shame if you were to say give up your membership and pursue practice without referring to your qualification.

Might I suggest you contact ACCA authorisation department to discuss your situation. There might be a viable and realistic solution for you.

If there is no acca solution then I guess you could also explore aat members in practise or say acpa as a route to setting up on your own.

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By pawncob
21st Nov 2013 22:01


If you need to audit as well, join the AIA.

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Replying to pale738821:
22nd Nov 2013 02:00


pawncob wrote:

If you need to audit as well, join the AIA.

  The AIA is not a recognised supervisory body in the UK for statutory audit therefore I suspect you would still need to comply with another RSB requirements with respect to obtaining an audit license, should you wish to apply for one.
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Chris M
By mr. mischief
22nd Nov 2013 07:51


I am in the ICPA despite qualifying ICAEW in 1991.  In 1997 my then employer messed up the subscription payment and I ended up not paying.  As I was working in industry at the time and felt the ICAEW were pretty much an irrelevance I did nothing to re-join.

When I set up my practice in 2009 I had two options:

1.  Re-join ICAEW.  Lots of forms to fill in, lots of fees which totted up to £1,500 or more.  For which I would apparently get a nice logo and nothing more.

2.  Join ICPA for £700, which included PII cover, online training, monthly magazine tailored to the needs of a sole trader, excellent helpline and countless other benefits which are tailored specifically to the needs of very small practices like mine.

I have 125 clients and to be honest some of the ICAEW practices around here are really poor, although there is also one top-notch one (Lamont Pridmore) which has won awards on this site.

In 2009 this seemed a tough decision because I spent 3 years working for that ICAEW ticket.  But really it was a no-brainer and there are no regrets.  I have no desire to do audits having spent 17 years in industry running rings round hapless auditors.

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By swf
22nd Nov 2013 13:26

practising certificate

I believe CIMA has an agreement with ACCA that will allow you to join them ( not a reciprocal one).CIMA has a practicing division within in. Everyone that wants to offer services to the public must apply for and hold a practising certificate. The panel awarding the certificate reviews your experience before awarding a certificate, I would think that if you have previously worked in a practice then you will have more experience than many that apply. I would think that they could give you an answer to that problem without you having to make a full application Proof of .PI Engagement letters, MLR compliance and so on. Worth a try. Stuart 

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By ccassociates
22nd Nov 2013 14:13

What do you get from ACCA ?

try Squire's suggestion but if there are too many hoops to jump through I would do as Mr Mischief suggests and join ICPA, it is a really good organisation and does lots for its members

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By kitarna
22nd Nov 2013 16:38

Thanks for replies so far.

I have 7 years experience in practise, just not the right side of qualifying.

I really only want a small number of clients as a sideline - I'm not looking to set up a large practise or audit.  I will do a lot of CPD whatever happens.

I don't want to burn any bridges with ACCA but I am prepared to go to a different body if it suits me better.

Does anyone have any experience with the AAT MIP?

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Image is of a pin up style woman in a red dress with some of her skirt caught in the filing cabinet. She looks surprised.
By Monsoon
22nd Nov 2013 17:12

AAT MIP here

I think AAT membership and MIP licence is about £3-400 a year. Their CPD policy is good, they are reasonably responsive, you get 'free' ICAEW accountancy advice line and comprehensive CCH online tax guides with the licence. 

My only minor gripe is that not every mortgage lender recognises it (that's today's gripe, normally it doesn't bother me or cause an issue. Apart from today, grr!). But if you can't get an ACCA practising certificate then you're in that situation anyway and at least 80-90% of lenders accept AAT.

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By ver1tate
23rd Nov 2013 20:20

 What do you getccassociates
 What do you getccassociates PM | Fri, 22/11/2013 - 14:13 | Permalink

What do you get from ACCA ?


ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.


We support our 162,000 members and 428,00












They certainly do this above all.

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By Flash Gordon
24th Nov 2013 13:49

What do the ACCA give you?

The ACCA give you:

1, A lovely magazine focussing on members in every country but this one

2, Lots of pretty red tape to wade through

3, A request for payment of annual subs way ahead of the due date

4, Some hoops to jump through - they'd be more use if given out to practice hula-hooping with as at least then members burn off a few calories

5, An uninspiring logo to look at that they might, if you're lucky, pay thousands to change ever so slightly every few years.

ICPA meanwhile give you all those things that Mr Mischief mentioned (and more). I'm guessing that's why I quit the ACCA and kept ICPA instead..... 

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Replying to DJKL:
By ver1tate
25th Nov 2013 14:01

Flash Gordon

ICPA meanwhile give you all those things that Mr Mischief mentioned (and more). I'm guessing that's why I quit the ACCA and kept ICPA instead..

Remember Jessica Mitford once said 'You may not be able to change the world, but you can embarrass the guilty'


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By ccassociates
25th Nov 2013 11:38


I am an FMAAT I have retained membership and they supply my practicing certificate. I am also ICPA I get much more from ICPA than I do from AAT, however I retain my membership because it is recognised by mortgage lenders.

ICPA are working endlessly to improve things for their membership and I am sure at some stage in the future will be recognised, at that stage I am sure that all of the other bodies will lose members.

Lets face it Bob the builder doesnt care if you are chartered or certified, as long as you are qualified and do a good job for a fair price. If you are aiming higher then there may be some mileage in retaining your membership

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By jonbryce
25th Nov 2013 11:56

Switch to ICAEW?

I know someone who found it easier to switch to ICAEW and get a practicing certificate from them rather than get it from the ACCA.

As I understand it, you have to get references from two chartered accountants, sit the final case study exam and then apply for the practicing certifiate.

One important thing to note is that you will have to resign from the ACCA before you start using your ICAEW practicing certificate.  ACCA require all members to have an ACCA practicing certificate even if they have a valid one from another professional body, and if you get expelled from ACCA for practicing without a practicing certificate, you will get expelled from ICAEW for being expelled from ACCA.

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By CW2012
25th Nov 2013 14:13

Under Supervision

From memory you could get your practising licence if you work under an accountant who has one, is there a way you could work alongside a licensed practioner, who deals with your statutory accounts at present, are you self filing, could you co opt yourself into a practice with someone else.

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By kitarna
29th Nov 2013 16:42

Why bother...

Starting to think I should just resign from ACCA and join the ranks of "unqualifieds" out there.

After all - they have no hoops to jump, and the general public does not seem to understand the difference anyway.

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