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Professional membership

Professional membership

A client indicated that he wished to change to another accountant. I had no problem with this, neither with the agreement that I should continue to completion accounts/returns in progress.

From telephone conversations with the proposed new accountant I felt there were some fairly basic matters on which he did not seem at all clear, which did give me some cause for concern.

When I had concluded outstanding matters (and been paid) the new accountant wrote to me. Two matters concerned me. Firstly that his request for connecting information was vague in the extreme and secondly that he stated he was a member of one of the leading accountancy bodies. In view of my concerns, I looked up the membership list of the organisation he claimed to be a member of and I could find no trace of his name nor of his business.

I wrote to him asking precisely what connecting information he required and also for clarification on his professional membership. I have received no reply.

My feeling is that, even in the absence of any specific request, I should provide such connecting infiormation as I regard to be reasonable on the basis that the client should not suffer. What action should I take with regard to his stated professional membership? Should I notify that organisation and if so should I advise the new accountant of my intention before doing so?


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07th Apr 2009 18:42

What was the question?

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By Anonymous
07th Apr 2009 10:23

great great idea.

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By Bil Loh
07th Apr 2009 06:54

IFAC member bodies and Professional Membership
To be clear here, let's defined IFAC member bodies as professional bodies who are registered with the IFAC and Professional Membership are membership from those the IFAC bodies.


Professional bodies can deregister its members and/or send them for disciplinary hearings and to be decided upon later to expel, retain or warn them with penalities. This applies to those who commited things against the ethics and association rules.


Members of Professional Bodies should be given the chance to do something similar to their professional bodies and the people who run their profesional bodies.

If their professional bodies' CEO or any staff are caught not carrying out their duties professionally and ethically, what do you suggest? Send them for disciplinary hearing, sack them, etc etc etc. Don't you agree?


Members coming from Professional Membership, ie IFAC member bodies should be allowed the chance and freedom to choose/decide which IFAC member bodies they want because of the so much complaints and so on regarding professional bodies. In other words, an ACCA member should be allowed to join ICAEW if the ACCA member got fed up with the ACCA management....and vice versa.

This is only fair as members has strived so hard studying for the crazy difficult exams and later got so disappointed with their professional bodies' management for its lack lustre performance.

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By Anonymous
06th Apr 2009 09:41

Passing off
Have you tried contacting the "Association of Chartered Accountants".

According to its entry in, its contact details are:


Phone: 020 72426855
Fax: 020 73967070

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By Anonymous
06th Apr 2009 09:24

..............I say it once and for all.

The accountancy body you were mentioning do not deserve recognition at all.

Imagine if one were to ask its members about developments and news and none of its members can tell you, what do you think of this accountancy body? Must be a going to collapse useless accountancy body in order to do such things on its members.

Members are supposed to be AMBASSADORS of their professional bodies and promote it and not be unable to respond to simple questions asked by other making them like fools.

Its members and students help to pay subscriptions to deserve all these kind of useless management who keep quiet and don't inform its members what is happening and plan to do in the future?

There is another professional body that I read whose CEO talk very much about first tier and second tier accountancy bodies and informed that he wants to take up the case up with the authorities.

When readers posted later to ask what transpired and what is going on during his meeting with the authorities, there was no response and the CEO just kept quiet.

This kind of accountancy body don't deserve recognition at all. In the first place, it should not be allowed registration as an accountancy body as accountants must be responsible and be accountable. If this body is not responsible and not accountable by keeping quiet, then don't become an accountancy body. This is just my tinie winnie penny worth bit of advice.

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06th Apr 2009 04:28

In Malaysia, some of my friends who belonged to this recognised accountancy body simply refused to put this accountancy body designate in their name cards. They rather put others such as ACIS as it is more recognised in the field of accountancy and not at all criticised.

Further, as soon as they got another but more recognised designates such as CPA or MIA CA or ACCA, they immediately dropped their first designate completely and only used the subsequent designates of more respect and less criticised ones.

If they put their first designates, comments such as when are you all getting MIA recognised, when are you all getting Chartered status, when are you all getting into IFAC, etc arises and they are unable to answer because they are not informed at all!, eventhough it was much talked about at one time.

How about that? Hope you understand.

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02nd Apr 2009 11:22

Bill Sheppard
I take it as a compliment Bill. I mean, if you had qualification A ,and you believed it to be superior to qualification B, you would hardly go round claiming to have qualification B, would you? On the other hand, if you believed B to be better, then you may very well claim that your qualification was the same thing.

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30th Mar 2009 13:14

Ability to opt out of public listings
This is one area that has caused concern in our AML procedures, since the vast majority of our clients are accountants. Since 1 Jan 09 it has been a criminal offence to practice without being registered for supervision for ML purposes (1 Oct 08 if offering registered office facilities etc). So when I get a new account application, one of the things we check is who is the supervisor. Most bodies have public lists of members who are eligble to deal with the general public. Some bodies however offer the member firms an 'opt out' clause, which means they do not appear on public lists, the two most noticable being CIMA and AAT. In these circumstances we have to confirm supervision by telephone contact with the appropriate professional body.

Could it be in this case that an opt out exists? Have you tried ringing the body in question and speaking to the membeship section? Do not forget the practice licence may be in a firms name and not an individuals, so it is easier sometimes to search by town or postcode to get the match you require on these databases.

Hope that helps

Steve O'Neill
Business TAx Centre Ltd

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30th Mar 2009 12:30

Fraud Act


In England, Wales and Northern Ireland a person who dishonestly makes a false statement (that is, one which is untrue or misleading) with the intention of making a gain (or to expose another to risk of loss) commits a criminal offence under the Fraud Act 2006.

So if I were to say, for example, that I am a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (which, in truth, I am not) with the intention of getting instructions from someone to survey a property for a fee, then I would commit a criminal offence.

The same would be true of someone who dishonestly claims to a potential client that he is a Chartered Accountant when he is not.

Technically it would not matter whether the potential client believed me or not, or whether I got the work or not, the offence is that I had the dishonest intention when making the false statement.

However if an ACCA answered "Yes" to the question, "Are you a Chartered Accountant?" it would be (ultimately) for a jury to decide if that reply was dishonest and whether the statement was untrue or misleading. (If I were on the jury my vote would be "Not Guilty"!)


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By Anonymous
30th Mar 2009 11:27

What laws, Bill Sheppard?
What laws governed the wrong say "YES", I am a Chartered Accountant, "YES', I am a CPA but a bogus one. WHo checks and care?

Is there laws to protect the 'accountant', if not, how then is the profession going to go after the bogus accountants? No laws, no catch, no catch, no need to catch. Am I right?

Considering the term "Chartered Accountant" being used world-widely now, I guess in time to come every country would like their professional body be called Chartered Accountant or....... CPA.

Nowadays, we have CA - Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and many more is expected.

Soon, there would be one called "Institute of International Chartered Accountant", designated prestigiosly the initials "ACA, FCA".

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By Anonymous
25th Mar 2009 11:22

Passing off?
Leaving aside any further discussion of the respective merits of the various professional bodies, are you passing yourself off as a Chartered Accountant by calling yourself that when you're actually a member of those other bodies with a Royal Charter? (i.e. Certified, Management, Public Finance).

The public know the term 'Chartered Accountant' although they may not realise this should only apply to ICAEW & ICAS. If a potential client asks a member of ACCA, CIMA & CIPFA whether they are a 'Chartered Accountant' isn't it wrong for the reply to be a simple 'Yes'?

And if a member of the trade associations ICPA or ACPA is asked if he is a Certified Accountant, can he simply reply 'Yes' because those bodies include the words 'certified' & 'accountant' in their titles? And would the ACCA say that is misleading or not be bothered as they now aspire to being 'Chartered' rather than 'Certified'?

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By Anonymous
25th Mar 2009 08:57

I did once report to ICAEW about an imposter
A client of mine was deceived into using the services of an advance fee fraud debt collector from the MML fraud area of the UK, about 10 or 15 years ago.

The company offerring this "pay upfront and get nothing for it" service had on its letterheads the description :

"Charted Accounts" (ie. not Chartered Accountants).

This seemed to be a deception to me. It was before the current Money Laundering regime. Oh, and one of the directors / secretary claimed to be a barrister too.

I reported this to ICAEW who gave a vague / "not our problem" reply along the lines of "We are aware of this case. We are informed that Mr X is a member of the Irish [chartered accountants] body "

Conclusion - waste of time writing to ICAEW.
At least a Money Laundering report can be made nowadays next time I come across this, although I wonder if these reports just get stored and never used.

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23rd Mar 2009 15:25


I would suggest that you inform the professional body.

There is another aspect however. Suppose I were to say that I am a qualified alligator wrestler (in truth, I am not). The title is not protected in law and so I do not think anybody in authority could do anything to stop me endlessly repeating that false claim.

However if I then started to charge people for alligator wrestling advice, whilst claiming to be a qualified alligator wrestler, I think that would amount to a criminal offence of fraud by false representation (Fraud Act 2006).

Suppose a client of yours was going to come to me for alligator wrestling advice, and you knew that I was unqualified to give that advice - would you want to warn your client? Of course you would have to be very careful about that warning because it may turn out (unknown to you) that I am a fully qualified member of the Icelandic Association of Alligator Wrestlers (one of the smaller bodies of alligator wrestlers, as it happens!).

Perhaps your best approach would be to point out to your client, in general terms, the benefits of using a qualified alligator wrestler and the wisdom of checking out the qualifications of anyone who claims to be one (without expressing doubts about the claims made by this individual).


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23rd Mar 2009 13:41

Inform The Professional Body
I'm not sure it is illegal to pass yourself of as a qualified chartered accountant, whether that be ACCA, ICAEW or any of the other chartered bodies.

Accountants do not have protected status like doctors, lawyers, etc.

However, there must surely be some civil remedies that can be taken either by the professional body he claims to be a member of, or indeed by the trading standards authority, as the individual would appear to be claiming to be something he isn't.

I imagine we will be seeing a lot more of this sort of thing going forward as qualified practitioners decide not to renew their membership of the professional body they belong to in order to keep costs down.

Why bother paying subscriptions, etc. if you now longer carry out audits, which lets face it many smaller practitioners no longer do?

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