CPAA Insight: Practice Assurance by phone

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Practice Assurance by phone

CPAA's Executive Secretary Peter Hathaway explains how the Association can help and  guide members with Practice Assurance

We regularly contact our members by telephone to interview them  about their firm and Practice Assurance.

This is to reassure them that the practice is complying with the necessary requirements of the principles-based Practice Assurance standards, other relevant regulations and the Code of Ethics.

The phone call also allows us to open up discussions regarding other matters that may be relevant to that particular firm.  This is what we tell our members:

Preparing for the phone call

We will be in touch to discuss a mutually suitable time for the telephone interview after which we will forward you an information questionnaire. 

You will need to complete and return the questionnaire four weeks before the call and the answers you give us will give us the most up-to-date information about your firm.  We can then discuss this with you during the c all.

Please try and have the following records and documents available at the time of the telephone interview just in case you need to consult them and pass on the information:

  • a copy of your firm’s letterhead.
  • a copy of your current client engagement letter templates (eg for corporate and taxation work).
  • your professional indemnity insurance policy (if you are not already insured under the CPAA scheme).
  • Continuous Professional Development records for the past two years.

The telephone interview

The interview will begin with a general discussion to gain an overall picture of your firm.  We will then review the details you forwarded on the information questionnaire along with other relevant documentation, for example: 

  • a set of your firm’s corporate accounts.
  • details from previous monitoring visits.
  • a copy of your last annual return.

If any issues arise we will then discuss them during the interview and consider your initial feedback to any actions we have suggested which may help your firm.

Please note that we will certainly not judge on your professional advice or examine your clients’ affairs in depth. We will concentrate on finding out how your firm shows that it meets the principles-based Practice Assurance Standards, other regulations and the Code of Ethics.

Standards can be applied in different ways and we will discuss with you if we think your current approach is appropriate for the size and nature of the firm and the work it undertakes.

After the phone interview we will then record the findings and summarise the issues discussed before emailing you a report.  

Please  respond in writing to the report, issue by issue, within 30 working days.  In this response we will need to know the action you are planning to take on each issue and the timescales any changes will be made in.

Your response

Once your response has been forwarded to us we will complete our working papers which may also include a quality control review.

If there are any further questions  we need to ask you then we will be in contact by telephone.  

Please note that we can only finish the process once we have received and reviewed your responses.  We will then send you an email to confirm your case has been completed or requesting any additional information.  The case can then be closed.

We may have to report matters to the Quality Practice Assurance Committee  (QPAC) and if this happens we will keep you in the loop and send a copy of our report before it is considered by the QPAC.


There is a  formal process for handling any complaints.  

They should be made in writing and addressed to: 

The Executive  Secretary


Onward Buildings

207 Deansgate

Manchester M3 3NW

For more information please email [email protected]

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