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An introduction to Practice Assurance

8th Mar 2005
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In June 2004, ICAEW members voted to introduce a scheme of compulsory practice review known as Practice Assurance. This, together with the revised CPD requirements, forms part of an overall quality assurance programme.

Our enquiries show that many firms still do not fully understand these new requirements or have procedures in place to comply with them. AccountingWEB has therefore produced a guide and resources to enable firms to do so as quickly and as easily as possible.

To download your copy of this guide click here

In his introductory letter to members last November, ICAEW president Paul Druckman stated that PA 'aims to provide you with a framework of quality assurance principles to help you assess and develop your practice. It is also designed to demonstrate to the business community and the wider public our commitment to upholding and developing standards that command public confidence.'

From January 2005, all members who hold a practising certificate are required to comply with four, principles-based standards:

1. Laws, regulations and professional standards
2. Client acceptance and disengagement
3. Competence
4. Quality control

Firms will be monitored through a single annual return (which will include work in regulated areas, thus incorporating the former JMU monitoring of audit firms). The comprehensive return will also cover PII compliance, statements relating to the holding of clients' money and statutory money laundering regulations. The return deadline is normally the same as the firm's PII renewal date.

Firms will be visited by Quality Assurance Directorate inspectors on average at least once every six years. The routine visit programme is based on a combination of random, cyclical and risk-based factors. The Practice Assurance Committee may also initiate visits.

The Practice Assurance fee is invoiced to all practising certificate holders on the Fees and Subscriptions Notice in November each year. The fee for 2005 is £100.

More information and guidance
In response to feedback from AccountingWEB members we have produced a Practice Assurance guide and resources to enable them to understand what is required and assess their firm against these requirements. Firms will then be able to take appropriate action as quickly and as easily as possible.

To download your copy of this guide click here


Replies (3)

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By vowlesj
10th Mar 2005 09:28

remember which century we live in now
I think that practice assurance is something that should have been built into our institute years ago - I think it is disgraceful that such an important function was used by the certified association before the Chartered Institute.
I disagree with more than one of the details of how it has been introduced but come on, think what century we live in. Firstly, either we regulate ourselves properly or the government will - fancy an equivalent of FSA regulation for general accountancy work? Just like they have for general insurance work now. Secondly, how does the public know we are any good at our job if we can't point to standards like practice assurance. Thirdly, be good are your files, your standards, your procedures? If you were sued by 10% of your clients how many clever lawyers would you survive?

Anyway, the ballot box means that it is here now, so instead of wasting time moaning about it lets make sure we use it positively.

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By susanna russell-smith
09th Mar 2005 12:39

How about a re-run of the vote?
In a previous posting a month or two ago, it was stated that only 17% of members actually bothered to vote at all - presumably those who voted "Yes" could have been as few as 9% of the total membership. On something as far-reaching as this, should there not have been a requirement for a minimum 50% of the members to vote? And for a 75% majority of those voting? Surely the Institute should have at least run the vote again after advising us that, unless we voted, we would be stuck with this stupid and expensive rule. Is it too late for all non-Yes members to band together and lobby the Institute to this effect?

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08th Mar 2005 15:32

Practice assurance - who voted yes
I took a staw poll last summer at a tax seminar- hands up who voted "yes". No-one put their hands up. So just who did vote yes?? Note it was sandwitched in between other less momentous votes so some failed to even see it.
Should it not have been given a voting paper all of its own, rather than part of something else?
For a sole practitioner with no staff, and working from home, is this really that relevant, or is it just more ivory tower stuff dreamt up by bureaucrats. We did wonder what all the audit compliance people would do with their time!

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