practice assurance scheme

Information for CIPFA members who hold Practising Certificates and members who think they may need to apply for a Practising Certificate.

CIPFA members who provide accountancy services to a person or entity who is not their employer are required to hold a CIPFA Practising Certificate and be registered in the Practice Assurance Scheme. This includes those working on a contract or interim basis.

For details of who needs to register see the Council Statement on Public Practice (PDF, 51 KB).

What is the Practice Assurance Scheme?

  • A scheme of practice review which applies to practising UK and Republic of Ireland members.
  • A framework of quality assurance principles to help members to assess and develop their practices.

The scheme has been designed to demonstrate to the business community and the wider public the Institute's commitment to upholding and developing public standards that command public confidence.

Why did CIPFA introduce this requirement for some members?

  • To meet the high standards expected of the profession and as members of International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) we are obliged to provide a quality assurance scheme.
  • To supervise CIPFA Members affected by the money laundering regulations introduced by HMRC.

Our Council Statement on Public Practice (PDF, 51 KB) states which members are required to hold a Practising Certificate.

If you are:

  • self-employed
  • the partner/director in a practice or company, or
  • work on a contract/interim basis

please review the statement and consider if you work in any of the areas of work included. If you provide audit or accounting services to a third party it is likely that you will be required to hold a Practising Certificate.

What does the scheme involve?

You need to apply for a Practising Certificate and register for the Practice Assurance Scheme. A certificate will be issued and is renewable each year. Each year, some members will be selected to meet with an assessor. A member should expect to have a meeting approximately every six years.

The meeting is intended to ensure:

  • procedures such as client engagement/disengagement are of appropriate quality
  • compliance with requirements such as anti-money laundering roles, professional indemnity insurance and continuing professional development.

It is not intended as a check on the technical quality of members' work.

A more detailed list of matters covered by the review will be available as a compliance checklist.

To comply with the scheme there are key areas that all members in practice need to consider. Specific guidance is available in the Members in Practice Handbook.

Fees for 2014

  • Practice Assurance Scheme fee: £267
  • Application/Practising Certificate fee (one-off): £82
  • Practice Assurance Scheme half year fee (if apply after June): £133.50

Members can claim their Practice Assurance Scheme fees and Practising Certificate fee as part of their trading expenses.