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Audit experience and the Audit Qualification FAQs

Frequently asked questions about Audit experience and the Audit Qualification (AQ).

Where can I find out more information about the Audit Qualification?
  • Find more information about the Audit Qualification (AQ) at icaew.com/aq.
Is the Audit Qualification necessary for ACA students to complete?
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No. Audit work experience is not a mandatory element of the ACA. However if you are undertaking your ACA training agreement in a firm of registered auditors it would be in your interest to record any audit experience you gain, as holding the Audit Qualification (AQ) may help you in your future career.

Where can I find out how to record my audit experience?

The online training file webinar shows you how to record your audit experience. Watch the webinar on demand.

I am studying outside of the UK. Am I still eligible to apply for the Audit Qualification?

Yes. Please bear in mind that if you are studying outside of the UK, it may be difficult for you to gain some of the necessary elements of the practical audit training.

You will need to have worked in a firm of registered auditors for two years, in a country where the audit work has been deemed by the FRC as comparable to that of the UK. To date, the UK regulator states that audit work undertaken in a firm of registered auditors in the following countries may count towards the UK audit requirements: 

  • Germany (experience gained after 11 October 2000) 
  • Cyprus (experience gained after 7 May 2010) 
  • Luxembourg (experience gained after 7 May 2010) 
  • The Netherlands (experience gained after 7 May 2010) 
  • The Crown Dependencies (experience gained after 4 April 2011) – additional restrictions apply.

For more information about gaining the AQ outside of the UK, visit icaew.com/aq

I gained audit experience in a firm of registered auditors, but now I work for a different employer. Can I count my audit experience from my previous employer towards the AQ?
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If your previous employer was an ICAEW authorised training employer at the time you gained this experience, you should have had your audit experience signed off by the qualified person responsible for training (QPRT) at the time. If you started training after July 2013 and did not get this experience signed off, unfortunately it cannot be counted towards the AQ and you will need to start recording your audit time with your new employer.

If you started training before July 2013 you may be able to claim your experience under certain circumstances, please email aq@icaew.com to confirm whether you meet the requirements.

Who can sign off my audit experience during my ACA training?

During your six monthly reviews, you should discuss the audit experience you have gained. Your Counsellor can sign off each six month period of audit experience and your QPRT, PRT or Deputy PRT will provide a final approval of your audit experience and sign off your completed online training file at the end of your training agreement period.

All approvers must hold a UK Audit Qualification and be registered in an ICAEW training role. If you are unsure who in your organisation holds these titles, please speak to your HR team.

Within the training file only appropriately qualified and authorised people will appear in the drop down box as an option for sign off.

I’ve lost my audit form. What should I do?

If you are recording your audit experience using a form and you have lost this form, you should attempt to reconstruct your records and get the time signed off appropriately again. ICAEW cannot award the AQ where it has not been clearly demonstrated that the practical or examinable elements of the audit qualification have been met. Unfortunately if you are unable to provide this evidence the experience will be lost.

You should submit your completed form at the end of your training agreement even if you have not achieved the 240 days experience so your training experience can be recorded.

Can I apply for the AQ after I have completed the ACA? Is there a time limit after which it has been too long since I took my exams?

If you started your ACA training after July 2013, you must submit your application within six months of submitting the rest of your training records. If you do not, any audit experience gained during your ACA training will be lost. You should submit your audit training experience within this time frame even if you have not yet reached the required number of days.

I do not work for an auditor, can I get the AQ once I have finished my ACA training and gained some experience from another employer?

Yes, you can gain the necessary audit experience with a future employer post-qualification as long as that employer is an ICAEW authorised training employer, and is a firm of registered auditors. In this instance, you should complete the manual application form and get your audit experience signed off every six months.

If I am at the end of my ACA training agreement and qualify as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant, but do not have any audit experience, can I work on gaining audit experience with a registered auditor and apply for the AQ after ICAEW membership?

Yes. You can gain your audit experience any time from registering as an ACA student and can continue to gain experience once you are qualified as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. In order to be eligible, the experience must be gained with an ICAEW authorised training employer which is a firm of registered auditors.

Once you are outside of your training agreement you will need to still ensure you gain sign-off for your audit experience on the AQ application form every six months.

What experience qualifies as audit experience? For example, is it only fieldwork, or can experience be claimed for updating audit files where I was not conducting the fieldwork?
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If the work is vital to the completion of the audit opinion, which may in some cases involve some filing, then this may count towards your 240 days. If however the work conducted will not contribute to the audit opinion or to the eventual signing of the audit report then this would not count as audit work.

How many days do I need for the Audit Qualification (AQ)?
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You will need to have completed three years within an ICAEW authorised training employer of which two years must be within a firm of registered auditors.

You must gain at least 240 days audit experience at least 120 days of which must be in statutory audit work.

Further guidance is at icaew.com/aq.

For the AQ will I need 240 days or 120 days audit experience? What is the difference between audit work experience and statutory company audit work?

You must complete an appropriate period of work experience:

  • A minimum of three years’ general training and work experience within an ICAEW authorised training employer. At least two years must be completed within a firm of registered auditors.
  • You must gain a minimum of 240 days of audit work experience within an ICAEW authorised training employer which is also a firm of registered auditors.

Of this 240 days work experience:

At least 120 of the 240 days must be in statutory audit work as defined in the Companies Act 2006, and the rest must be in either statutory audit work or other audit work similar to statutory audit work.

Statutory audit work (120+ days required):

The basic definition is work on the statutory audit of UK companies and LLPs. However, the Act allows for the recognition of some overseas company audit work where it appears to the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) that the law and practice [of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom] with respect to the audit of company accounts is similar to that in the United Kingdom. The judgment required by FRC relates to the territory as a whole, rather than to any specific audit work performed.

FRC have deemed that individuals within the following countries or territories may gain statutory audit experience from audit registered firms (experience may only be gained from the date specified, any experience gained before this date will not be accepted):

  • From 11 October 2000: Germany
  • From 7 May 2010: Cyprus, Luxembourg and the Netherlands
  • From 4 April 2011: Some audit work conducted in the Crown Dependencies - there are additional restrictions, so please refer to icaew.com/aq

Experience from other countries or territories is not currently accepted as ‘statutory audit work’, but may count under 'other' audit work if it meets the conditions below.

Other audit work:

'Other' audit work is all other (ie, not UK company or LLP) audits completed under ISA’s or solicitors accounts rules. If you are unsure whether work meets the definition contact aq@icaew.com for advice.

I gained membership of ICAEW via a reciprocity agreement with my home body. Can I get the Audit Qualification?
I am a CIMA/CIPFA/ACCA member who joined ICAEW through the Pathways to Membership scheme. Can I get the Audit Qualification?
Once I am qualified as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant, when would I be able to apply for a practicing certificate?
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You need to have been an ICAEW member for two years to be eligible for a practising certificate. If you are already an AAT member or a qualified member from an approved professional accounting body, then please contact our helpline for more information. More details on the practising certificate are at icaew.com/pc.

Do I have to complete the Audit Qualification?

No, the AQ is not compulsory and neither is audit work experience. However, if you are working for a firm of registered auditors, it would be worth recording any audit experience you gain on the appropriate form and getting it signed off every six months. Holding the AQ may help you in your future career.

What doesn't count as audit experience?
Any work that does not directly contribute to the issuing of a full audit opinion. Work completed under regulations other that the ISAs or Solicitors Accounts Rules generally does not meet the definition of audit for the AQ. Limited assurance or agreed upon procedures engagements do not count as audit experience. If you are unsure whether something counts please contact aq@icaew.com.