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Forensic Accountant Accreditation FAQs

Frequently asked questions about the Forensic Accountant Accreditation.

The Forensic Group and the accreditation

The resubmission process

Who is the scheme for?

Is the scheme compulsory?
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No, the scheme is entirely voluntary.
Is the scheme for me?
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The scheme has been designed as a benchmark for forensic accountants.

We believe the scheme will be for you if you are seeking recognition of your standing. Courts and wider dispute resolution bodies value such a benchmark of expertise and skills.

I am already recognised in my own right - if I don't want to participate will I be at a disadvantage?
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Only accredited individuals will be able to access the benefits associated with the scheme. There will always be individuals who are identified by the market as being class leaders. We have had a lot of interest in the formal recognition that a scheme like this would create; ranging from sole practitioners to full-time practitioners in the larger firms.
I infrequently undertake forensic accounting assignments. Despite the infrequent activity, I have a good reputation for this work. Is the scheme for me or will I have insufficient experience to be accredited?
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We are encouraging everyone who undertakes forensic accounting activities to consider accreditation. The scheme is aimed at accrediting quality practitioners. It is recommended to consider the detailed application requirements. Accreditation will be granted based on the quality and depth of experience gained.

The scheme is specifically intended to assist practitioners whose forensic and expert witness activities do not account for the majority of their practice. The accreditation is recognition of ability regardless of the frequency of appointments taken.

Will the 'quality' of evidence submitted be the focus rather than the 'quantity'?
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Yes, the quality of the evidence submitted is always the focus. Five years' experience is the suggested period likely to demonstrate the requisite skills and expertise.
I do not work in the UK, can I apply for accreditation?
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The assessors are experts in relevant UK law and regulation and will mark applications based on this knowledge. If the law and regulations in your country are different you may struggle to pass all the application requirements.

The Forensic Group and the accreditation

Do I have to be a member of the Forensic Group to become accredited?
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Accreditation includes subscription to the Forensic Group as part of the benefits of the scheme. We believe that access to knowledge and training is essential to the maintenance of skills and expertise. In addition, we recognise the huge value of mutual support provided through the Forensic Group network.
Do all members of the Forensic Group have to become accredited?
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No. However, we believe that access to knowledge and training is essential to the maintenance of skills and expertise. In addition, we recognise the huge value of mutual support provided through the Forensic Group network.

The people behind the accreditation

Who are the assessors?
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The identities of the individual assessors selected for any ICAEW qualification or scheme are not publicised. However, they are subject to a rigorous selection process to determine that they have the necessary skills, objectivity and integrity to operate to the highest standards.
How are individual assessors selected, what skills do they have and how can we be sure of their credibility and objectivity?
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Suitable people have initially been invited by ICAEW from the forensic accounting community who possess the practical skills and experience and who are respected professionals. If you believe that you are suitably experienced, you can put yourself forward as an ICAEW assessor by contacting Patricia Adair in Learning and Professional Development.

The selection process for assessors for all ICAEW qualifications involves the examination of CVs, interviews, checking of credentials and letters of reference. They are also provided with training by ICAEW.

ICAEW's experience as a qualification awarding body means that cross-marking is undertaken. This ensures that the experts in assessing the technical material are blended with the experts in examination techniques and standards to ensure a robust, fair and thorough process.

What is the frequency and process for review of the assessments?
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The assessors and experienced learning and professional development ICAEW staff meet together 2-3 times per year to ensure the process meets our usual high standards of confidentiality, consistency and professionalism of assessment.
Will the assessors be subject to the same accreditation process?
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We are not specifically requiring that the assessment team achieve accreditation themselves although it would be encouraged.

The detailed process

If I 'fail' is there a right to appeal?
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Appeals can only be based on technical or administrative grounds and not based on academic judgment. Academic judgment covers decisions such as the assessment of a qualification as meeting our entry requirements and the determination of exam results.
Will the assessors know applicants' names?
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Applicants should be reassured that all assessors are selected for their objectivity and integrity and will be expected to act accordingly.

Marking will be undertaken in groups. Assessors will be provided with a list of names before seeing any submissions so that they are able to exclude themselves at the earliest stage.

ICAEW members are subject to a duty to report misconduct. Any alleged impropriety reported by the assessors to ICAEW would be dealt with through our established complaint procedures.

What is the expected pass rate and have targets been set?
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ICAEW does not set targets for pass rates. For example, during the pilot of a product, we avoid the terms 'pass' and 'fail' because the requirements often change as a result of the pilot. The pilot for this accreditation allowed us to identify where the application process and form could be improved. Although 80% of the original submissions for the pilot would have needed to submit further evidence of experience such as more detailed answers or specific examples, to achieve accreditation under the scheme that has been launched, the pilot enabled us to develop the appropriate questions to elicit the relevant information and evidence from applicants.

The accreditation application form sets out in detail the areas of expertise and evidence required to be successful in your application.

Do I have to be a member of ICAEW?
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No, this scheme is open to ICAEW and non-ICAEW forensic accountants.

The resubmission process

If I am unsuccessful can I re-apply?
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You are eligible to attempt the examination up to four times. If you fail, you should review the marks and comments made by the assessors in your results and feedback letters; read the requirements together with the examiner guidance available on our website.
If I am unsuccessful will my fee be refunded?
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No. If your application is unsuccessful, you will not receive a refund on your fee or assessment cost.
Do I answer all the questions when I resubmit my Examination of Experience?
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When you resubmit your Examination of Experience, you only need to resubmit the answers that you have failed; further guidance is available within the application form detailing the marks available for each question.
Do I need to include new examples in the answers that I am resubmitting?
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The Examination of Experience refers to the use of examples of experience that are recent. This means examples of experience from within the last five years. As it may have been some time since you last applied, you will need to make sure that when resubmitting the answers previously failed, you include examples from within the last five years. This enables you to include and reflect upon the most up-to-date and relevant examples in your answers.
Do I need to include a curriculum vitae (CV) in my resubmission?
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Yes, it may have been some time since you applied, so an-up-date copy of your CV is requested. This enables you to include any new positions you have held or currently hold since your last application. 

Do I need to include an updated reference when I resubmit?
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Yes, the assessors will expect your referee to have read your resubmission and be satisfied that it is correct. You may use the referee that you have supplied in your previous application(s).
What is the cost to resubmit my application should I fail?
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The cost of each resubmission is:

Forensic Accountant Accreditation  £275 + VAT
Who I contact for information and advice?
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If you would like further information on how to reapply for the Forensic Accountant Accreditation or the Expert Witness Accreditation, please call us on +44(0)1908 248 250 or email forensicaccreditation@icaew.com.  

Benefits of accreditation, the register and publicity of the scheme

What is the register?
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ICAEW forensic accountant accreditation register allows accredited individuals to be recognised as the highest quality specialists in this field. It helps instil confidence in clients and instructing lawyers that they have access to the very best advisers. It sets the standard for excellence and commitment - a benchmark for the profession.
Where will the register be held?
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The register is open for public access and is available on our website. You can search the register to find an ICAEW accredited forensic accountant. All individuals included on this list have successfully completed the Examination of Experience.
How will the register be kept up-to-date?
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The register will be updated on results day for all new accreditations. Anyone who doesn't achieve the revalidation will be removed from the register.
What other benefits arise from accreditation?
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The accreditation demonstrates your expertise which:

  • shows your accreditation through a prominent and accessible register - provides credibility and tangible proof of your specialist skills, commitment and experience
  • positions you as a specialist and raises your profile within the profession - increases your visibility to existing and potential clients
  • offers association with ICAEW, a world leader in the finance and accountancy profession - helps to provide you with a competitive advantage
  • raises the forensic profile of your team and organisation - serves as a team goal and a point of differential advantage for organisations where whole teams have demonstrated their experience and commitment
  • provides personal development - as part of your career structure, it helps to enhance your career opportunities, increase your contacts within the field and helps you establish a robust reputation
  • presents unique networking opportunities (events, seminars) with fellow professionals and full support from ICAEW's Forensic Group - helps keep you ahead of your peers.

The accreditation provides assurance for clients, instructing parties and dispute forums:

  • readily accessible independent register provides:
    • access to highly-qualified, reputable, specialist advisers; and
    • a benchmark of experience, quality and professionalism
    • rigorous assessment by ICAEW - gives assurance and confidence that the people on the register are professionally validated as specialists in their field. It also ensures that a high standard of competence as a forensic accountant has been met
    • the scheme's CPD requirements, yearly renewal and disciplinary dimension - to discourage the inexperienced and provide effective sanction - helps to guarantee that the register is always up-to-date and only contains the names of credible individuals with relevant and recent experience. 
    Where and how will the scheme and register be publicised?
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    The scheme is being publicised in sector and industry publications and via a variety of marketing channels. Our media relations team will be actively placing articles in legal and other press, regionally and nationally.

    Fees and other subscriptions

    How much am I paying and why?
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    We believe the scheme is competitively priced to make a contribution towards the overheads of administering the scheme and register and not to make a profit.

    What will happen to fees already being paid to other bodies - will there be any allowance?
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    ICAEW is not partnering with any external bodies for the scheme. ICAEW and the Forensic Group are uniquely placed to support practitioners, which is specifically tailored to accountancy and acting as a forensic accountan. Fees paid to any other body for their products, services or membership will not be taken into account.