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How does my firm become a licensed practice?

Currently, the only category of licensed work relates to ATOL Returns to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). From 1 April 2016, if you wish to act as an ATOL Reporting Accountant for an ATOL holder, you must become a member of an ATOL Reporting Accountant scheme (ARA). CAA has approved ICAEW’s Licensed Practice scheme as an ARA.

In order to apply to become a licensed practice, firms will need to complete the relevant application forms and pay the appropriate fees. All licensed practitioners will also need to successfully complete the CAA ATOL training package.

Become a licensed practice 

To become a licensed practice, your firm will need to:

  • complete an application form;
  • satisfy ICAEW that the firm meets the eligibility criteria and is fit and proper to carry out licensed work;
  • pay an annual registration fee;
  • comply with the ICAEW Licensed Practice Handbook;
  • comply with the Professional Indemnity Insurance Regulations;
  • be monitored by ICAEW.

Individuals who sign ATOL annual accountants' reports

Within a licensed practice, the individual(s) who sign(s) ATOL annual accountants’ reports must:

  • complete an application form;
  • be an ICAEW, ICAS, CAI or ACCA member and hold a practicing certificate;
  • have successfully completed:
    • the CAA ATOL training package; and
    • the Assurance module of the ICAEW ACA qualification (Certificate level), or equivalent; and
  • reviewed ATOL guidance issued by the CAA, including Guidance Note 10 – Advice for Accountants; and
  • be approved as a licensed practitioner.

CAA ATOL training package

To register for the module, please email CAA.ARAScheme@caa.co.uk and provide the following information:

  • Full name
  • Name of the professional accountancy body you are a member of and the body you are applying to for the ARA scheme (if different)
  • Member registration number

If you have not yet completed the course, you can still submit your licensed practitioner application form. However, please note in the ‘Evidence of successful completion of course’ section

  • the date by which you expect to have taken the course; and
  • that you will send us a copy of your pass certificate when you have successfully completed the course

Assurance module of ICAEW’s ACA qualification

Members of ICAEW, ICAS, ACCA and CAI will have taken the ICAEW Assurance module (or equivalent) and we don’t require them to send us supporting evidence of this.

Practical experience

As part of the licensed practitioner application, you must summarise your recent experience of ATOL work. We need to see evidence that you understand the risks associated with ATOL work and the professional judgements you must make as part of the engagement.

Licensed practice application form

If the firm's legal status changes (eg, a partnership is to become an LLP), you must reapply for registration.

If there's any change to the information ICAEW holds about your firm (as shown on the annual return), you must email details to richard.freeman@icaew.com within 10 business days.

Please refer to these notes as you fill in the form so that you give us all the information we need.

Licensed practice affiliate application form

All principals in a firm licensed by ICAEW as a licensed practice must be either:

  • members of ICAEW;
  • firms registered for audit work by ICAEW;
  • firms licensed under the ICAEW Designated Professional Body (DPB) arrangements;
  • licensed under the ICAEW Insolvency Regulations;
  • ICAEW accredited probate firms;
  • members of ACCA, CAI or ICAS; or
  • affiliates of ICAEW (audit, DPB, probate or general).

If you don’t fall into one of the above categories, then you must apply to be a licensed practice affiliate.

Please refer to these notes as you fill in the form so that you give us all the information we need.

Licensed practitioner application form

You must reapply for licensed practitioner status when you move to a new firm.

Please refer to these notes as you fill in the form so that you give us all the information we need.

Fee scales: licensed practice and affiliate

Access information about ICAEW fees, and the fees we collect on behalf of other organisations, including information on how to pay them. There is also a useful FAQs page.

Download application forms

Download the application forms you need, save them to your computer and fill them in electronically, saving as you go.

Once you've completed each form, print and sign it. Remember to save the completed version for your records.

Firms will need to complete a licensed practice application form. Each individual who wishes to become a licensed practitioner needs to complete a licensed practitioner application form. You may also need to complete one or more licensed practice affiliate application forms.

Please refer to the following guidance notes as you fill in the forms so that you give us all the information we need.

Where to send your application

Please fill in the relevant forms and return them, with a cheque payable to Chartac for the relevant fees, to:

QAD – Licensed Practice applications
ICAEW
Metropolitan House
321 Avebury Boulevard
Milton Keynes
MK9 2FZ UK

Contact us 

If you have any questions about your application, please contact us on +44 (0)1908 546 351, or email richard.freeman@icaew.com.