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ICAEW recommendations as the UK exits the European Union

As the UK Government embarks on the process of negotiating a new relationship with the EU, it should not opt for an ‘off-the-shelf’ model.

Instead, it should play to the strengths of the UK economy and aim for a deal that will benefit UK plc while ensuring we remain good neighbours and even better business partners. There are many areas which we can agree on and where a win-win relationship is achievable. These should form the starting point for the negotiations.

As chartered accountants advising 2 million businesses across the UK and as an institute supporting over 147,000 members worldwide, we have a unique vantage point on what these strengths are.

All the global accounting networks have their roots in the UK and maintain a significant presence here, often basing their global or EU HQ in London. UK firms and individual chartered accountants provide leadership and often drive regulatory developments at the EU and global level, not just on financial reporting and auditing but on broader matters, such as corporate governance. This is key to the UK’s reputation as one of the best places to do business in the world.

As requested by DEXEU at a stakeholder roundtable, in this response we highlight the concerns and priorities ICAEW would like Government to consider as it prepares for the UK-EU negotiations. It is not an exhaustive list, but comprises some of the key elements that are of relevance to our individual members, our member firms and ICAEW itself as a qualifications provider.

Building a ‘match-fit’ economy

  • Make the UK the best place in Europe to do business, by: Promoting stability, transparency, smart regulation and strong corporate governance that will boost investor confidence and contribute to the long-term attractiveness of the UK as a place to do business.

Protecting market access

  • Maintain mutual recognition of regulators and regulatory coherence to protect and enhance market access, by: Achieving mutual recognition of regulatory frameworks in the financial and professional services sectors which will be crucial to the UK’s ability to maintain access to EU markets. This new framework should focus on regulatory outcomes as opposed to processes and will allow the UK to continue to shape future regulatory developments.

Building on the UK’s comparative advantage in the financial and professional services sectors

  • Protect the movement of skilled labour, by: Establishing an immigration policy that allows these sectors to easily access and deploy talent in an efficient manner, regardless of residency or location of work.
  • Ensure UK qualifications are recognised across the EU, by: Securing an agreement which replicates the existing recognition framework, the status of UK auditors and accountants. Outside the single market a new agreement would need to be renegotiated, potentially on a bilateral basis with each EU member state. Failure to secure a similar regime would threaten the UK’s pre-eminent role in accounting and audit in the EU market.

Priority areas for government attention


Public policy enquiries

For more information please contact:

Graham Dale – Head of Public Affairs
T: +44 (0)207 9208760
E: Graham.Dale@icaew.com