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Anyone can set up an accountancy practice, regardless of whether they have specialist experience, technical skills, qualifications or professional indemnity insurance. Although providers of some services – such as audit, insolvency, investment business and probate – must be authorised, this is not the case with many other accountancy and taxation services.

So if you are seeking specialist advice and services related to matters such as these, it is important to select a professional you can trust. You want to be reassured that they have the necessary education, experience and qualifications (see Professional services), to provide high quality independent advice and services – after all, you wouldn’t go to an unqualified or unregulated doctor for medical advice.

Leading by example

Reputation matters. ICAEW has played a leading role in the accountancy profession for more than a century. All of our chartered accountants are qualified and regulated. They provide their specialist advice and services to the highest professional levels and comply with our principles-based guidance and standards on matters including ethics and quality assurance.

We monitor our members (ICAEW Chartered Accountants), member firms and the non-member affiliates we authorise to ensure that they follow our guidance and standards, plus appropriate laws, regulations and standards (see Responsible and accountable). ICAEW also has well-established policies and easy to access procedures in place to handle complaints.

Monitoring conduct and performance

If you select an unqualified or unregulated accountant to handle your finances or tax work, you may have nowhere to turn if there are problems with the quality of their advice, their conduct or their standards of service. In contrast, you can rely on comprehensive, proactive and cyclical monitoring of the conduct and performance of ICAEW Chartered Accountants and firms.

In the unlikely event that something goes wrong, you have the comfort of a safety net. All ICAEW Chartered Accountants in public practice are required to have professional indemnity insurance cover of up to £1.5m and many firms will have far greater cover. A firm will always be happy to advise you of the level of cover that they maintain. We operate financial compensation schemes for certain types of authorised investment business providers and probate providers.

Providing reassurance

The reassurance offered by these high professional standards and protections is invaluable, but it is not the only reason you should choose an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. ICAEW has taken a pioneering role in the development of the accountancy profession for more than 130 years and it remains at the leading edge – as a professional body and a regulator.

This is reflected in the best practice guidance, training films, helpsheets, technical advisory services and other resources we develop and provide for our members and firms including our proactive thought-leadership and public interest role; outreach with stakeholders representing businesses and consumers; and requests from across the world for advice and insights based on how we operate as a professional body and regulator.

So if you want to select a finance professional you can trust, supported by a professional body you can depend upon, use our Find a Chartered Accountant service.

Professional services

ICAEW Chartered Accountants and firms can offer a broad range of professional advice and services related to accountancy, audit, insolvency, investment business, probate, tax and various other legal and technical areas for individuals, businesses and other organisations.

Qualifying as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant is demanding. Extensive formal training – with ICAEW-approved firms and training providers – is necessary to develop technical knowledge and practical skills, which must be kept relevant and up-to date with continuing professional education.

Responsible and accountable

As a professional membership body and regulator, ICAEW, sets and enforces standards of conduct and performance for our members, students, firms and non-member affiliates.

We support them by focussing on education, encouraging continuous improvement and providing specialist technical and practical resources; but we also monitor the services they provide and the quality management systems and procedures they employ.

All members, students and affiliates must comply with our Code of Ethics, to maintain high ethical and professional standards. They must also follow principles and standards of behaviour on professional conduct relating to tax.

We expect ICAEW Chartered Accountants to meet their broader responsibilities to society as well as providing high quality independent advice and services to clients.

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