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Foundation Qualification Regulations

The regulations that apply to ICAEW Business and Finance Professionals are the Foundation Qualification Regulations. These cover all the requirements for when you’re studying, and once you’ve been awarded your BFP designation.

Commencement and Citation 

These Regulations, made by the Council in accordance with Clause 16 of the Supplemental Charter of 1948 and Principal Bye-law 49(a), may be cited as the principal regulations for Provisional Foundation Qualification Holders and Foundation Qualification Holders. Provisional Foundation Qualification Holders and Foundation Qualification Holders are required to comply with these Regulations at all times and failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.

Any notice or document may be served on ICAEW by sending it to:

Advisory Services
ICAEW
Metropolitan House
321 Avebury Boulevard
Milton Keynes
MK9 2FZ

Any notice, decision, order or other document which needs to be served on an applicant or other person under these Regulations will be delivered by hand, or sent by email or post:

  • if it is delivered by hand to the addressee, service will take effect immediately;
  • if sent by email, it will be sent to the most recent email address given by the addressee and service will take effect immediately;
  • if sent by post, it will be sent  to the latest address given by the addressee and service will take effect two business days after posting.

Interpretation

The headings are inserted for convenience only and shall not affect the construction of these Regulations.

The Interpretation Act 1978 applies to these regulations in the same way as it applies to an enactment.

In these Regulations words importing the singular include the plural and vice versa. Words importing one gender include the others.

Any references to legislation, bye-laws, regulations or rules  will apply to any re-enactment, re-issue or amendment to the legislation, bye-laws, regulations or rules.

The words listed below shall have the meanings given:

  • Appeal Committee means the Appeal Committee appointed under the Schedule to the Disciplinary Bye-laws; 
  • Code of Ethics means the Code of Ethics of ICAEW;
  • Council means the Council of ICAEW; 
  • Director means the person for the time being holding the office of the Executive Director of the Professional Standards Department of ICAEW or any member of that department authorised to act in their name;
  • Disciplinary Bye-laws means the Disciplinary Bye-laws of ICAEW; 
  • Disciplinary Committee means the Disciplinary Committee appointed under the Schedule to the Disciplinary Bye-laws;
  • Fitness Committee means the Fitness Committee appointed under the Schedule to the Disciplinary Bye-laws;
  • Foundation Qualification Holder is someone who holds the ICAEW Foundation Qualification and is registered to use the relevant ICAEW designatory letters;
  • ICAEW means the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales;
  • IFAC means the International Federation of Accountants
  • Investigation Committee means the Investigation Committee appointed under the Schedule to the Disciplinary Bye-laws; 
  • Investigation and Discipline Scheme means an Investigation and Discipline Scheme in which ICAEW participates in accordance with its Supplemental Charter;
  • Learning and Professional Development Board means the Learning & Professional Development Board of ICAEW or any Committee, Sub-Committee, person or persons acting under its direction.
  • Members’ Registrar means the Members’ Registrar of ICAEW appointed from time to time;
  • Provisional Foundation Qualification Holder is someone who is registered to study for the ICAEW Foundation Qualification;
  • Regulations means these Foundation Qualification Regulations;
  • Services means any services provided to Foundation Qualification Holders as part of their annual subscription;

Eligibility and application

Requirements

1. An individual who wishes to become registered as a Provisional Foundation Qualification Holder or a Foundation Qualification Holder under these Regulations must apply in the manner decided by ICAEW, on a prescribed form. The application may include the following:

  • any information that ICAEW may require to assess the eligibility of the individual for registration;
  • any information that ICAEW may require to assess the fitness and propriety of the individual for registration;
  • any information that ICAEW may require to provide the Services;  
  • a declaration by the individual that they agree to be bound by these Regulations and will ensure that they comply with them at all times;
  • a declaration by the individual that they will deal with ICAEW in an open and co-operative manner and inform ICAEW promptly about anything concerning them as required by these Regulations;
  • an acknowledgement by the individual that none of ICAEW, its officers, staff, members of its Council or committees, their servants or agents can be held liable to the individual for damages for any act or omission arising out of the performance of any of their functions under these Regulations or the Disciplinary Bye-laws, unless the act or omission is shown to have been in bad faith;
  • an acknowledgement that ICAEW may make enquiries of or about the individual with third parties as ICAEW deems necessary;
  • an acknowledgement that ICAEW may publish, in such manner as it may determine, information about the individual’s status under these Regulations.

Provisional Foundation Qualification Holders

2. An individual will be eligible to become a Provisional Foundation Qualification Holder if they:

  • are deemed fit and proper by ICAEW; and
  • have paid the appropriate fees, as specified by ICAEW from time to time.

Foundation Qualification Holders

3. An individual who is not a member of ICAEW will be eligible for registration as a Foundation Qualification Holder if they :

The requirements set out at Regulation 3 a) b) and c) can be undertaken concurrently or separately, and in any order.

4. An individual who is a member of ICAEW will be eligible for registration as a Foundation Qualification Holder if they :

  • are a current member of ICAEW;
  • are deemed fit and proper by ICAEW; and
  • have paid the appropriate fees, as specified by ICAEW from time to time.

Work experience requirement

5. To be eligible for registration as a Foundation Qualification Holder under Regulation 3 an individual must meet the work experience requirement.  The work experience must:

  • cover a total period of 12 calendar months’ full-time (35 hours a week), or the pro-rata equivalent over a longer period up to 3 years; and
  • be of a business and finance nature; and
  • be signed off, using the prescribed form, by a qualified member of an IFAC member body who works for the same employer as the applicant. 

6. Up to 12 months of prior work experience will be recognised provided it has been gained during the 3 years prior to the date of application.

Determination of applications for registration

7. The Learning and Professional Development Board, or persons to whom it has delegated its authority, will have an absolute discretion in deciding whether to register an individual as a Provisional Foundation Qualification Holder under these Regulations.

8. Council, or persons to whom it has delegated its authority, will have discretion in deciding whether to register an individual as a Foundation Qualification Holder under these Regulations.

Designation and title

9. An individual who is registered as a Foundation Qualification Holder will be entitled to call themselves an ‘ICAEW Business and Finance Professional’ and use the designatory letters ‘BFP’.

10. The right to use the title ‘ICAEW Business and Finance Professional’ and the designatory letters ‘BFP’ is subject to:

  • payment of an annual fee, as specified by ICAEW from time to time; and
  • adherence to these Regulations, the Code of Ethics and Disciplinary Bye-Laws, and registration as a Foundation Qualification Holder and the right to use the designatory letters and title may be removed by ICAEW in accordance with these Regulations at any time.

11. If an individual ceases to be a Foundation Qualification Holder for any reason, they must cease using the title ‘ICAEW Business and Finance Professional’ and the designatory letters ‘BFP’ with immediate effect.

Certificates

12. On being awarded Foundation Qualification Holder status the applicant is entitled to receive a certificate.

13. If an individual ceases for any reason to be a Foundation Qualification Holder they must immediately return to ICAEW their Business and Finance Professional certificate, unless ICAEW otherwise decides.

Resignation and cessation

Resignation

14. The Members’ Registrar shall accept the resignation of any Foundation Qualification Holder except in cases where:

  • there is an unresolved complaint against that person; or
  • there is, in the Members’ Registrar’s view, any other reason why the resignation should be referred to the Investigation Committee to be dealt with.

In these cases the request will be dealt with by the Investigation Committee.

15. A Foundation Qualification Holder will cease to be such only upon acceptance by Council.

16. If notice of resignation is not received before 1st February in any year the individual shall remain liable for any fees payable in that year.

Cessation

17. An individual will cease to be registered as a Provisional Foundation Qualification Holder if:

  • they have a bankruptcy order made against them; or
  • their status as a Provisional Foundation Qualification Holder is removed by order of the Disciplinary Committee or the Appeal Committee; or
  • they fail to comply with any order as to fines and/or costs made by the Investigation Committee, the Disciplinary Committee or the Appeal Committee or any tribunal appointed under the Investigation and Discipline Scheme by the date or dates upon which the same are due.

18. Subject to Regulations 19 and 20, an individual will cease to be registered as a Provisional Foundation Qualification Holder if more than 3 years have elapsed since: 

  • the date of the last attempt at an ICAEW CFAB assessment; and
  • the date of the last attempt at the Ethics Learning Programme online assessment; and
  • the individual partially undertook or completed the work experience requirements in accordance with Regulations 5 and 6.

19. If an individual does not commence the work experience requirements under Regulations 5 and 6 within 3 years of the date of their last attempt at:

  • an ICAEW CFAB assessment; and
  • the Ethics Learning Programme online assessment they will cease to be a Provisional Foundation Qualification Holder.

20. An individual’s status will not cease under Regulation 18 or 19 if they are currently undertaking the Foundation Qualification work experience requirements (see Regulations 5 and 6) or if they have made an application to be registered as a Foundation Qualification Holder and the application has not been finally determined.

21. An individual will cease to be registered as a Foundation Qualification Holder if:

  • they have a bankruptcy order made against them; or
  • their status as a Foundation Qualification Holder is removed by order of the Disciplinary Committee or the Appeal Committee; or
  • they fail to comply with any order as to fines and/or costs made by the Investigation Committee, the Disciplinary Committee or the Appeal Committee or any tribunal appointed under the Investigation and Discipline Scheme by the date or dates upon which the same are due; or
  • d) they fail to pay the annual subscription by 31st March in the year in which it becomes due, or any increase in such subscription before the expiration of 3 months after the increase becomes due unless Council otherwise decides; or
  • e) they are also an ICAEW member and they subsequently resign or cease for any reason to be a member of ICAEW.

Re-registration

22. The Learning and Professional Development Board has an absolute discretion in determining whether to re-register any individual who has ceased to be registered as a Provisional Foundation Qualification Holder.

23. Save for the circumstances set out in Regulation 24, the Members’ Registrar shall re-register any individual who has ceased to be registered as a Foundation Qualification Holder provided that individual has, in the opinion of the Members’ Registrar, satisfactorily answered all the questions in the application form. Such re-registration shall be unconditional or subject only to conditions affecting payments of future fees or subscriptions.

24. In the following cases the request by the individual for re-registration as a Foundation Qualification Holder will be dealt with by the Fitness Committee:

  • where the applicant ceased to be a Foundation Qualification Holder by operation of an order made pursuant to the Disciplinary Bye-Laws;
  • where the applicant ceased to be a Foundation Qualification Holder by virtue of bankruptcy;
  • where the applicant has an unresolved complaint against them;
  • where the applicant ceased to be a Foundation Qualification Holder by virtue of failure to pay fines and/or costs pursuant to Disciplinary Bye-Laws;
  • where the applicant ceased to be a Foundation Qualification Holder more than four years ago; or
  • in any other case where the Members’ Registrar considers for any reason that the application should be dealt with by the Fitness Committee.

25. In the event that the Fitness Committee refuses an application for re-registration as a Foundation Qualification Holder it shall give written reasons for its refusal.

Appeals against refusal to be re-registered as a Provisional Foundation Qualification Holder

26. An applicant refused re-registration as a Provisional Foundation Qualification Holder may give notice of appeal under the Rights of appeal against decisions of Learning and Professional Development Board regulations.

Appeals against refusal to be re-registered as a Foundation Qualification Holder

27. An applicant refused re-registration as a Foundation Qualification Holder may, within 28 days of the date on which the written reasons for such refusal are served on him or her, give notice of appeal to the Director. Any such notice shall state the grounds of appeal.

28. As soon as practicable after receipt by the Director of an effective notice of appeal under Regulation 27, the Chair of the Appeal Committee or, failing him/her, its Vice Chair, shall appoint a panel to hear the appeal and Disciplinary Bye-laws 27, 28 and 29 shall apply as appropriate. With the exception of Appeal Committee Regulations 6, 7, 25 – 30 and 25 – 41 the Appeal Committee Regulations shall apply to the hearing of the appeal.

Fees and Subscriptions

Setting of fees and subscriptions

29. The fees and subscriptions payable by Provisional Foundation Qualification Holders and Foundation Qualification Holders shall be those agreed by Council.

Subscriptions due date

30. Provisional Foundation Qualification Holder and Foundation Qualification Holder fees and subscriptions are due and payable upon first registration, and thereafter Foundation Qualification Holder subscriptions are payable on 1st January each year. Foundation Qualification Holders registered on or after 1 July shall pay a half rate subscription for the remainder of that first year.

Power to waive, reduce, remit or refund fees and subscriptions

31. The whole or any part of any fees or subscriptions payable by Foundation Qualification Holders may be waived, reduced, remitted or refunded, and the period within which payment must be made may be extended at the discretion of the Members’ Registrar.

Power to vary fees and subscriptions

32. ICAEW may from time to time, by resolution passed by Council, change the then prevailing rates or types of fees and subscriptions payable by Provisional Foundation Qualification Holders and Foundation Qualification Holders.

Continuing obligations

Compliance with Regulations

33. Provisional Foundation Qualification Holders and Foundation Qualification Holders are required to comply with the Code of Ethics, the Disciplinary Bye-laws and these Regulations at all times and failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.

ICAEW membership

34. Foundation Qualification Holder status does not entitle an individual to call themselves a member of ICAEW, or an ICAEW Chartered Accountant or use the designatory letters ACA or FCA. If a Foundation Qualification Holder holds themselves out falsely as a member of ICAEW or an ICAEW Chartered Accountant, or if they use the designatory letters ACA or FCA, they will be liable to action under the Disciplinary Bye-laws.  

Provision of information

35. Any changes to information previously provided, including personal contact details, should be notified within 28 days of the changes taking effect.

Engaging in Public Practice

36. A Provisional Foundation Qualification Holder or Foundation Qualification Holder may not engage in public practice unless they are an ICAEW member and eligible to engage in public practice under the Practising Certificate Regulations.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Requirements

37. Foundation Qualification Holders shall:

  • keep under review their needs for training and development having regard to the professional and other work they undertake; and
  • where such a review identifies a specific need for training or development act promptly to meet such need; and
  • certify annually to ICAEW compliance with these provisions; and
  • if requested by ICAEW, provide such evidence of compliance as may be required.

CPD exemption

38. Foundation Qualification Holders are exempt from the requirement to undertake CPD if they

  • provide no accountancy service (with or without reward); and
  • provide no other service for reward; and
  • do not act as a trustee, director of a body corporate or in any other capacity which carries with it an equivalent level of legal or financial responsibility; and
  • have no intention of providing the services in (a), (b) or (c) of this paragraph in the future.

39. Foundation Qualification Holders who are exempt from the requirement to undertake CPD must declare annually to ICAEW in order to claim their exemption.

ICAEW Code of Ethics

Ethical conduct

40. Provisional Foundation Qualification Holders and Foundation Qualification Holders shall uphold the ICAEW Code of Ethics in all of their professional and business activities, whether remunerated or voluntary, and are responsible for assessing threats to complying with those principles and for implementing safeguards where those threats are significant.