The UK Audit Qualification explained
The UK Audit Qualification is a separate qualification awarded to members. It is free, confirms you have met a certain level of audit experience, and once awarded, it is yours indefinitely.
Why might I need it?
The most obvious reason is that it is one of the prerequisites to becoming a Responsible Individual (RI). Responsible Individuals are authorised to sign audit reports.
While you may not intend working in audit in the future, career plans change. If they do, you will be one step closer to becoming an RI.
Having the Audit Qualification also means that you can count towards the control percentage required for a firm to maintain its Registered Auditor status.
How do I get it?
The qualification requires you to gain 240 days of audit experience, 120 of which must be statutory (ie, under the Companies Act). Your experience is recorded within your training file. Even if you don’t reach the full 240 days during your training, you can still ‘bank’ what you do get and top this up later.
Audit experience is only eligible when gained at an EEA registered audit firm that is also an ICAEW authorised training employer. Full details on the Audit Qualification can be found at icaew.com/aq.
When must I apply for it?
When updating your training file at your six-month review, you need to complete the Audit Experience tab. Once you have added an entry, ask your employer to verify that the number and split of your audit experience days is accurate. They should add constructive feedback to your file to confirm that you are competent within audit.
In contrast to the rest of your training file, the feedback must be added via your reviewer’s own log in. You should add your experience every six months, not all at the end of your training agreement or the experience may be disallowed.
All of your audit experience must also be submitted for one final approval within six months of the end of your training agreement and be approved by your employer. Until all the entries say “Approved” your application is not complete. Approval must be completed within the six-month deadline. If you miss this deadline, your experience can not be claimed.
This final approval should also be completed if you change firm prior to your agreement being cancelled.
Can I apply for the Audit Qualification later if I need it?
Yes, but there are restrictions. If you haven’t logged and submitted your audit experience gained during your training within six months of the end of your training agreement, you can’t go back and claim this experience later. If you want to earn the Audit Qualification, you will need to start accumulating experience again from scratch.
With audit thresholds increasing, fewer companies need to have an audit and cost implications mean that companies often opt out of an audit if they don’t have to have one. This means fewer audit days are available for students and recently qualified members, so it is only going to get harder to gain the Audit Qualification.
Claim the credit you deserve for the skills you have acquired!