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Brexit and its potential impact on professional qualifications

The recognition of professional qualifications is a significant issue which is being considered as part of the Brexit withdrawal negotiations as well as in the context of the future relationship between the UK and EU27. But it is important to place the issue in context.

Recognition of professional qualifications procedures are directly relevant for members who have or wish to move and work cross-border in regulated and reserved professional activities (hereafter referred to as regulated). Only statutory audit is regulated in all EU member states and there is considerable diversity in national rules on what is and what is not regulated in the accountancy sphere.

Brexit and recognition of professional qualifications

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For most ICAEW members, therefore, the Brexit implications on professional recognition are not directly relevant. Equally, the recognition procedures do not directly impact on the capacity of ICAEW to offer the ACA in training markets in the EU.

All this being said, ICAEW is strongly in favour of the UK and EU achieving a comparable regime of professional recognition to what exists today. Whatever the Brexit outcome, ICAEW will continue to develop the ACA as one of the most advanced learning and professional development accountancy programmes and build partnerships to promote its take-up in the EU.

Our Brexit guide Recognition of professional qualifications addresses the specific implications of Brexit for recognition arrangements giving access to regulated services. It specifically focuses on the potential “no deal” scenario, providing guidance on the most commonly relevant circumstances, while also setting out where ICAEW can assist members and students and EU professionals with enquiries. The focus is on arrangements between the UK and EU member states, although much of this will also be relevant to members in the other EEA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). We intend to add further specific guidance relating to professional recognition between the UK and Ireland, as the historic bilateral links raise specific additional points for consideration, where further clarity is being sought.

The complete guide covers:

  • the current situation for ICAEW members in the UK and EU27;
  • arrangements if there is a withdrawal Agreement and a transition period;
  • implications of a “no deal” scenario for ICAEW members pursuing new recognition applications;
  • implications of a "no deal" scenario for EU professionals pursuing new recognition applications in the UK, and with ICAEW specifically;
  • implications for students; and
  • what ICAEW is doing to engage with the UK government and the EU institutions during the negotiation process.