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Injunction bans unrecognised accounting institute from misleading public

28 October 2020: ICAEW, ICAS and Chartered Accountants Ireland have won a High Court injunction to ban an unrecognised, unlicensed organisation from offering chartered accountancy qualifications.

A Brussels-based company calling itself the European Institute of Chartered Accountants (EICA) was trading online, offering misleading qualifications and using the FCA and CA designations without authorisation, until the trio stepped in.

Acting to uphold the integrity of the chartered accountancy qualification, the three accounting bodies obtained an injunction earlier this month against the EICA and its directors, Muhammad Javaid Iqbal and Vesela Kirilova Stavreva.

The EICA is not recognised as a chartered or qualification awarding body and has been deceiving the public about the qualifications it offered and its status as a chartered body, the court heard during the hearing.

The injunction bans the company and its directors from claiming they have any connection to ICAEW, ICAS or Chartered Accountants Ireland. They are also banned from using the descriptions ‘chartered accountants’, ‘CA’ or ‘FCA’ relating to the provision of education, certification or training.

Failure to comply with the order could result in the directors being held in contempt of court and face criminal charges.

The accounting bodies said they were pleased the court recognised the standing of the prestigious qualification, and said they will “not hesitate to take action” to defend its reputation and credibility where necessary.

“The European Institute of Chartered Accountants, also known as EICA, is not recognised as a chartered or qualification awarding body and is therefore misleading people about the nature and standing of the qualifications it offers,” said the ICAEW, ICAS and Chartered Accountants Ireland in a joint statement. 

“It’s important that people have trust in Chartered Accountants, so we work hard to maintain the integrity of our qualifications and the description ‘Chartered Accountant’, and to prevent the public from being misled,” the trio said. “We invest heavily in brand protection for the benefit of our membership and we do not tolerate misuse or misrepresentation.”

The ICAEW has a legal mandate to maintain the highest professional and ethical standards within the accountancy profession.

As an industry improvement regulator, it supervises and monitors over 12,000 firms, holding them, and all ICAEW members and students, to the highest standards of professional competency and conduct.