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Audit Qualification (AQ)

It is not possible to become a UK statutory auditor (‘responsible individual’ or ‘RI’) without first having an appropriate qualification under the Companies Act 2006. ICAEW's appropriate qualification is the Audit Qualification (AQ).

Question: Do you wish / need to sign audit reports in the UK?

  • If the answer is ‘yes’ – please read the information on this web page.
  • If the answer is ‘no’ – this web page is not relevant to you.


ICAEW members (or members of other UK or international accountancy bodies) cannot sign UK statutory reports on the strength of membership alone; further conditions must be met.

A member of ICAEW can act as a UK statutory auditor (‘responsible individual’ or ‘RI’) – ie, sign a UK company audit report – only if they:

  • hold an appropriate qualification under the Companies Act 2006; and
  • hold an ICAEW practising certificate (PC); and
  • are registered with ICAEW or another recognised supervisory body as a ‘responsible individual’ within a firm of registered auditors.

Even if your current home body membership entitles you to conduct statutory audits in another country, it will not entitle you to sign statutory audit reports in the UK.

ACCA members with the PCAQ

We are able to recognise ACCA members who hold a current Practising Certificate and Audit Qualification (PCAQ) with the ACCA, and award successful Pathways applicants the AQ once they have paid the required ICAEW admission and membership fee and have gained ICAEW membership.  

If you hold a current PCAQ with the ACCA, you should submit a copy of this with your Pathways application and confirm within your application that you would like to apply or the AQ on this basis.

ACCA members without the PCAQ

If you have not yet gained the PCAQ with ACCA by the time you apply for Pathways – we strongly recommend that BEFORE you submit a Pathways application, you complete the missing elements with the ACCA before citing or transferring your PCAQ to ICAEW at a later date. This will avoid you needing to complete considerable extra training and examinations to obtain the AQ with ICAEW.

Other applicants

Pathways does not provide a route towards the AQ for all other applicants because our regulator, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), has not recognised these qualifications for audit purposes in the UK. Therefore, all other Pathways applicants who wish to gain the AQ will be required to re-qualify with ICAEW. This involves:

  • passing the three ACA Advanced Level exams; and
  • passing the two ACA Certificate Level exams – Law and Principles of Taxation; and
  • undertaking a further three years of practical experience which meets the requirements of the Companies Act 2006 (you may apply for a maximum of one year of credit for prior work experience).