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Sponsor requirements – eligibility criteria

Your application and Examination of Experience must be supported by an eligible sponsor. This must be one person who meets all of the essential criteria.

One of the requirements for your submission is a completed form signed by a sponsor who supports your application.

This person needs to fulfil certain criteria to be eligible to become your sponsor. This page provides you with an overview of who can sponsor you, what they need to do and what is expected of them.

What is the role of the sponsor?

The role of the sponsor is an important one. The sponsor has several key responsibilities:

  • To confirm that they know the applicant.
  • To confirm that the applicant is of good character, and that there is no reason that they are aware of, why the applicant should not be admitted to ICAEW membership.
  • To verify to the best of their knowledge that the information in the application, and within the answers to the Examination of Experience provided by the applicant are a true and accurate representation of the work of the applicant.

To achieve this, the sponsor is required to:

  • Read the completed application form of the relevant applicant
  • Read the completed Examination of Experience answers of the relevant applicant
  • Use their professional judgement to satisfy themselves that the information and answers that have been provided by the applicant are true and accurate, and that the applicant is of good character

Once they have done all this, they will need to complete and sign the sponsor form.

Who can serve as a sponsor?

There are six essential criteria for a sponsor. Each applicant must have one sponsor who meets all of the required sponsor criteria to support their completed application. The sponsor must:

1) Know the applicant 

Whilst it's not necessary that the sponsor has worked with the applicant, they do need to be in a position to vouch for them and to verify that the information on their application is true. Family members, as well as non-accountants could act as a sponsor as long as they meet all the required criteria;

2) Be a full and current member of an IFAC body

They must hold full and current membership of a body belonging to the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) – this body must be a full IFAC member;

3) Have gained membership through the normal education and training route

They need to have gained full membership of that IFAC body through the normal education and training route (as opposed to through any form of reciprocal membership agreements or full or advanced credit or exemption arrangements);

4) Be CPD compliant

They need to be compliant with the CPD (continuing professional development) requirements of their IFAC member body;

5) Be of good standing

This includes having a good disciplinary record with no outstanding complaints against them;

6) Provide a letter of good standing

This needs to come from their professional body – which must be issued and dated within the three months immediately before the Pathways deadline date that the applicant is submitting at.

This letter from their professional body must confirm:

  • That they are a member of that body
  • The date and year they were admitted into membership
  • That membership has been gained by the normal education and training route (they may need to ask them for transcripts to evidence this)
  • That they have a good disciplinary record with no outstanding complaints against them, or advise us of the details of any disciplinary record or outstanding complaint(s)
  • That they are fully compliant with the continuing professional development (CPD) requirements of that body.

All sponsors must provide a letter of good standing. This must be included with the applicant’s application.

The only exception is where a sponsor is an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. An ICAEW Chartered Accountant does not need to provide a letter of good standing because we can check their membership status, disciplinary record, CPD compliance on our systems as part of the application process.

More questions? Please visit our frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the Pathways website at icaew.com/pathwaysfaqs.

Penalties for sponsors

Anyone acting as a sponsor who is found to have testified in an inappropriate manner will be liable to investigation and will be reported to their professional body.

Sponsors should also be aware that applicants are not permitted to plagiarise work (ie, incorporate any published or unpublished work in whatever format or medium) from other people or from the ICAEW illustrative answers. Failure to comply is considered to be misconduct. Where ICAEW believes misconduct may exist, the case will be referred to ICAEW Assessment Committee for investigation and potential disciplinary action, and referral to the candidate’s current professional body.

ICAEW puts applications through anti-plagiarism software as part of the application process.