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May 2022

Professional Standards Update: May 2022
In this issue we highlight updated CCAB guidance, ask how your firm is using our newest training film, All Too Familiar, hear from the ICAEW Regulatory Board (IRB)’s new chair and give an update from our Quality Assurance team following the return to onsite reviews.  

We have now returned to on-site monitoring visits

Our quality assurance team has now returned to pre-pandemic ways of working, including on-site visits. For firms and practitioners that are in scope for an on-site visit, we find that they provide the best opportunity for high quality interaction between firms and our reviewers. They also enable the visit to be conducted in the most proportionate and effective manner for all those involved. 

In order for all visits to run as smoothly as possible, please ensure that key principals and staff at the firm are present during the visit and that all information requested is available. This may require some advanced planning if your firm is now adopting a hybrid working model. It is important that we receive timely responses to our queries whilst on-site, otherwise the process may become protracted and may result in our reviewer needing to return at a later date to complete the visit.

In the case of unforeseen circumstances in the days leading up to your visit, please tell us by emailing qadvisits@icaew.com and we can agree an appropriate solution. 

Serving on our regulatory and disciplinary committees
We currently have vacancies on the Chartered Accountants Compensation Scheme Committee. ICAEW, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland (ICAS) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI) operate a compensation scheme for members of the public who have incurred a financial loss as a result of investment advice given by a firm of chartered accountants which, at the time the advice was given, was authorised or licensed to give such advice by one of the three institutes. The Chartered Accountants Compensation Scheme Committee administers and manages the scheme. It also considers claims arising from investment business conducted by authorised/licensed firm under the investment business rulebooks.  

AML telephone monitoring reviews: a two-way process
Reviewers from ICAEW’s Quality Assurance Department (QAD) have introduced monitoring reviews focused solely on anti-money laundering (AML) compliance. We look at why your firm might receive a call, what you can do to prepare, and how to make the most of the advice on offer.

Leadership, listening and finding a voice
The ICAEW Regulatory Board (IRB) ensures ICAEW’s regulatory and disciplinary work promotes and maintains the highest professional standards. We talk to Philip Nicol-Gent, the board’s new chair, about what being a professional means to him, and how leadership, listening and staying ahead of the curve will ensure the public interest is always at the heart of the IRB’s work.

HMRC update May 2022: case queries mailbox service
Due to a significant increase in case queries, there are currently delays to response times. Read the latest advice from HMRC to find out how to help progress your query, including ensuring you have completed the contact form, and what not to do.

Amendments to Article 89 - Financial Sanctions and Insolvency Practitioners
The Insolvency Service is aware of some individuals who may be subject to financial sanctions who are seeking to use both solvent and insolvent liquidations to circumvent financial sanctions. Read this update from the Insolvency Service for information about financial sanctions. It also gives details of a free subscription service to identify designated persons, entities or bodies. Insolvency practitioners are encouraged to subscribe to the service.

April 2022

FRC seeks to register auditors of public interest entities
Proposed changes to the registration of auditors of public interest entities will change the routing of AQR reports but will not have a substantive impact on outcomes.

Professional Standards Update: April 2022
Read the April update from ICAEW Professional Standards.

Regulating firms: a game-changer for insolvency regulation
The ICAEW Regulatory Board has welcomed proposals to widen the regulatory regime for insolvency to include firms as well as individual practitioners. But the board’s response to the government’s consultation on the future of insolvency regulation also argues against the introduction of a single government regulator.

April 2022: Deemed consent procedures update
From 1 June 2022, if a company or insolvency practitioner knows HMRC is already dealing with the company on a compliance matter, please send any initial notification of a Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation procedure directly to the HMRC officer handling that correspondence – not to the central mailbox.

Accountancy AML Supervisors Group (AASG) Risk Outlook 
The AASG Risk Outlook has been updated.

Medium term (3 year) legal services strategy consultation
Some minor amendments have been made to the IRB’s Legal Services Strategy and we now invite your feedback on the updated strategy before we update our Legal services business plan.  The deadline for responses is Monday 23 May 2022.

Disciplinary update: April 2022
Since the last disciplinary update two appeal orders have been published as well as five consent orders issued by the Investigation Committee and two fixed penalties.

AML - the essentials, issue 24
In this issue, we summarise the resources issued in response to UK sanctions against Russia, highlight the implications of the Economic Crime Act and look at the risks associated with virtual assets in the seventh instalment of AML: The Basics.

AMLbites: Sanctions
How sanctions work and apply to ICAEW firms.

AML webinar: How to verify your client
Our panel will discuss the stages of client verification and how these should link to your money laundering risk assessment.

March 2022

DD requirements: Update to high risk third countries list – UAE now included
The amended list came into force on 29 March 2022. Enhanced due diligence is required for all business relationships and transactions with a person, or entity, established in a high risk third country. Read HMT’s advisory notice, which provides additional clarification.

Changes to ICAEW’s CPD Policy: give your view
ICAEW wishes to consult on changes it proposes to make to ICAEW’s CPD Policy. The consultation is open from 24 March to 18 May 2022

Economic crime: gatekeeper or enabler?
With fraud on the rise, we look at how ICAEW is working with other stakeholders to ensure its member firms stay at the forefront of the fight against economic crime, and avoid unwittingly becoming professional enablers.

Raise an AML concern
How to raise a concern about a potential breach of the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 by an ICAEW supervised firm.

Audit guidance in response to the Ukraine crisis
No one can fail to be appalled by the actions of the Russian Government and the awful situation for Ukraine and its people. Although insignificant in comparison, many ICAEW regulated audit firms will face some challenges and difficult decisions as a result.

Professional Standards Update: March 2022 
Read the March update from ICAEW Professional Standards. 

Investment business: keeping on the right side of compliance
Complying with the requirements of your firm’s DPB (Investment Business) licence needn’t be onerous if you follow some simple good practices. 

Audit monitoring: telling the story 
ICAEW’s audit monitoring report for 2020/21 shows most firms reached a good standard. But it also flags areas for improvement, highlights how root cause analysis can boost performance, and urges firms to tell an audit story.

An opportunity to contribute
The ICAEW Regulatory Board (IRB) is currently recruiting new members. We talk to existing board members about their background, why they decided to serve, the benefits and challenges, and the need for a blend of skills. 

Changes to UK sanctions in response to developments in Ukraine
Frequently asked questions about changes to UK sanctions against Russia, in response to the conflict in Ukraine.

CCAB publishes joint guidance on Russia sanctions
The Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies has issued joint guidance for the profession on the situation in Ukraine.

Disciplinary update: March 2022
The March disciplinary update is now available, and we recommend reading the update to familiarise yourself with the latest cases we are seeing.

Investment business: keeping on the right side of compliance
Complying with the DPB (Investment Business) licence requirements needn’t be onerous if you follow some simple good practices. We look at the common problems that come up during ICAEW quality assurance monitoring visits, and offer tips to make sure your firm doesn’t make the same mistakes.

ICAEW Disciplinary Framework consultation: have your say before the deadline
The ICAEW Regulatory Board’s consultation on proposed changes to the disciplinary framework closes later this month. The proposals aim to simplify it and make it more accessible to users.

February 2022

Audit monitoring: telling the story
ICAEW’s audit monitoring report for 2020/21 shows most firms reached a good standard. But it also flags areas for improvement, highlights how root cause analysis can boost performance, and urges firms to tell an audit story.

Third country audit registration in EU
Firms seeking to secure the audit of an entity with an overseas listing that involves registration for the first time with a particular EU state need to allow the necessary timescales to get this through for their reporting period.

Professional Standards Update: February 2022
Read the February update from ICAEW Professional Standards.

Be prepared for Quality Management standards
Even the smallest firm needs to ensure it is prepared for compliance with the new standards from December 2022.

Please plan ahead: regulatory applications and firm structure changes
ICAEW is implementing a new records management system this spring. As the new system goes live, there may be some disruption to our usual processing times, particularly during March and April. If you or your firm is considering a new regulatory application or change (e.g., to the structure of your firm or to your own registration record), please contact regulatorysupport@icaew.com at the earliest opportunity. Please note, you must notify us of any changes to the structure of your firm within 10 business days of the change. Read more information about maintaining your firm’s record is.

An opportunity to contribute
The ICAEW Regulatory Board (IRB) is currently recruiting new members. We talk to existing board members about their background, why they decided to serve, the benefits and challenges, and the need for a blend of skills.

The IRB: building a board for the future
The ICAEW Regulatory Board (IRB) is at a critical point in its development. It recently announced the appointment of a new chair and is currently recruiting new members. We talk to serving board members and the chair of the independent Regulatory and Conduct Appointments Committee about what makes an effective board, why diversity – in all its forms – is so important, and what qualities prospective members could bring to the mix.

Is trust enough? AML and professional scepticism
ICAEW’s latest educational drama film, All Too Familiar, examines the role of professional scepticism in the fight against economic crime. Produced in collaboration with HMRC, the film looks at a real life scenario of how firms and individuals may inadvertently become ‘professional enablers’ for criminals involved in everything from financial fraud to modern slavery and terrorism.

COVID-support fraud: staying vigilant on the frontline
Fraudsters have been targeting COVID-19 business support schemes since their inception. And although the key programmes ended during 2021, the issue has not gone away. For accountancy firms now preparing year-end accounts, staying alert to COVID-related fraud is more important than ever.

Disciplinary update: February 2022
Since our last update, 3 tribunal findings and a settlement order have been published as well as 14 consent orders issued by the Investigation Committee.

January 2022

AML monitoring
View ICAEW’s latest AML supervisory activity.

View from the firms
View the latest quality assurance monitoring results.

IRB appoints new Chair
The IRB has announced the appointment of its new Chair, Philip Nicol-Gent.

Changes to ICAEW’s disciplinary framework: give your view
The IRB wishes to consult on changes it proposes to make to ICAEW’s disciplinary framework. The consultation is open from 19 January 2022.

Professional Standards Update: January 2022
Read the January update from ICAEW Professional Standards.

Investment business licensing: expanding your services
Investment business covers a wide range of activities that accountancy firms might carry out as part of their broader client services. In the latest in our series on moving into new regulated areas, we look at what your firm needs to do to get a DPB (Investment Business) licence.

Upholding the right to appeal
In the latest in our series looking at the work of ICAEW’s regulatory and disciplinary committees, we talk to Angus Withington QC, chair of the Appeal Committee, about its role and responsibilities, and why a final right of appeal is so important. 

Disciplinary update: January 2022
Since the last disciplinary update, one appeal committee order has been published, as well as nine tribunal findings, eight consent orders (issued by the Investigation Committee) and six fixed penalties.

December 2021

Updated Probate Regulations
Following a consultation process, we applied to the Legal Services Board to update the Probate Regulations to mandate price and service transparency. The changes have been approved and new regulations are now in effect. ICAEW probate accredited firms have until 1 February 2022 to comply.

Insolvency reform overdue but regulator proposals “potentially damaging”
ICAEW has welcomed government plans to modernise regulation of the insolvency sector but raised concerns about the transfer of responsibilities from professional bodies to a new single regulator.

Audit monitoring report 2020/21
The 2020/21 Audit monitoring report is now available. Use the report to help maintain and focus on continuous quality improvements for audit work.

Update for sole practitioners
Our Quality Assurance team highlight the key issues identified during recent Practice Assurance monitoring reviews.

AML – the essentials, issue 23
AML the essentials, issue 23 contains useful information on HMRC Agent accounts, the SARs online portal and Government’s Annual Report on AML supervision.

AMLbites: New videos available
Two new bitesize videos focussing on suspicious activity reporting have been launched as part of our AMLbites series.

Reissued Traffic Light Guide to investment business activity
Use the guide to identify whether a DPB (Investment Business) licence or FCA authorisation is needed to undertake a particular investment activity. The guide also gives examples of activity that does not require authorisation under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

Quality Assurance monitoring – updated December 2021
We have returned to our pre-COVID-19 review practices, including onsite reviews. When our scheduling team contacts you to confirm the review date, they will tell you whether the review will be onsite or desk-based. If an onsite visit is not possible, our scheduling team will discuss alternatives with you.

Professional Standards update: December 2021
Read the December update from ICAEW Professional Standards.

Disciplinary update: December 2021
Since the last update 2 appeal committee orders have been published, as well as 7 tribunal findings, 1 disciplinary settlement, 9 consent orders issued by the Investigation Committee and 2 fixed penalties

Digging deeper: a more forensic approach to special investigations
The Professional Conduct Department’s (PCD) Special Investigations Team was set up in March 2021 to focus on the most complex and high profile complaints cases. We talk to Nigel Howell, ICAEW’s Head of Investigation, and Sarah Brook, the new team’s Senior Manager, about the need for special investigations, progress so far and why flexibility is so important.

November 2021

Thematic review: Trust and company service providers
Use this new guidance to identify the money laundering risks that are linked to offering trust and company services, and understand how to mitigate and avoid these risks.

Insolvency monitoring visits a year in review
A recent ICAEW Restructuring and Insolvency Roadshow looked at the welcome return of face-to-face monitoring and discussed some of the key compliance topics insolvency practitioners (IPs) need to keep an eye on.

Insolvency News, issue 6
Updates from HMRC on their work to improve the customer journey for IPs and reminders to ensure you have carried out your 2021 compliance review before the end of the year.

Audit News, issue 69
New guidance and recordings on reporting matters of material significance to charity regulators, a webinar from QAD on important matters from Q4 and guidance on what a good audit file looks like in the context of going concern. 

Energy supplier insolvencies
With the growing numbers of energy supplier insolvencies, the Insolvency Service is concerned about the treatment of customers, particularly those who had outstanding debts at the time of the insolvency.

The latest update on your audit monitoring visits
As we return to onsite monitoring visits, QAD have provided an update which includes information about the shadowing of some of these visits by the FRC Professional Oversight Team.

What's the fuss about file notes?
During a recent ICAEW Restructuring and Insolvency Roadshow, Michelle Butler, partner at The Compliance Alliance, talked about why file notes are so important, how timing is everything, and the need to create a culture of documentation.

Professional Standards update: November 2021
Read the November update from ICAEW Professional Standards.

The IC: ensuring accountants play by the book
ICAEW’s Investigation Committee (IC) plays a critical role in upholding the highest standards of practice and professional conduct. We look at the wide range of issues the committee deals with, how it functions on the ground, and the importance of protecting the public interest.

Training day: seeing the big picture
Every year members of all ICAEW’s regulatory and disciplinary committees come together for training. We look at why these training days are so important, and how the skills members take away enhance not only their committee work but also their wider professional and personal lives.

Disciplinary update: November 2021
Since our October update, there have been no new published outcomes from disciplinary tribunals. However, the following Orders were made by the Investigation Committee and published relating to audit, AML compliance, giving assurances in respect of Practice Assurance, and complying with ethical obligations on client handover.  

October 2021

Charity Commission urges auditors to meet MoMS reporting requirements
The Charity Commission for England and Wales wants to see ICAEW audit firms do better at meeting their duty to report matters of material significance including modified audit opinions for charities. In this article, we look at why these reports are so important, and what firms can do more widely to improve their reporting of matters of material significance.

Professional Standards update: October 2021
Read the October update from ICAEW Professional Standards.

AMLbites  Providing you with the basics on popular money laundering topics. Each video lasts around 10 minutes and is freely available for all to view. These videos are aimed at money laundering reporting officers, compliance principals and people in regulatory roles. These could also be used as a training tool for your staff.

Probate regulation: transparency and engagement top the agenda
ICAEW has recently been consulting on its new reserved legal services strategy, and on plans to make service and price transparency mandatory for probate-accredited firms. We talk to the IRB’s alternate chair for legal services, Steve Barrow, and ICAEW’s head of regulatory policy, Peter James, about the importance of transparency and how best to engage stakeholders.   

A cradle to grave service: applying for probate accreditation
In the latest in our series on moving into new regulated areas, we look at what your firm needs to do to start working in probate in England and Wales.

Disciplinary update: October 2021
Read about the latest disciplinary cases, consent orders and fixed penalties.

Back to the office: seize the opportunity to refresh your AML culture
The return to office-based working offers the ideal opportunity for MLROs to reflect on changes to the risk landscape over the past 18 months, check their firms’ AML policies and procedures remain fit for purpose, and refresh staff training. 

More than six months ago

 

Useful links

Please make use of the following resources to ensure you are up-to-date with the latest regulatory information and news: