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What is the Audit Qualification (AQ)?

The Audit Qualification (AQ) is awarded to ICAEW members who have demonstrated that they have achieved sufficient knowledge and supervised experience in audit, through examination and work experience gained within an ICAEW Authorised Training Employer.

The Audit Qualification is free of charge and, once granted, it remains yours indefinitely. In your career it will also:

  • Qualify you as counting towards the control percentage 1 of an audit registered firm
  • Make up one of the required elements of your application for signing audit reports

Why is the Audit Qualification important to your career?

Audit is a regulated area in the UK. This means that audit work undertaken is:

  • Ultimately signed off by an individual holding UK statutory audit rights who:

    - is a member of an recognised qualifying body (RQB)

    - holds the audit qualification

    - holds a licence to practise (known as a practising certificate); and

    - has been granted the title 'Responsible Individual' by an RSB. You must be nominated for this title by your firm.

  • Always supervised by a Recognised Supervisory Body (RSB)

Recognised Qualifying Body (RQB)

ICAEW is an RQB. An RQB is a professional body that has been granted powers by the government to award the appropriate (ie, audit) qualification. They ensure that individuals have met both the examination and practical training requirements specified for the qualification in the Companies Act.

Recognised Supervisory Bodies (RSB)

ICAEW is an RSB. An RSB is a professional body that has been granted powers by the government to supervise audit work. They monitor firms to ensure that work is completed competently, ethically and appropriately.

Responsible Individual

If you work on an audit during your training you will ultimately report to an individual within your firm who is known as a 'Responsible Individual'. This is the person who is qualified to sign off the audit report at the end of an audit. You must never sign an audit report unless you have been granted RI status by your professional body. Doing so will result in disciplinary action.  

1. The control percentage enables firm to become 'firms of registered auditors'. In order to maintain this status firms must ensure that at least 50% of partners hold the audit qualification.