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Do I need a practising certificate?

Helpsheets and support

Published: 03 May 2023 Update History

Find out if you require a practising certificate (PC).

Who needs a PC?

You need an ICAEW PC when you engage in public practice.

What is public practice? 

Typically members engage in public practice when they become a principal in an accountancy firm or when they independently offer accountancy services to the public.

However, it is important to note that there are other situations where a PC is required, for example as an ICAEW insolvency licence holder, and as an employee responsible individual under the audit regulations.

You'll require a PC irrespective of whether you hold a PC with another body, with some exceptions.

If you are setting up a new accountancy practice, you will need to notify ICAEW about the name of your firm.

What if we don't use the description 'chartered accountants'?

If you're a principal and you engage in public practice, you need a practising certificate whatever you call yourself and your firm.

You need a practising certificate whether or not:

  1. You use the ICAEW logo;
  2. You have a PC from another professional body such as the ACCA or CIOT; or
  3. You undertake work in any of the regulated areas.

If you're a member of ICAEW and engage in public practice, you need an ICAEW practising certificate. 

Changes to PC requirements

The updated Statement on members engaging in public practice came into effect on 1 January 2024, along with new Practising certificate regulations and Corporate practice regulations.

It is very important that you read the statement to check whether you are required to hold a PC as some people who didn't require one previously will now need to hold one. 

If you now require a PC you have until 30 April 2024 to apply for one.  

Remember, failure to hold a PC when you would be considered to be engaging in public practice could result in disciplinary action against you.

Read ICAEW's current Statement on members engaging in public practice - UPDATED FOR 2024

For more information on these changes read this overview article or take a look at our scenarios and articles to see how the changes could apply to you. 

Previous guidance

For reference: ICAEW's previous Statement on engaging in public practice - expired 31 December 2023

Practising certificate changes

Guideline changes mean that even if you didn't need a practising certificate before you may now need one. Apply by 30 April.

Download the statement

PDF (175kb)

Read the updated ICAEW Statement on members engaging in public practice.