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Practising certificates

Before you engage in public practice in the UK or the rest of the EEA, you need to hold an ICAEW practising certificate (PC) and comply with our Professional Indemnity Insurance and Practice Assurance Regulations. This is irrespective of whether you hold a PC with another body, with some exceptions.

Once you set up your accountancy practice, you will need to notify ICAEW about the name of your firm.  See forms below on ways to contact us.

When do I need a practising certificate (PC)?

You need an ICAEW practising certificate when you engage in 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 (within the European Economic Area).

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.

Non-UK residents

For those resident outside of the UK, Republic of Ireland and Crown Dependencies, ICAEW has set out its requirements for holding a PC in a flowchart. 

Apply for a practising certificate

To apply for a Practising Certificate, please complete an application form. You should read the guidance notes for applicants before completing the Practising Certificate application form.

Applications are normally processed within 10-14 working days.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Application form and 'are you ready to go into practice' questionnaire

The 2023 practising fees are:

  • £395 for members practising in the EEA who are required to hold a PC (this includes the PC fee and the Practice Assurance fee)
  • £88 for members residing outside of the UK
  • £59 for OPBAS Levy UK (mainland only)

Free approval service and example letterheads and checklists

Technical Advisory Services offer a free and confidential approval service to review the practice name and letterhead and advise whether it satisfies ICAEW and other requirements. Advisory Services have also produced letterhead checklists and examples to assist you.

If in doubt seek advice

Practising without a PC can result in disciplinary action

Practice Assurance, our compulsory practice review scheme, applies to all members who hold a PC. PC holders are required to comply with the Practice Assurance Regulations.

When you apply for a PC, you must be able to demonstrate recent, relevant post qualification work experience in the areas in which you intend to practise, ethical awareness, CPD and PII compliance.

If you are still unsure or if you are concerned that you may have acted without a PC, contact Ethics Advisory Services on +44 (0)1908 248 250 or via webchat; they are able to offer a confidential service and are free from the duty to report misconduct.

Returning to work

If you are returning to work after a career break, you may be interested in our Career break and getting back to work programme.