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Partner definition

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Published: 01 Jan 2017 Reviewed: 01 Jan 2020 Update History

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Who is a ‘partner’ for the purposes of the FRC Ethical Standard?


This helpsheet has been issued by ICAEW’s Technical Advisory Service to help ICAEW members interpret the definition of partner in the FRC Ethical Standard.

Members may also wish to refer to the following related helpsheet and guidance:


The FRC Glossary of Terms – Ethics and auditing defines ‘partner’ as:

An individual with authority to bind the firm with respect to the performance of a professional services engagement.

An individual does not need to have the title of partner to fall within this definition, although the FRC Rolling Record (September 2016 meeting) confirms that for the definition to apply to an individual, they should have the authority to bind the firm without further reference to another individual in that firm.

For the purposes of partner rotation, a firm must also consider whether an individual falls under the definition of engagement partner, key partner involved in the engagement or key audit partner. Further discussion on partner rotation is available in the helpsheet Rotation of audit partners and staff.

If in doubt seek advice

ICAEW members, affiliates, ICAEW students and staff in eligible firms with member firm access can discuss their specific situation with the Ethics Advisory Service on +44 (0)1908 248 250 or via webchat.

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ICAEW cannot accept responsibility for any person acting or refraining to act as a result of any material contained in this helpsheet. This helpsheet is designed to alert members to an important issue of general application. It is not intended to be a definitive statement covering all aspects but is a brief comment on a specific point.

ICAEW members have permission to use and reproduce this helpsheet on the following conditions:

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For further details members are invited to telephone the Technical Advisory Service T +44 (0)1908 248250. The Technical Advisory Service comprises the technical enquiries, ethics advice, anti-money laundering and fraud helplines. For further details visit icaew.com/tas.

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  • Update History
    01 Jan 2017 (12: 00 AM GMT)
    First published
    20 Mar 2024 (12: 00 AM GMT)
    Changelog created. Converted to new template. Links updated. Helpsheet has not had a full review