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Payments from a client’s own account

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Published: 01 Jul 2013 Reviewed: 01 Jan 2020 Update History

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Technical helpsheet providing guidance for members in practice who make payments from a clients own account.


This helpsheet has been issued by ICAEW’s Ethics Advisory Service to help ICAEW members to identify whether it may be possible to make payments from a client’s own bank account and if so, what they must do to ensure compliance with ethical and regulatory requirements.


Members in practice are sometimes asked by their clients to make payments from their client’s own bank account or to sign cheques on their behalf. The need to make such payments arises for various reasons, for example, the directors of the client may be overseas, or the administration of a payroll may be eased considerably by having such an ability. It is worth noting however, with the evolution of technology and online banking, the need for accountants to be able to make payments from a client’s own bank account or to sign cheques on their behalf is ever decreasing.

Where a member does consider that there is a valid need for them to provide these services, they must adhere to the requirements of:

Members are also advised to consult their professional indemnity insurer prior to agreeing to provide such services to ensure they are adequately covered.


Where a practising member is considering accepting authority to make payments from a client’s own account, they should ensure that:


ICAEW Client Money Regulations

Where a firm has a power or control over the client’s own account, though not meeting the definition of clients’ money, it must ensure that it has the specific written authority of the client, acknowledged by the bank before exercising the authority, and it must maintain adequate records of the transactions it undertakes (regulation 4).

The individual within the firm being given the authority needs to be listed on the client’s bank mandate and must not simply log into online banking using the client’s personal logon details.

Specific written authority should also be obtained (preferably in writing) prior to making any payments or signing any cheques.

ICAEW Code of Ethics

Members must also have regard to the requirements of the ICAEW Code of Ethics when considering whether it is appropriate to have power to make payments from their client’s own account or sign cheques on their behalf.

Members must comply with the fundamental principle of objectivity (paragraph R112.1 of the ICAEW Code of Ethics) and a threats and safeguards approach should be adopted.

Where audit, assurance or review services are provided to the client, actual and perceived independence must be maintained under Part 4A or Part 4B of the ICAEW Code of Ethics or the FRC Ethical Standard as applicable (see When conducting audit or assurance engagements which independence requirements apply?). Appropriate safeguards would normally be required to reduce the self-review threat to an acceptable level – separate teams will often be appropriate in addition to ensuring that payments are only made on the specific written instructions of the client.

FRC Ethical Standard

In addition to the considerations already addressed, making payments from a client’s own account or signing cheques for a client amounts to providing an accounting service. As such auditors must have regard to the requirements of the FRC Ethical Standard, specifically paragraphs 5.151 to 5.164 (2016) or 5.117 to 5.127 (2019) and 5.167R (2016) or 5.40 (2019).

Auditors must not provide such services to PIEs, Other Entities of Public Interest, listed entities (unless they are SME listed entities under the 2016 Ethical Standard) or significant affiliates of such entities.

In cases where the auditor is not prohibited from providing such services, the auditor must ensure that they do not initiate transactions or take management decisions and that the services are purely of a mechanical nature. The auditor must also ensure that appropriate safeguards (including, for example, the use of separate teams) are applied to reduce the self-review threat to an acceptable level where independence is not compromised.

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.

Terms and conditions

© ICAEW 2024  All rights reserved.

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:

  • This permission is strictly limited to ICAEW members only who are using the helpsheet for guidance only.
  • The helpsheet is to be reproduced for personal, non-commercial use only and is not for re-distribution.

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 Jul 2013 (12: 00 AM BST)
    First published
    20 Mar 2024 (12: 00 AM GMT)
    Changelog created. Converted to new template. Links updated. Helpsheet has not had a full review