The AIA practising certificate in the UK and Ireland entitles you to operate in public practice; sign or generate reports, accounts, certificates or tax returns concerning any person’s financial affairs, whether you are an unincorporated body, sole trader or a firm.
With an AIA practising certificate you can accept an appointment as an independent examiner; promote yourself as an accountant being available to the public to sign or generate reports, accounts, certificates or tax returns; communicate with HM Revenue & Customs, banks and other financial institutions on behalf of clients, including the completion of a tax return, verifying clients’ income in support of mortgage applications and other financial affairs.
AIA is committed to ensuring all of our members in practice have access to the right information, support and guidance to ensure you operate a successful practice, and adhere to all the necessary regulations. Practising members also receive a tailored monthly e-publication, In Practice, which details AIA news and guidance, new regulations and advice on compliance and due-diligence.
AIA makes sure its practising members offer best service to the public by maintaining the highest standards in respect of the guidance provided to members, together with continued monitoring in relation to quality assurance and compliance with the Money Laundering Regulations 2017.
MONEY LAUNDERING REGULATIONS 2017
Under the regulations of the 4th EU Anti Money Laundering (AML) Directive all external accountants must be supervised for anti money laundering purposes by a designated supervisory authority. HM Treasury awarded AIA supervisory status for its members in the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 and 2017, to monitor all its practising members. AIA practising members have a free subscription to AMLCC to help with AML compliance.
INDEPENDENT EXAMINATION OF CHARITIES
AIA is included in the Charities Act 2011 in the list of bodies whose members are able to act as independent examiners for the accounts of charities with an annual income of up to £500,000.
BANKS AND BUILDING SOCIETIES
AIA members are recognised by all the major UK banks and building societies as being eligible to sign the accounts of clients seeking finance and mortgages. For the comprehensive list, please click here.
FINANCIAL CONDUCT AUTHORITY
AIA is recognised under Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules allowing members to sign a high net worth exemption statement.
Under articles 60H and 60Q of the Regulated Activities Order, agreements with high net worth individuals are exempt from regulation, subject to certain conditions. One of these conditions is that a statement of the person’s income or assets be made in accordance with Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules. The relevant rules are set out in Appendix 1 to Consumer Credit Sourcebook (CONC), and CONC App 1.4.3R specifies that the statement must be signed by the lender or owner (subject to App 1.4.4R) or by an accountant who is a member of any of the bodies listed or of a professional body for accountants established in a jurisdiction outside the United Kingdom.
Further details can be found in the FCA Handbook by clicking here.
NATIONAL APPROVED LETTING SCHEME
AIA members are recognised by the National Approved Letting Scheme for the signing of NALS Accountant's Report.
ATOL REPORTING ACCOUNTANTS' SCHEME
AIA and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have signed an agreement that enables members to register under the ATOL Reporting Accountants' scheme. The scheme has been developed by the CAA in order to help improve the standard of ATOL reporting and to provide assurance that financial information which is submitted on behalf of ATOL holders is accurate. It is designed to ensure that designated accountants of participating bodies are sufficiently knowledgeable about both the industry and specific requirements of ATOL to provide the required assurance needed by the CAA.
UK/SWISS TAX AGREEMENT
AIA is included as a relevant professional body per Article 4(1) of the UK/Swiss tax agreement, which states: "A Swiss paying agent may only accept a relevant person as a non-UK domiciled individual when provided with a certificate produced by a lawyer, an accountant or a tax adviser who is a member of a relevant professional body confirming that the relevant person is not domiciled within the United Kingdom and has claimed the remittance basis of taxation for the relevant tax years."
AIA members in practice in the UK are licensed to instruct barristers directly. The licence holder can instruct any member of the Bar for advice, and in some circumstances representation, on their own behalf or another's behalf in the specialist area. The Licence permits AIA UK practising members to instruct the Bar directly for advice and for representation before the County Court, Crown Court, Magistrates Court, First-Tier Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber, First-Tier Tribunal Tax Chamber, Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber and Upper Tribunal Tax and Chancery Chamber. A copy of the Licence is stored in the AIA Secure Document Library in the 'Members in Practice' section and must be sent to counsel with each set of instructions.
UK VISAS AND IMMIGRATION
AIA is recognised under UK Visas and Immigration guidance allowing members to provide accountants' evidence for Tier 1 (General) immigration applications and are also included in the policy guidance for Entrepreneurs coming to the UK under Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) of the Points Based System. For the full guidance for Tier 1 (Entrepreneurs) please click here and for the full guidance for Tier 1 (General) click here.
AIA's quality assurance programme, along with our disciplinary process and CPD requirements gives your clients confidence they are putting their business in safe hands. The quality assurance process is an opportunity for you to work with our quality assurance advisors to receive personalised advice and guidance on best practice, compliance and new ways to develop your practice.
All AIA members in practice have access to a library of documents providing you with the most up-to-date templates for engagement letters, disengagement letters, continuity agreements, everything you need to make it easy for you to run your practice effectively and in line with current guidance.