Do I need a Practising Certificate?

Public Practice: Accountancy

If you are an AIA member and you are engaged in public practice in the United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland you must hold a practising certificate. Members who are principals of entities that are not engaged in public practice do not require a practising certificate for that role, but may for others they undertake.

If you are a responsible individual or a key audit partner in an audit firm then you must hold a
certificate with a Recognised Supervisory Body (RSB) under audit and local audit regulations. You
must also hold a certificate if you are a licensed insolvency practitioner who accepts appointments
and be supervised accordingly. 

Am I engaged in public practice?

You are engaged in public practice if you are a principal or are held out as a principal in an entity
which is:

  • a public practitioner; or
  • the parent of a public practitioner; or
  • an entity which is a principal of a public practitioner

You are a principal if you are:

  • a member in sole practice
  • a salaried or equity partner of a partnership, a member of a limited liability partnership
    (designated and non-designated members), a statutory (de jure) director, a de facto director
    a shadow director of a company; or
  • a member ‘held out’ as a principal.

If you are employed in practice and have a functional title of ‘director’ you would not be a principal if
it is clear on the firm’s website or elsewhere that you are not a principal in the practice.

AIA Public Practice Regulations

All practising certificate holders are subject to the Public Practice Regulations, including monitoring
and supervision rules.

Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII)

As a member in public practice in the United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland you must obtain the appropriate level of Professional Indemnity Insurance for your practice as mandated in the AIA Public Practice Regulation. 

If you are not required to hold a practising certificate, you should still consider taking out appropriate insurance to protect you against any potential liabilities arising from your activities.

A member who provides accountancy services in circumstances where a practising certificate is not
needed should inform the recipient of the accountancy services of the absence of PII.

Anti-money laundering supervision

AIA automatically supervises members in practice for the purposes of anti-money laundering activity in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. 

If you conclude that you are not in public practice, you should still consider whether your activities
fall within the scope of the UK/ROI Money Laundering Regulations and requirements for AML
supervision. Supervision can be provided by AIA or another professional body supervisor in line
with current regulations.

Further guidance

Detailed guidance to determine whether your current work is within the scope of public practice and therefore subject to a requirement to hold a practising certificate is available below. 

Public Practice Guidance