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ACCA Practising Certificates Explained

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An ACCA Practising Certificate (PC) shows that you have the relevant experience and knowledge to perform the duties of a Chartered Accountant.

Last year, the ACCA used feedback from members to update the Practising Certificate process. Using a similar framework to the student Practical Experience Requirements they created a smoother progression from student to practising member.

However, the minimum competency level members need to demonstrate remains challenging.

So, we’ve produced a quick look at Practising Certificates to give you a better understanding.

Practising Certificate training record (PCTR) Guidance

If you have already started recording a practising certificate training record (PCTR), which was replaced on 1st January 2019, the ACCA provides a transition guide to help you.

All completed PCTRs need to be submitted and approved by ACCA by 31 December 2020. After this date, only the Practising Certificate Experience Form (PCEF) will be accepted.

Do I need a practising certificate?

You will need a practising certificate if you are:

  • Planning on setting up a practice and intend to produce accounts, tax returns or reports for third party use (public practice)
  • Joining a firm as a director or partner, or other senior position
  • Working in the UK, Ireland, Zimbabwe, Australia, or where there is a local requirement for you to hold an ACCA practising certificate.

You do not need to apply for a practising certificate if you are engaged in public practice outside of the above territories. You must notify ACCA and apply to be placed on ACCA’s register of practitioners.

You will need to apply for an ACCA practising certificate and audit qualification if:

  • You will be responsible for signing audit reports in the UK and/or Ireland
  • You would like statutory auditor status in the UK and/or Ireland.

Applying for a practising certificate - what will you need to have completed?

To receive a practising certificate you will need to have achieved:

  • 3 years of supervised experience with an ACCA approved employer - practising certificate development (general or audit) stream - or an employer that would be eligible to register
  • 2 years of post-membership experience. Only experiences gained after becoming a member can count towards a practising certificate
  • Experience that has been supervised by an appropriately qualified individual
  • The competencies contained in the Practising Certificate Experience Form (PCEF). A member training towards the practising certificate must complete the PCEF part 1 and part 2. You can find out more about the PCEF on the ACCA website.

To apply for an ACCA practising certificate and Audit Qualification you must, in addition to the above, achieve:

  • The competencies in the 3rd part of the PCEF that cover audit
  • At least 44 weeks (1540 hours) of audit training in the three years. For the UK at least 22 weeks (770 hours) must be specifically in statutory audit work. For Ireland it’s 44 weeks.
  • Passes for the UK (or Irish variants) of the following ACCA exams*:
    • Corporate and Business Law
    • Taxation
    • Strategic Business Reporting
    • Advanced Audit and Assurance

As of January 2020, the standard fee for a practising certificate and a practising certificate and audit qualification is £514.

How long does it take to get a practising certificate?

It takes at least 30 days for the ACCA to process your PCTR or PCEF.

Important changes implemented from 1 March 2020

From 1 March 2020 the ACCA changed the way they handle instances where members, affiliates and students are found to be practising without a practising certificate.

We are also changing the way we deal with members, affiliates and students providing bookkeeping services only.

There’s lots of information on the ACCA website as well as all the application forms that you will need. You can submit your 2020 practising certificate renewal and firm’s renewals online via myACCA.

Need more information?

We’re here to help you with your ACCA qualification, so get in touch with Student Services if you have any questions or just want some more information.

*Or equivalent from the previous syllabus.