Practice as ACCA

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Gill Gittings
Gill Gittings Registered Posts: 121 Dedicated contributor 🦉
Hi,

I am currently half way through ACCA and work for a firm of practicing accountants. When I complete ACCA I desperately want to work for myself but have heard that I would be restricted in doing so until I have a practicing certificate. I have AAT but ACCA don't recognise it so how do I go about being able to go self employed when I eventually pass my exams or is there some sort of exemptions we can claim to get an aCCA licence quickly?

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  • burg
    burg Registered, Moderator Posts: 1,441 mod
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    As far as I understand to get an ACCA practicing certificate you need at least 3 years post qualification experience. ACCA will not allow you to do work beyond a TB unless you hold a practicing certificate with them.
    Regards,

    Burg
  • BCASL
    BCASL Registered Posts: 64 Regular contributor ⭐
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    The other option is to practice with an AAT practicing certificate. You can offer as many services as you like, the only thing you can't do is an audit. The only problem would be that you would have to resign your acca membership. I have been an AAT mip for nearly ten years, we have a large client base and a high street office. There is a lot of support available for AAT members in practice.
  • Gill Gittings
    Gill Gittings Registered Posts: 121 Dedicated contributor 🦉
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    But if I were to use an AAT licence I will have to stop ACCA studies and I am in a training contract. ACCA are adament that regardless of an AAT qualification they will not recognise my current experience. it just seems such a waste. Surely it can't be as black and white as ACCA are making out!

    Its sooo frustrating.
  • burg
    burg Registered, Moderator Posts: 1,441 mod
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    I myself was at a firm studying for the ACCA until last May. Things weren't looking good with the economy and I had not done any chargeable work whatsoever for over 6 weeks.

    I looked long and hard at my position and looking at my ambitions to have my own practice I quit my post and resigned from the ACCA. I became an AAT MIP and things have been very good, having reached 90 clients at present, almost one year on. Not being ACCA has not held me back at all.

    You do need to think carefully though. Don't throw your qualification away on a whim without being fully aware of the possible outcomes good and bad. The ACCA are very strict with issuing practising certificates. However it is a very well respected qualification, and if you can get a practising certificate things should be good.

    My advice would be to complete your studies and continue towards achieving the practising certificate. If things develop and this is holding you back then consider your position.

    There are plenty of good accountants around ICAEW, ACCA, CIMA, AAT and unqualified. As well as poor ones in all of the above. Experience counts for just as much if not more than the qualification.

    Best of luck.
    Regards,

    Burg
  • Gill Gittings
    Gill Gittings Registered Posts: 121 Dedicated contributor 🦉
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    Thanks so much for your help and advice. I must see my ACCA through because I know how lucky I am to be in a training contract. My dream is to be self employed and the ACCA are so dismissive of AAT saying I can't even use their MIP licence and can only do so if I sever all ties with ACCA. I can't understand why they are so restrictive even to the point of preparing to lose student members.
  • Steve Collings
    Steve Collings Registered Posts: 997 Epic contributor 🐘
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    Hi Gill,

    I would agree with Burg. When you qualify as an ACCA member, it would seem a shame to have to ditch that qualification to go self-employed in light of the amount of hard work that needs to be done to obtain it! It would certainly bring tears to my eyes to have to ditch it!!

    I have just obtained my practising certificate and audit qualification and there are no 'fast track' ways of obtaining it. You are still required to document your post qualified experience in six-month blocks for a post qualification period of three years and during that time have to achieve a minimum number of elements (I left mine for a couple of years after qualifying because the forms are very long-winded!) You should ensure you do this because ACCA monitoring officers will scrutinise it during monitoring visits (you will have to be in an ACCA 'approved' practice therefore).

    The good news is that the ACCA have done away with the Audit Orientation Course from January 2010 which 'potential' registered auditors had to sit because the Professional Oversights Board recognise that Paper P7/old Paper 3.1 (which must be sat to obtain the audit qualification) is sufficient enough.

    It is definitely worth hanging on for a few years post-qualification and getting it because if your desire is to be self-employed the only way you will be able to venture into self-employment and be a practising accountant would be to resign your membership with ACCA which, in all honesty, you would have to be mad to do!

    Good luck.

    Steve
  • Gill Gittings
    Gill Gittings Registered Posts: 121 Dedicated contributor 🦉
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    Thanks Steve that's very useful. At least I know to sit P7. I didn't realise that.

    I just find it very bizarre that ACCA are so strict.
  • deanshepherd
    deanshepherd Registered Posts: 1,809 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
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    To be fair, any institution that allows it's students to advise the public as if they were already members is openly admitting that their qualification is an unnecessary luxury.

    Plus if one of the less experienced students messes up that is going to look pretty bad on the institution as well.

    I'm sure I have seen an AAT MIPs website stating that they are also studying towards ACCA/ICAEW/CIMA because of the perceived kudos that association gives them. Let's hope ACCA don't stumble across their website!
  • Rachel
    Rachel Registered Posts: 348 Dedicated contributor 🦉
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    I have just managed to get my ACCA practicing Certificate and it took forever they also changed some of their rules on 1/1/10 but I managed to get through as I dated my forms 31/12/09. I hadn't worked for an ACCA approved employer but because I passed in 2003 I was allowed my certificate. To be honest so far I have received far more support and guidance by the AAT. I did get my MIP first but I didn't break ACCA rules though as I haven't really had time to work as I have 2 small children but I understand your frustration as I thought I was going to have to resign from ACCA
  • Monsoon
    Monsoon Registered Posts: 4,071 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
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    burg wrote: »
    As far as I understand to get an ACCA practicing certificate you need at least 3 years post qualification experience. ACCA will not allow you to do work beyond a TB unless you hold a practicing certificate with them.

    Yes, this is how it is, period.
    Those who want to be self employed without going through the long ACCA route have the option to not study ACCA. Unfortunately, that's about the only option!
  • anniem
    anniem Registered Posts: 1,326 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
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    Thank you all for this information!

    In the light of this knowledge I have decided not to embark upon ACCA and will take ATT instead.

    Several reasons; At 41 I feel I'm too old to take 11 more exams followed by 3 years post qualification, to start 'doing my own thing'. Also, I'm not working somewhere I could gain a sufficient range of experience.

    With AAT I could start doing something straight away if I want to, albeit without advertising AAT status as I've still got 2 exams to pass.
    FMAAT - AAT Licensed Member in Practice - Pewsey, Wiltshire
  • jashu77
    jashu77 Registered Posts: 1 New contributor 🐸
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    Start asap

    I finished my aat last and registered for acca, for some reason i could not sit in acca exams and thought I ll do them in june 2010. In the mean time I attended an AAT meeting in yorkshire regarding "How to become an MIP". My only question to speaker was that " I have finished my AAT and am registered with ACCA, my final goal is to start my own practice. What am I allowed to do as an accountant? and what benefits me in my private practise if I finsh my ACCA?". His answer was very brief, He said"Audit". He said as an MIP we are not allowed to do an audit but the rest you can do whatever a chartered accountant can do as long as you ve got experience. Then I thought why to waste 6 years(3 for study +3 post study) plus thousands of pounds(since I was going to pay from my own pocket) if I can do everything now. I am in the process of becoming MIP soon, and going to open my practice. well best of luck.
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