What is a Member in Practice?

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Col Snaders
Col Snaders Registered Posts: 14 Regular contributor ⭐
I am currently studying L4 AAT and I have been looking at what to do next, mainly ACA or ACCA (I really don't want to do CIMA). However my employer will not sponsor me and I'm not in a position to find an alternative employer at the moment.


I have looked at lots of threads in the Members in Practice area but I don't understand how you become one or even what a Member in Practice can do. What does it mean?

Please help!

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  • Monsoon
    Monsoon Registered Posts: 4,071 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
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    It means a MAAT who's mad enough to work for themselves ;)

    A MIP can be an accountant, bookkeeper, consultant, whatever, it just means we work for ourselves in whatever accounting capacity offering services to the public. Most of us are general practitioners who do bookkeeping, accounts and tax returns for individuals and small businesses.

    You need enough experience to get a MIP licence, as you can't be unleashed on the public without knowing what you're doing. Any MAAT who works for themselves is obliged to register as a MIP under the AAT rules. You become a MIP by applying to be one and fulfilling the criteria - worth reading on the AAT website what is involved.

    Warning: if you want to go on to a chartered qualification, find out about their practising rules beforehand if you want to work for yourself - they can be very restricitive in what services their student members can offer to the public, mostly reduced to just bookkeeping and no final accounts or tax work.
  • JamesB
    JamesB Registered Posts: 51 Epic contributor 🐘
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    Good morning,

    I have recently finished the ACA qualification after doing the AAT-ACA fast track and one thing I will say to you is before you make any decisions consider:

    1) What exactly do you want to do in the long term? If you want to work for yourself preparing tax returns, ltd co accounts etc for small companies and individuals then personally I don't see the point in doing the ACA.

    2) Have you got the drive, determination and willingness to pretty much give up your social life for at least 2 years whilst studying ACA. I personally found it extremely tough and the exams, courses etc are nothing like the AAT exams.

    I will also add that most of the syllabus for ACA is driven towards big multinational companies and relates entirely to IFRS accounting standards. Therefore I personally didn't really gain much that I can take with me into the real world.

    3) If you do not have a sponsor the courses, materials and even the exams are very expensive.

    In a personal capacity I regret doing the qualification as it put such a strain and stress on my life, and to be honest with what I want to do, having the MIP licence is more than sufficient.

    J
  • jamesm96
    jamesm96 Registered Posts: 523
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    JamesB wrote: »
    Good morning,

    I have recently finished the ACA qualification after doing the AAT-ACA fast track and one thing I will say to you is before you make any decisions consider:

    1) What exactly do you want to do in the long term? If you want to work for yourself preparing tax returns, ltd co accounts etc for small companies and individuals then personally I don't see the point in doing the ACA.

    2) Have you got the drive, determination and willingness to pretty much give up your social life for at least 2 years whilst studying ACA. I personally found it extremely tough and the exams, courses etc are nothing like the AAT exams.

    I will also add that most of the syllabus for ACA is driven towards big multinational companies and relates entirely to IFRS accounting standards. Therefore I personally didn't really gain much that I can take with me into the real world.

    3) If you do not have a sponsor the courses, materials and even the exams are very expensive.

    In a personal capacity I regret doing the qualification as it put such a strain and stress on my life, and to be honest with what I want to do, having the MIP licence is more than sufficient.

    J

    Sorry to hijack the thread, but that's a very interesting viewpoint; I'm a PQ ACA and I completely agree with you as regards the effort required... I was just about okay with the professional stage but the advanced stage was just something else! I actually posted a thread exacty on those lines in the MIP forum entitled 'AAT sufficient?'

    Back on the topic of this thread, as has been said, an MIP is an AAT who is authorised by the AAT to offer services to the general public using his / her AAT status and letters. Without MIP status if you wanted to offer your services to the public (rather than as an employee within a business) the AAT do not allow the use of the MAAT letters.
  • Monsoon
    Monsoon Registered Posts: 4,071 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
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    jamesm96 wrote: »
    Without MIP status if you wanted to offer your services to the public (rather than as an employee within a business) the AAT do not allow the use of the MAAT letters.

    This is for student members (can work for themselves but can't refer to the AAT in any way and can only act within their competence).

    Any full members who work for themselves HAVE TO join the MIP scheme or they are in breach of AAT rules, you can't just not be a MIP and not use the MAAT letters.
  • Col Snaders
    Col Snaders Registered Posts: 14 Regular contributor ⭐
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    Thank you all for your replies.

    I have found the information on MIPs on the AAT website and i'm going to have a read of it over the weekend. Ideally I want to work for myself, preparing accounts for small companies and individuals as JamesB stated above.
    My O/H is self employed and has an accountant who prepares his Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet, Tax Returns etc.. is this something you could do as a MIP?
  • Monsoon
    Monsoon Registered Posts: 4,071 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
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    T
    My O/H is self employed and has an accountant who prepares his Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet, Tax Returns etc.. is this something you could do as a MIP?
    Once you have enough experience, absolutely.

    My practice deals with accounts and tax returns for sole traders, partnerships, limited companies, LLPs, charities and individuals. Payroll, bookkeeping, VAT, company secretarial, cashflow etc etc etc.... If you can do it, you can do it as a MIP. The only thing we can't ever do is audit.
  • Col Snaders
    Col Snaders Registered Posts: 14 Regular contributor ⭐
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    Monsoon wrote: »
    Once you have enough experience, absolutely.

    My practice deals with accounts and tax returns for sole traders, partnerships, limited companies, LLPs, charities and individuals. Payroll, bookkeeping, VAT, company secretarial, cashflow etc etc etc.... If you can do it, you can do it as a MIP. The only thing we can't ever do is audit.

    Excellent! As I said I will have a read of all the information over the weekend but at the moment this seems like the best route for me.

    Thank you.
  • RAS
    RAS Registered Posts: 124 Dedicated contributor 🦉
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    I am both AAT and ACCA qualified. I have also passed 2 or the 4 ATT tax exams, but cant seem to get round to doing the other 2 yet.

    As far as ACCA is concerned there are very strict rules, in that you cannot provide more than basic bookkeeping services without their practising certificate. You will need 3 years relevant experience of which 1 can be pre qualification (I think). I have an ACCA practicising certificate, but was a bit of nightmare process getting one.

    In my opinion, if you intend to carry out general practice work for sole traders, small owner managed companies, then ACCA is not the route to go down. AAT and ATT should be fine. (I really dont know about ACA though). Whilst I am obviously proud of my ACCA membership, in reality I am not too sure it really helps a small practitioner, it is more geared towards Tesco sized companies.

    It isnt clear from your post whether you are working in practice or industry. I would say if you are thinking of going into practice on your own, then you would need at least some experience working in a practice.

    Good luck with it all
  • jamesm96
    jamesm96 Registered Posts: 523
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    I'm an ACA student and I have to say I completely agree about the'target market' for chartered or certified accountants... It's not appropriate for small OMBs, the syllabus is totally geared toward the needs of the FTSE companies for whom the big four are engaged. There's a sense, I think, (especially among older chartered accountants who qualified before the AAT were such a big thing), that if you want to be an accountant you have too be chartered but, as has been said, the only thing that MIPs can never do is audit which, if you've ever done it, is sinfully boring!
  • Monsoon
    Monsoon Registered Posts: 4,071 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
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    jamesm96 wrote: »
    I'm an ACA student and I have to say I completely agree about the'target market' for chartered or certified accountants... It's not appropriate for small OMBs, the syllabus is totally geared toward the needs of the FTSE companies for whom the big four are engaged. There's a sense, I think, (especially among older chartered accountants who qualified before the AAT were such a big thing), that if you want to be an accountant you have too be chartered but, as has been said, the only thing that MIPs can never do is audit which, if you've ever done it, is sinfully boring!

    What a really, really good way of putting it. Thank you :)
  • Col Snaders
    Col Snaders Registered Posts: 14 Regular contributor ⭐
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    I've finally got round to reading the "Guidance and Regulations for Member in Practice" and I think this is the route I'm going to take.

    Initially I would have less than 6 clients so I believe I can apply for the exemption to the "Continuity of Practice Agreement". At this stage I'm not sure how I could create this agreement as I don't know anyone that could cover my work if I was unable to do it (I need to read up more on this).

    I also don't know anyone that could be my professional referee at this stage but I'm sure I could register as a member and fulfill these requirements before the 2 years.
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