With the exceptions of offering financial services, auditing and acting as an insolvency practitioner, the accountancy sector and tax  are not regulated by statute. This means that anyone, regardless of qualification, can offer basic accountancy, tax  nd bookkeeping services. The title of ” accountant” is not protected. To use the ” chartered”  title, an accountant must be a member of one of the chartered  professional bodies and must also be suitably qualified.

The chartered professional bodies in the UK and Ireland accountancy sector are the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI).

Collectively these bodies make up the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies (CCAB). All of these bodies have obtained Royal Charters and are able to regulate their members. The bodies are overseen by the Professional Oversight Board for Accountancy (POBA), which is part of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC).

The Accounting and Actuarial Discipline Board is an independent investigative and disciplinary body for accountants and actuaries in the UK. It operates an independent disciplinary scheme covering members of the various accounting professions.

A member of a recognised professional accountancy  body who works in public practice or is a partner or a director in a firm that undertakes private practice must obtain a practising certificate. Members should apply directly to their professional body for a certificate. Practising certificates are not covered by any statute but are an aide used by accountancy bodies to regulate their members.


The Companies Acts require that anyone that is appointed as a company auditor in the UK must be a member of a recognised supervisory body and must also have gained a  recognised qualification for audit purposes  from  a recognised  body. There are currently five recognised qualifying bodies for audit purposes in the UK: the ACCA, ICAEW, ICAI, ICAS and the Association of International Accountants (AIA). Holders of the AIA qualification must be supervised by one  of the recognised supervisory bodies to hold audit appointments.

A firm that  intends to hold audit appointments must obtain audit registration from a recognised supervisory body. Audit registration will only be granted to firms that are controlled by individuals that are  holders of recognised  qualifications for audit purposes in the UK  and where individuals responsible for audit work  hold an appropriate qualification.

Taxation  and Insolvency

The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) is a professional body open to taxation professionals. To become an associate member of the CIOT, applicants must have three years’ professional experience and pass the CIOT examination. Fellowship requires the preparation of a thesis or body of work of the required standard as well as three years’ professional experience. Members of the CIOT have the title ” Chartered Tax Adviser” .

Under the Insolvency Act an insolvency practitioner must obtain an insolvency licence from a recognised professional body.

Architects Registration Board

The Architects Registration Board (ARB) regulates the architectural profession in the UK. To use the title ‘architect’ a person must be appropriately qualified and registered with the ARB. The ARB has the power to take action against anyone that misuses the title. All architects registered with the ARB must also comply with the Architects Code.

The main professional bodies are the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA) and the Royal Society of Architects in Wales (RSAW). The RSAW is the regional organisation of RIBA in Wales. Membership of a trade body is not mandatory but a large proportion of architects are members of one or both – for example, Scottish architects can be members of both RIAS and RIBA. Members of these bodies must abide by codes of practice. For more information:

Architectural technologists that are fully qualified members of the British Institute of Architectural Technologists (BIAT) are permitted to practice on their own. Architectural technicians are only allowed to work in support of other architectural professionals.

Members of BIAT must also comply with a code of conduct and have adequate professional indemnity insurance.

Legal services

Solicitors must be qualified and hold a practising certificate in England and Wales in order to provide legal services. The Solicitors, Regulatory Authority was set up in 2007 so as to be independent of the Law Society, which provides the representational function for solicitors.

Solicitors must carry minimum professional insurance and comply with obligations in relation to terms of business, and a wide range of ethical and practical conduct rules.

Barristers in England and Wales must obtain a practising certificate. The Bar Standards Board, is the regulatory body for barristers. It  was established in January 2006 by the Bar Council to separate the regulatory and representative functions previously carried out by the Bar Council. It sets standards and publishes a code of conduct. It operates a complaints and disciplinary mechanism. The Bar Council became an authorised body that can grant rights to conduct litigation to barristers.

Veterinary services

The veterinary services profession in the UK is regulated by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). The RCVS is the statutory regulator for the sector and has the following responsibilities under the Veterinary Surgeons Act:

  • maintaining a register of eligible practising veterinarians in the UK
  • regulating veterinarian education
  • regulating professional conduct

Veterinary surgeons are only allowed to practise in the UK if they are registered with the RCVS. There are certain educational requirements that must be met to be able to register with the RCVS. Veterinary surgeons must abide by the RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct, which has ten guiding principles.


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