LETTERS – One-horse race: ICAS regulations heavy burden to sole practitioners

The ICAS quality review scheme seems to have had little publicity in your paper to date and I would like to redress the balance.

I had to stump up an additional #65 to validate my practising certificate for the second half of this year (having already paid #173 for the full year) and I am now asked to pay #350 for next year, in addition to paying #250 per day for ICAS to pay me a quality review visit at their discretion, and a further #250 per day if they decide that a ‘follow up’ is necessary.

Consequently, I decided to resign from ICAS and carry on my practice as a chartered management accountant, being fortunate enough to hold both qualifications. But, ICAS now tells me that the requirement for me to hold an ICAS practising certificate arises from the nature of the work I am doing not from the use of the description ‘chartered accountants’, and that consequently I will have to apply for renewal of my ICAS practising certificate.

Their argument is that management accountancy work falls within the definition of ‘practice’ and their practising certificate by-laws define ‘practice’ as ‘the provision of services, including accounting and related services, the necessary skills for which have been acquired by a member through his training and qualification …’ However, as I have resigned from of ICAS, I believe that they have no case.

Incidentally, I have been in practice for the last 17 years and worked from home for 14 of those years, and before I relinquished my audit registration, when the audit threshold was increased, I had a JMU visit, which I successfully passed. However, I was incensed by my visitor’s opening remarks. He requested my latest turnover figure, and responded to my answer with ‘Is that all?’ I do not want to be in a position again to be insulted by some large firm autocrat with no concept of sole practice operating from home without staff.

Ian A Barron, Sheffield

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