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Member in Practice Rules

These rules form the subordinate document made in relation to Regulation Part I.12 of the Royal Charter, Byelaws and Regulations. This is the current version, valid from 1 March 2020 onwards.

CIMA charter crestCIMA members in practice are governed by the following set of rules to ensure best practice and protection of the public.

1. A member in practice is a member who offers or provides accounting services (as defined in Rule 2 below) to the public, either in a personal capacity, or as a sole proprietor of a business, or as a director of a company or partner in a partnership providing accountancy services, and
(i) is registered by the Institute for that purpose;
(ii) holds a current practising certificate issued by the Institute

2. ‘accounting services’ includes advice and services in connection with:
(i) financial and management accounting
(ii) book-keeping and accounting records
(iii) the provision of tax returns, the computation or other matters of direct and indirect taxation (including national insurance or similar contributions)
(iv) budgets, forecasts, cash flows and business plans
(v) funding to businesses
(vi) company secretarial matters
(vii) accounting systems and management reporting
(viii) acting as a trust or company service provider (as defined by regulation 12(2) of the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017).

3. The following shall not be regarded as ‘accounting services’:
(i) services concerned with human resources, law, marketing, sales, project management, production, research and development, training and any non-financial consultancy, unless such services are provided as an integral part of a service falling within 2 above;
(ii) sub-contract services to accountants where the firm of accountants is invoiced directly for such services
(iii) services under a contract through an agency supplying accountancy services where the agency is invoiced directly for such services
(iv) services provided under a contract of employment to an employer;
(v) services regulated by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 or the Insolvency Act 1986
(vi) services to clubs, societies, charities or similar organisations provided with no contractual entitlement to remuneration and/or for an unsolicited gratuity in any one instance not exceeding £500
(vii) services to friends and family where there is no expectation of financial reward.

4. All members in practice must register with the Institute. Every application for registration as a member in practice shall be accompanied by:
(i) an application for a practising certificate
(ii) any documentation prescribed by the institute for the purpose of assessing eligibility for the award of a practising certificate
(iii) the prescribed annual fee, each subsequent annual fee being due and payable on the 28th day of February each year; if the first payment of the fee is due on or after 2 September in any year it shall be deemed to include the whole of the annual fee for the following year.

5. Every applicant for the practising certificate shall satisfy a panel of assessors that he / she meets the eligibility criteria for the award of a practising certificate. The Institute shall give guidance to unsuccessful applicants as to how to meet the criteria.

6. Members in practice are required to:
(i) hold professional indemnity insurance (or an equivalent provision if practising outside the UK with an appropriate disclaimer incorporated in their terms of engagement) at a level consistent with guidelines provided by the Institute
(ii) provide written terms of engagement for all clients
(iii) ensure in the event of their illness, disability or death that services to clients are maintained, either through internal arrangements within the practice or through a written agreement with another accountant or firm (unless the client has indicated that he/she does not want to be subject to such an agreement)
(iv) make provision for complaints handling procedures
(v) comply with the current UK law on money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (or equivalent if practising outside the UK)
(vi) undertake continuing professional development in accordance with the requirements of the Institute
(vii) provide confirmation of compliance with (i) to (vi) above on registration and renewal of registration, and evidence of the above when applying for a practising certificate or on demand by the Institute

7. The requirements of rule 6 may, where appropriate, be discharged on behalf of a member in practice by his/her partnership or company, provided that, if such requirements are not so discharged, the member in practice shall remain personally liable in respect of any disciplinary proceedings arising from non-compliance.

8. Members in practice must comply with any scheme operated by the Institute, which includes procedures for monitoring compliance with the provisions of these rules. This requirement extends to members in practice who have had their practising certificates suspended or withdrawn in so far as is necessary for the Institute to fulfil its regulatory responsibilities.

9. If a member in practice does not comply with a request by the Institute under Rule 6 (vii) or Rule 8 within 28 days of the date of the request without a reason acceptable to the Institute, the Institute may in its absolute discretion take one or more of the following steps:
(i) cancel any application for registration or renewal as appropriate;
(ii) impose a fixed penalty of £250 on the member in practice. Failure to pay the penalty within the time specified by the Institute will result in referral of the member in practice to the Investigation Committee under the Institute’s disciplinary procedures and will automatically be considered misconduct within the definition under the Royal Charter, Byelaws and Regulations;
(iii) suspend the member in practice’s practising certificate pending compliance with the request or further order under the Institute’s disciplinary procedures;
(iv) refer the member in practice to the Investigation Committee for consideration under the Institute’s disciplinary procedures; and
(v) refer the member in practice to HMRC or such other agency as may be responsible for investigating and prosecuting breaches of the law relating to money laundering and counter-terrorist financing.

10. There shall be no other privileges or qualifying description afforded to a holder of the practising certificate, except that his / her name shall be shown as such in the list of members, on any separate lists specific to holders of the practising certificate, and that he/she shall have the use of the Institute’s logo, as adapted for practising certificate holders, subject to his agreement to the terms of a specific licence agreement. Any member in practice whose practising certificate has been suspended or withdrawn must immediately cease holding him/herself out as a member in practice or using the Institute’s logo.

11. Any member found to be providing accounting services to clients whilst not registered as a member in practice may be referred to the Investigation Committee for consideration under the Institute’s disciplinary procedures and to HMRC or other law enforcement agency as appropriate. Members are warned that failure to register for anti money laundering supervision may be a statutory offence.

12. Any member who is providing accounting services, even though not registered as a member in practice, will be bound by the provisions of these Rules, including provisions relating to disciplinary procedures, as if they were so registered.