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Making a Complaint about an Auditor or an Accountant

How do I make a complaint about an accountant/auditor or firm of accountants?

  • How do I make a complaint about an accountant/auditor or firm of accountants?

    If you want to make a complaint about your accountant/auditor or a firm of accountants/auditors, you should initially contact the Prescribed Accountancy Body (‘PAB’) of which the accountant/auditor/firm is a member. Please click here for contact details for the PABs.

What is a Prescribed Accountancy Body (‘PAB’)?

  • A Prescribed Accountancy Body (‘PAB’) is any accountancy body that comes within the supervisory remit of IAASA under the Act. There are currently nine PABs each of which has its own formal system for dealing with complaints relating to its members/member firms, including, where necessary an investigation and disciplinary process. The nine PABs and the designatory letters for their members are:

     

    Accountancy Body Full Name Designatory Letters
    ACCA Association of Chartered Certified Accountants ACCA or FCCA
    AIA Association of International Accountants AAIA or FAIA
    CIMA Chartered Institute of Management Accountants ACMA or FCMA
    CIPFA Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy CPFA
    ICAEW Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales ACA or FCA
    ICAI Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland ACA or FCA
    ICAS Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland CA
    ICPAI Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland CPA or FCPA
    IIPA Institute of Incorporated Public Accountants AIPA or FIPA

     

What is IAASA’s role regarding complaints against accountants/ auditors or a firm of accountants/auditors?

  • Under the model of independent statutory oversight set out in the Companies Act 2014 the Authority’s role is to supervise how the PABs regulate and monitor their members which includes the PABs complaints handling, investigation and disciplinary processes

    Primary responsibility for the receipt and investigation of complaints relating to the prescribed accountancy bodies’ (‘PABs) members/member firms resides with the PABs, who are required to process complaints in accordance with approved procedures.

     

    Extent of IAASA’s powers in relation to complaint’s

    Complainants and prospective complainants are requested to note that IAASA’s role in the complaints process is to supervise the PABs compliance with their approved investigation and disciplinary procedures;that IAASA has no role in facilitating, or participating in, the resolution of individual complaints. 

    • IAASA does not operate a system of final appeal against decisions taken by the PABs’ complaints, disciplinary or appeals committees/tribunals

    • Lodging a complaint with IAASA is not, and is not designed to be, a substitute for civil proceedings.

     

How do I make a complaint about a prescribed accountancy body/PAB?

  • If you have a complaint about a PABs non-compliance with its approved investigation and discipline procedures, the matter can be referred to IAASA.

    A complaints form can be found here.

    The complaint process

    Following the receipt of a complaint which indicates an instance of non-compliance with the PABs procedures, if the matter cannot be dealt with by IAASA’s regulatory procedures, then the matter may be referred to IAASA’s Board for direction as to how to proceed, for example, whether the matter should be enquired into under Section 933 (formerly Section 23)  of the Companies Act 2014. The decision as to whether to initiate such an enquiry is at the sole discretion of the Board of IAASA. 

    In instances where the matter is of significant public interest, IAASA has a statutory power to initiate an investigation of possible breaches of PABs standards by a PAB member under Section 934 (formerly Section 24) of the Companies Act 2014. The decision as to whether to initiate such an investigation is at the sole discretion of the Board of IAASA.

     

How can I satisfy myself that a person and/or firm is properly qualified to provide auditing service

  • In order to legitimately act as an auditor under the Companies Acts (i.e. to audit the financial statements of an entity ), a person/firm must be a Registered Auditor. To become a registered auditor, a person/firm must:

    • Be a member of a recognised accountancy body; and have been authorised by that body to act as an auditor i.e. hold a valid practising/audit certificate;  or
    • an EU member firm recognised for the purpose of statutory audit by a recognised accountancy body. 

    The Companies Registration Office (CRO) maintains a register of all persons entitled to act as auditors and enquiries can be directed to that Office.

    Alternatively, enquiries as to whether an individual/firm is qualified to act as an auditor can be directed to the recognised body in question.  Some accountancy bodies also provide detailed information on their websites. Contact details for each recognised accountancy body can be obtained here.

    Acting as an auditor while not qualified to do so is a serious criminal offence. In the event that a member of the public has reason to believe that a person/firm is acting, or has acted, as an auditor without being properly qualified to do so, the matter should be brought to the attention of: