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  • This website section explains the specialist authorisation regime surrounding audit work

    Who can conduct audit work?

    In the UK only firms who are  Registered Auditors can conduct  regulated audit work.

    The Audit Terms Explained

    There are various terms used in this and related articles.  Click here to obtain an understanding of the following audit terms: Registered Auditor, Responsible Individual, Regulated Audit Work, Recognised Supervisory Body, Affiliate, Audit Qualification. 

    How does my firm become a Registered Auditor?

    The process is explained below.  We are here to help. If you have any enquiries about your application please phone 0131 347 0282 or email

    What do you need to do to apply?

    If you want your firm to become a  Registered Auditor, you will need to:

    • Nominate an Audit Compliance Principal who is responsible for audit compliance in your firm
    • Ensure that at least 50% of the voting rights in your firm are held by holders of the audit qualification  
    • Submit an application form for Audit Registration and submit to ICAS.
    • Submit applications for each Responsible Individual in your firm (see below)
    • Submit applications for each Affiliate in your firm (see below)
    • An audit registration fee is payable on application (please contact ICAS).
    • Have appropriate Professional Indemnity Insurance in place.

    What is involved in the Responsible Individual (RI) application?

    Each individual who is responsible for audit work and who signs audit reports must be a Responsible Individual for audit work:  Each RI needs to


    What is involved in the affiliate forms?

    We need to ensure that all principals who are not members of a Recognised Supervisory Body are regulated by ICAS.  They need to:


    What happens next?

    The ICAS team will aim to process your application forms within two weeks of receiving your forms. Please note that each application requires to go through a detailed checking process including consideration of fit and proper status and, for RI applications, competence and experience. There is no automatic approval of any application, given the public interest element of audit applications and you will be notified when a decision has been made regarding your application. However, you should note that the following circumstances could delay the application:

    • If you have not provided all of the information required we will contact you to request this information. This could delay your application being processed. We will let you know how this affects your application timescales.
    • For less straightforward applications, the Audit Registration Committee (ARC) may need to consider the application (for example concerns over eligibility criteria, potential fit and proper matters notified or concerns over audit experience for applicants RIs). This may take a bit longer as the ARC meets only six times a year. We will let you know how this affects your application timescales.
    • We are here to help. If you would like to know the status of your application at any time please contact Emma Reid on 0131 347 0282 or email 

    What happens once my firms is registered?

    Congratulations on becoming an ICAS Registered Auditor. Once you are registered there are a number of obligations that you will need to fulfil. We are here to help, so please contact us if you would like advice or support. Your firm will need to meet the following:


    How to access the public audit register

    The Register of Statutory Auditors contains information on Statutory Auditors and Audit Firms in the UK.

    The following information is available on this Register:

    • Contact details for all Recognised Supervisory Bodies (RSBs) and details of firms registered by them.
    • Details of Audit Registered Firms, who registers them and the individuals linked to them.
    • The full address of the registered firm, the RSBs and the individual details.

    The Register can be accessed at the Audit Register Website  

    Are you changing the legal status of your firm?

    If your firm is changing legal status (for example incorporating or becoming an LLP) you will need to submit a new application form for Audit Registration (and any affiliate forms for any changes in affiliates).  You will no longer need to submit an RI application form again for each existing RI.  Any new RIs would need to complete an application.

    How do I complain?

    If you are not happy with the service you have received from us in respect of your applications please contact the department's Director, Lesley Byrne in the first instance on 0131 347 0245 or email and she will revert back to you.

    What happens if my application is denied?

    If your application is denied:

    • You will be notified of the reason for this denial.
    • If you are unhappy with this decision, concerns should be notified in writing to the Director in the first instance and this will be considered by the Audit Registration Committee (ARC).
    • If you are dissatisfied with the ARCs decision, there is an Independent Review and Appeals process, which is explained in Chapter 8 of the Audit Regulations.

    The Regulations are available on the Audit Regulation Page.

    Help and Support

    There are a couple of ways we can help you with running a compliant audit practice:

    •  Our audit course: We run a half day course which is split into two modules called Keeping your Audit Firm on the Right Track (session 1) and Keeping your Audit File on the Right Track (session 2).  The course is aimed at providing Audit Compliance Principals with the tools they need to run a compliant audit function.  Audit Compliance Principals must attend the full half day at least once every five years and their attendance is subsidised. Session 2 is also about ensuring effective audit files and is very useful for RIs and audit staff.  Click here for more information.
    • Audit News: We issue Audit News quarterly which should help your RIs and staff keep up to date with audit technical and regulatory developments.
    • Helpsheets: We have issued a range of helpsheets to help you with your audit work, including helpsheets for specialist audit areas. Click here to access the help sheets.

    Contact us

    Any enquiries regarding Audit Registration should be addressed to or 0131 347 0282.

    The EU Service Directive and The Provision of Services Regulations

    In accordance with the requirements of the EU Services Directive, which was brought into UK law by The Provision of Services Regulations 2009, information is available about the rules, regulations and formalities that apply to service activities in other EU countries. This information can be found through Points of Single Contact (PSCs), which are online e-government portals. Guidance is available on the UK Government’s website.

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