Member regulations

Our reputation rests on that of its members and students. IFA’s regulatory framework helps to underpin the reputation of our members and to protect the public.

The key elements of our regulatory framework are:

  • issuing licences to enable members to undertake specific types of work;
  • monitoring members' compliance with standards and guidance; and
  • investigating complaints against members.

Members and students are expected to follow the regulations, standards and guidance referred to below in their professional and business activities, whether carried out with or without reward.

Articles and Bye-laws

The power of the IFA to set standards and to monitor and enforce those standards is set out in the IFA’s Articles of Association and bye-laws.

The Articles of Association set out how the IFA is governed, run and owned and the Bye-Laws  include such matters as membership, member firms, students, fees and subscriptions, public practice, continuing professional development, supervisory authority, compliance and monitoring, disciplinary process and liability to disciplinary action.  

Articles of Association effective from 1 January 2018 

Bye-laws effective from 1 September 2019

Bye-laws effective from 1 April 2019

Code of Ethics

IFA's Code of Ethics (the Code) helps members, students and member firms meet their  professional obligations by providing them with ethical guidance. It is based on the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants of the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) published by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).  

The Code sets out five fundamental principles, which guide members’ behaviour:

  1. Integrity
  2. Objectivity
  3. Professional competence and due care
  4. Confidentiality
  5. Professional behaviour.

Members, member firms and students are responsible for assessing threats to complying with those principles and for implementing safeguards where those threats are significant. The Code includes a number of sections covering situations that members, students and/or member firms might be likely to encounter and suggests, or in some cases, requires, specific courses of action.

Code of Ethics effective from 1 January 2018.

Code of Ethics effective from 1 March 2020.

Continuing professional development regulations

The IFA requires all members to be committed to maintaining the highest professional and technical standards by undertaking appropriate continuing professional development (CPD) relevant to their role and career each year. IFA members are required to submit an annual declaration each year confirming that they have met their CPD obligations.

The continuing professional development regulations apply to members unless they are CPD exempt as detailed in the regulations. The regulations set out the continuing professional development rules that must be adhered to by members.

Continuing professional development regulations effective from 1 September 2019. 

Public practice regulations

The IFA requires all members and member firms in public practice to adhere to the public practice regulations. These regulations cover practising certificates, professional indemnity insurance, client money and arrangements for death or permanent incapacity.

Public practice regulations effective from 1 September 2019.

Professional conduct in relation to taxation

This guidance sets out the high ethical standards which form the core of the tripartite relationship between tax adviser, client and HMRC. It supports the key role members play in helping clients comply with their tax obligations and their broader responsibilities to society.

The guidance has been endorsed by HMRC and has been updated in light of concerns from the government in relation to the facilitation and promotion of tax avoidance. The new guidance covers any structure or arrangement that is artificial, contrived, or seeks to exploit loopholes in tax law.

The key message in the guidance is that members have an obligation to advise their clients accurately and thoroughly of the risks and implications of their actions including reputational and practical aspects.

PRCT applies to all members and member firms who practice in tax including employees attending to the tax affairs of their employer. However many of its specifics have an adviser/client situation front of mind.

It has been recognised that further work is required to develop the guidance for members working in-house or in other capacities. This will be a priority for the professional bodies going forward.

Professional conduct in relation to taxation effective from 1 March 2017.

Frequently asked questions for new guidance.

Anti-money laundering (AML)

Members and member firms providing accountancy services, trust and company services or related services such as tax advice, audit or insolvency by way of business to the public must comply with the requirements of the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 and Money Laundering Regulations 2019 and must be supervised for compliance with these regulations by a supervisory authority, usually the IFA.

The Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies (CCAB) Anti-Money Laundering guidance is the authoritative guidance, by which accountants and their firms may be judged, ultimately by disciplinary tribunals and the courts of law. This guidance has been updated for the new regulations and is awaiting HM Treasury approval.

Further information on anti-money laundering.  

Disciplinary regulations

The IFA’s disciplinary regulations explain the process and role of each of IFA’s conduct committees, including investigations, regulatory, disciplinary and appeal committees. Members finding themselves involved in IFA’s disciplinary process should make sure they are familiar with the disciplinary regulations.

Disciplinary regulations effective from 1 September 2019.  

Disciplinary sanctions 

Guidance for disciplinary sanctions for use in disciplinary proceedings with effect from 1 September 2019. 

IFA Framework for Regulation and Code of Best Practice 

IFA's Framework for Regulation and the Code of Best Practice sets out the Institute's expectations of its members when dealing with clients, employees and other key stakeholders.