Representing the best interests of members is front and centre of all we do as a not-for-profit membership organisation – and we provide the best value we can.
Membership of the CPAA provides invaluable support, enabling you to develop your practice and progress professionally.
We are proud to promote high standards and have a rigorous set of criteria for joining, which means the CPAA has a reputation for having members that are ethical and competent professionals.
As a professional association we are committed to only allowing highly competent and ethical accountants join as members. We aim to ensure that CPAA members meet our minimum standards of experience and knowledge. This is judged against the Learning Objectives in our qualifications. And that all our practising members are registered with applicable regulators.
There are three main routes to membership:
Completion of the CPAA Level 4 Diploma in Public Practice Accountancy and Taxation, or an undergraduate degree or equivalent in accountancy and two years of experience (which should be in a UK public practice setting if applying for practising membership).
Membership of an Approved Professional Body
Members of an IFAC member body, or a Professional Body Supervisor, can join the Association. Applicants must be members in good standing, not having had any disciplinary action taken against them or be subject to an ongoing disciplinary at the time of application.
Qualified By Experience
The Association recognises that there are many legitimate reasons that an accountant may not have been able to gain a professional, academic or vocational qualification. Accountants who have had five years of experience operating as an accountant may also be eligible to join the CPAA.
Experience and Qualifications
We aim to ensure that CPAA members meet our minimum standards of experience and knowledge. This is judged against the Learning Objectives in our qualifications. There are three ways that an applicant can demonstrate this.
Please note that we ask all applicants for evidence of any relevant qualifications. If an applicant does not meet the experience and qualifications requirement, they can study the CPAA’s qualifications.
Qualified By Experience (QBE)
If you have worked in an accountancy role for the equivalent of five years of full-time work, you may be able to join the Association. We ask for evidence of experience and knowledge to ensure that it meets our expectations.
Vocational / Academic Qualification
If you hold a vocational qualification (BETCH, AAT, ACCA etc.) – regardless of whether you hold a professional membership or not – and you have the equivalent of two years’ experience working full time in an accountancy role, you may be be able to join the CPAA.
Membership of Another Body
Members of a Professional Body Supervisor can apply for membership. International members should be a member of the main professional accountancy body in their jurisdiction.
CPAA members must have control over an accountancy through which they provide accountancy and taxation services. This normally means that CPAA members have the authority to appoint or remove key personal and make important decisions within the practice.
International members cannot be in practice.
All applicants for practising membership must be supervised in accordance with Money Laundering Regulations. If you are a member of a Professional Body Supervisor, this supervision is likely to be provided by them, otherwise you will need to register with HMRC.
If you are based in the UK and are in practice, you must apply for practising membership. We consider you in practice if you are an individual or a director in a corporation or a partner in a firm that provides accountancy or bookkeeping services, or tax advice to the public.
We may also consider you to be in practice if you are a shareholder in a company offering accountancy services or tax advice to the public. A decision on your practising status will be made by the Association, as part of the application process.
Fit and proper
All members must meet our fit and proper criteria at the time of their application. Details on this can be found in our Rules and Bylaws.
Practising CPAA members must hold appropriate levels of Professional Indemnity Insurance. If you do not have this cover in place at the time of your application, we may be able arrange for you to be enrolled on the CPAA Member Insurance Scheme.
1. Online Form Completion
You will need to submit an application through the CPAA’s website
2. Acknowledgement and Info Request
We will reach out by email to acknowledge your application and request further information
3. Evidence Supply and Question Response
We will request supporting evidence and ID. An Experian Business Check will be run and Trust Online (please note this will not leave a search on your personal credit file). We will also consult other publicly available information.
4. Receive a Formal Decision
Once we have collected all evidence and evaluated your application we will inform you of our decision.
If you have any questions regarding our services, please take a moment to view our FAQ's section. Here, you will find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions. This will help you quickly get the information you need and save you time.
Why Join the CPAA?
The CPAA is a professional accountancy association, we offer a number of benefits included within our membership to support the development of practices and practitioners. We work to represent the interests of our members, while also upholding high professional standards by ensuring all our members are ethical and competent accountants.
What are the Entry Requirements?
Can I Get the Fees Refunded?
We cannot issue a refund of fees paid after we have completed certain checks, which are conducted as part of the application process. If an application is withdrawn or rejected before these checks are completed we can issue a full refund. We will always let you know before we start these checks.
How Recognised is the CPAA?
The CPAA is specialist professional association. Compared to established professional bodies in the UK the CPAA is a relatively younger and smaller organisation.
It is not compulsory to join the CPAA to act as an accountant or tax agent in the UK. .. Many of our members are also affiliated with other professional bodies – such as the ACCA or the ICAEW – as to gain different benefits from different organisations.
Our members find that the CPAA provides relevant and high quality CPD programme alongside training and support.
What is AML Supervision?
In accordance with the Money Laundering Regulations all accountancy service providers must be registered with a supervisory authority. If you are not regulated by a Professional Body Supervisor (OPBAS), you should register with HMRC
Do I Need to be a Member/ Have a Practising Certificate to Practice?
No, you do not need to be a member nor have a practising certificate with any organisation to register as a tax agent with HMRC. If you are a member of a professional body, they may require you to have their practising certificate to practice.
Are You Affiliated with any International Accountancy Bodies?
No, the CPAA is an organisation focused on UK based accountancy practitioners.