Complaining about an accountant or actuary
What should I do if I have a complaint about an accountant or an actuary?
You should complain to the accountant (or their firm) or actuary first.
If you are unhappy with their response, you should complain to their professional body (if they have one).
How can I complain to their professional body?
If you want to find out whether the accountant is a member of one of the professional bodies that we oversee, you should check the correspondence that you have had with them, or their website, for this information. Alternatively, you can conduct an online member search at the following links:
You can find information on making a complaint to these accountancy bodies at the following links:
Instructions for making a complaint about an actuary to the IFoA can be found here
What if the accountant, firm or actuary is not a member of one of the bodies overseen by the FRC?
It may be that the accountant or actuary you are complaining about is not a member of one of the bodies we oversee. This means that we may not have authority to review your complaint.
If this is the case you should ask your accountant, actuary or their employer whether they are a member of another body that you can complain to.
If they do not respond or you are not sure who to contact next, email us at email@example.com as we may be able to suggest an appropriate body for you to direct your complaint to.
What if I complained to the professional body but I don’t agree with their outcome?
You can ask us to review the professional body’s handling of your complaint by filling in our online form and selecting the option to complain about a professional accountancy or actuarial body. However, we do not act as a route of appeal – we cannot overturn a body’s substantive decision and we can’t force it to reconsider your complaint. See more about how we handle these complaints and what happens next here.
What if I think the FRC should look at this complaint, not the professional body?
The accountancy and actuarial professions are self-regulated. This means that there is no statutory framework governing their regulation; the chartered accountancy and actuarial bodies directly regulate their individual and firm members, including in relation to those members’ conduct. You can find links to those bodies here.
However, some of those bodies have entered into arrangements with us, for the FRC to investigate professional misconduct, on their behalf, in public interest cases. We do this under our Accountancy Scheme and Actuarial Scheme. More information is available here
In order for the FRC (rather than the member or member firm’s professional body) to investigate suspected misconduct:
- The matter must give rise to serious public concern or damage to the public confidence in the relevant profession in the United Kingdom (the public interest threshold) and
- The conduct complained of must fall significantly short of the standards reasonably to be expected or has brought or is likely to bring discredit to the profession (the misconduct threshold).
If you think your complaint raises an issue in the public interest and may relate to misconduct by a member of the accountancy or actuarial profession, you can fill in our online complaints form
and select the option to complain about an accountant or actuary
What can we investigate?
Cases of suspected professional misconduct if our Conduct Committee decides that they raise important issues affecting the public interest.
You can find our Conduct Committee’s guidance on what important issues affecting the public interest are, here.
You can find more information about the public interest test and the Misconduct threshold in our Accountancy Scheme and Actuarial Scheme here.
What can we not investigate?
Matters which do not pass the public interest threshold. Those matters will be handled by the individual or firm’s professional membership body.
Is there a time limit for complaining?
To give us the best opportunity to resource and review complaints and regulatory referrals effectively, we ask that you submit your complaint within 12 months of the conduct or matter that you wish to be reviewed (or within 12 months of you having reasonably become aware of it).
If 12 months have passed but you would still like to refer a matter to us, we will ask you to explain when you became aware of it any why you are only referring it to us now.
What happens to my complaint?
We will review and acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 5 working days. If we think that your complaint is not something that the FRC can review, we will explain why.
If we think that your complaint should be reviewed in case it raises matters of public interest and misconduct, we will allocate it for review by our Case Examination and Enquiries Team.
Our Case Examination and Enquiries Team will contact you to confirm the matter has been allocated to them within 5 working days of allocation. They may ask you for further information. They will then consider your complaint and may either:
- Take no further action.
- Refer to the matter to the accountant’s or actuary’s professional body instead.
- Refer the matter to our Conduct Committee for a decision to refer the matter for investigation under one of our disciplinary schemes (Conduct Committee Referral).
What will I hear back from the FRC about the outcome of my complaint and when?
If our Case Examination and Enquiries Team does not propose to take further action, we will explain why and aim to do so within 6 weeks of allocation. If we think that your complaint should be referred instead to another body, we will tell you.
If your matter remains under consideration by our Case Examination and Enquiries Team, they may contact you for further information and assistance but they will not provide you with updates or an outcome letter. This is because our policy is not to disclose any information to complainants about live cases. This is for fairness and to ensure due process.
Our publication policy here explains when we publish information about opening and closing investigations, settlements and Tribunal outcomes. If you write to us asking for updates outside of publications that we have issued under that policy, we will not be able to give you any further information.
Therefore, if you do not hear further from us, or if we say to you that we are unable to disclose information in response to a query from you, this may be because the matter is being considered or progressing or have progressed through a Conduct Committee Referral (and potential subsequent investigation under one of our disciplinary schemes).
We also publish information in our Annual Report and accounts and Annual Enforcement Review about Enforcement and Constructive Engagement activity which you can find here.
What if I disagree with how the FRC has handled my complaint?
You can fill in our online complaints form and select the option to complain about the FRC. See more about how we handle these complaints and what happens next here.