The global body for professional accountants

What are disciplinary procedures?

ACCA has public interest responsibilities, and we must ensure that our students and members act with integrity and to high standards. Consequently, students, as well as members, come within the jurisdiction of ACCA’s disciplinary procedures. The disciplinary procedures apply to students completing projects and internally-assessed courses as well as paper-based and computer-based exams.

Liability to disciplinary action

Anything you do which falls within ACCA’s bye-law 8 will result in disciplinary procedures being brought against you. Bye-law 8 can be found within the ACCA Rulebook, which can be downloaded from the 'Related documents' section of this page.

The Rulebook covers matters such as professional misconduct, misconduct in exams, criminal convictions and breaches of regulations which include any actions likely to bring discredit to you, ACCA, or the accountancy profession.

If you have fallen within bye-law 8 before you become an ACCA student, you must declare it on your application form, otherwise you are liable to be disciplined for it. All criminal convictions must be declared, even if they are ‘spent’ under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

What are the rules and regulations covering students?

You should read Membership Regulation 8 and the Examination Regulations and familiarise yourself with ACCA’s Code of Ethics and Conduct, particularly the Fundamental Principles. The Code applies to students as well as members.

Disciplinary procedures

ACCA’s Complaints and Disciplinary Regulations and Appeal Regulations can be found at If you become the subject of a disciplinary investigation, you will receive a guide which explains the procedures. A summary of the key points is provided here:

  • The most common complaints for which students are investigated and disciplined are cheating in exams and carrying on public practice.
  • You must co-operate throughout the course of the investigation.
  • ACCA reserves the right to withhold the results of a student’s examination while a complaint against him or her is under consideration.
  • If there is evidence of misconduct, you will be referred to the Disciplinary Committee, which will hear the case in public. You will be invited to attend and bring witnesses.
  • If the case is proved, the Committee has a variety of sanctions it can impose upon you. The most serious is exclusion from ACCA, which is the guideline sanction for cheating in an exam. Other sanctions include being disqualified from any exam for which the results have not yet been issued and being barred from sitting exams for a specified period.
  • Publicity will always be given to the Disciplinary Committee’s decision.
  • You will normally be ordered to pay the costs of the case if it is proved.
  • There is an opportunity for you to apply for permission to appeal if you disagree with the Disciplinary Committee’s decision. In order to obtain permission, you have to demonstrate that your appeal would have a real prospect of success on specified grounds.

Last updated: 29 Feb 2016