Pension auto-enrolment - What practising accountants can and cannot do

Guidance on the level of work that ACCA members in practice are permitted to undertake for their clients regarding pension auto-enrolment, plus useful resources

Auto-enrolment will make it compulsory for all employers to automatically enrol eligible job holders into a pension scheme and to make contributions into that scheme.

Many employers have already started automatically enrolling staff into a pension scheme and by the beginning of 2018 all employers will be required by law to follow suit.

Many ACCA members have been enquiring as to the level of work that they are permitted to undertake for their clients.

ACCA practising members are free to advise their clients on the following matters:

  • staging dates for enrolment
  • who are 'eligible jobholders' for the purposes of auto-enrolment
  • ensuring that systems are compliant
  • tax implications.

In addition to the above, practising members may also advise a client on the selection of an appropriate scheme which is compliant with auto-enrolment.

As you can see in the guide to the regulation of workplace defined contribution pensions, the graphic set out on page 9 confirms that 'Advice to employers on scheme selection is not regulated.'

So, for example, a member firm may point the employer in the direction of a specific pension provider; the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has confirmed that this is not regarded as a regulated activity.

However, an ACCA firm is not allowed to advise an individual employee on the merits of joining a scheme since this is regarded as a regulated activity. They would only be able to do this if they are authorised by the FCA to carry out regulated activities.

Engagement letter

Members should ensure that they have a separate letter of engagement covering work undertaken in connection with pension auto-enrolment.

ACCA has produced an engagement letter that members can use.  You can obtain a copy of this by emailing us at and quoting your ACCA membership number.

ACCA Guides  

ACCA has produced a number of guides to auto-enrolment which can be taken for your own use or sent to clients on your own headed paper. These are available through the 'Related links' section on this page.