Published each January and updated as and when needed, the ACCA Rulebook is the definitive guide to our bye-laws, regulations and Code of Ethics and Conduct.
About the ACCA Rulebook
The Rulebook is a valuable asset to our members and students, and to firms. It contains the bye-laws, regulations and the Code of Ethics and Conduct with which members are required to comply.
All new students and members are asked to sign an undertaking stipulating that they will comply with ACCA’s regulations and Code of Ethics and Conduct, which exist within ACCA’s governance framework of its Royal Charter and bye-laws.
The Rulebook is updated regularly, in line with regulatory developments and policy requirements. Bookmark or download the Rulebook and be confident you're using the latest edition and refer to the Rulebook commentary in the related documents for an overview of the main changes.
Royal Charter and Bye-laws
The Royal Charter was granted to ACCA on 25 November 1974 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and it, together with the bye-laws, set out how ACCA governs itself, and the role played by members, including ACCA’s Council.
The Regulations set out essential information for members, students (including affiliates) and firms, including practising arrangements, and regulatory and disciplinary matters. The contents of each set of Regulations may be summarised as follows:
The Chartered Certified Accountants’ Membership Regulations 2014 - The Membership Regulations set out the obligations of members and students, including eligibility criteria.
The Chartered Certified Accountants’ Global Practising Regulations 2003 (GPRs) - the GPRs set out the eligibility requirements for a practising certificate, and continuing obligations placed on practising certificate holders. The GPRs additionally denote specific practising regulations for the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Republic of Ireland, Zimbabwe, Australia and South Africa. These annexes to the GPRs include the United Kingdom Audit Regulations, Insolvency Regulations and Legal Activities Regulations, and the Republic of Ireland Audit Regulations.
The Chartered Certified Accountants’ Designated Professional Body Regulations 2001 (DPBRs) – The DPBRs set out eligibility requirements in order for firms to carry on exempt regulated activities, the scope of those permitted activities, and regulations concerning the conduct of business with clients. These relate to a limited range of investment business activities. The DPBRs also carry regulations concerning monitoring and enforcement.
The Chartered Certified Accountants’ Irish Investment Business Regulations 2013 (IIBRs) – The IIBRs set out eligibility requirements for an ACCA investment business certificate (Ireland), the scope of permitted investment business activities within each category of authorisation, requirements concerning the conduct of business, and enforcement procedures.
The Chartered Certified Accountants’ Regulatory Board and Committee Regulations 2014 – These regulations govern ACCA’s arrangements in respect of its public interest oversight boards (including the Regulatory Board), and its Panel of Committee members, legal advisors and assessors, who play important roles in ACCA’s regulatory and disciplinary functions. The regulations set out provisions for the establishment, constitution, powers and responsibilities of the various boards and Committees.
The Chartered Certified Accountants’ Authorisation Regulations 2014 - The Authorisation Regulations set out the application process to obtain an ACCA practising certificate (including licences to provide services reserved by statute, such as auditing), which may require the approval of ACCA’s Admissions and Licensing Committee. They also set out the ways in which certificates and licences may be withdrawn, suspended or made subject to conditions. While conditions may be imposed by a regulatory assessor, the Authorisation Regulations explain the hearing process, which is necessary if a certificate or licence is to be withdrawn.
The Chartered Certified Accountants’ Complaints and Disciplinary Regulations 2014 - The Complaints and Disciplinary Regulations set out the process by which a complaint (against a member or student) may be assessed and, if appropriate, investigated. There are a number of possible outcomes – from resting the matter on file or agreeing a consent order, to a full hearing before ACCA’s Disciplinary Committee. The regulations set out the available sanctions, and provisions in respect of costs orders and publicity. They also explain what happens to a complaint (or aspect of a complaint) that does not meet the requirements for investigation. For example, it may be possible to submit a matter for the conciliation process.
The Chartered Certified Accountants’ Appeal Regulations 2014 - The Appeal Regulations set out the appeal process (from hearings by the Admissions and Licensing Committee, Disciplinary Committee or Health Committee) and the procedure adopted by the Appeal Committee at a hearing, including orders available to the Committee. Before an appeal hearing can be listed, the relevant person must apply in writing for permission to appeal.
The Chartered Certified Accountants’ Interim Orders Regulations 2014 - The Interim Orders Regulations set out the process in relation to the imposition and revocation of interim orders, and the procedure adopted by the Interim Orders Committee at a hearing, including the orders available to the Committee, reviews of interim orders, publicity and costs orders. Interim orders are sometimes required in order to protect the public, and so they have immediate effect.
The Chartered Certified Accountants’ Health Regulations 2014 - The Health Regulations set out the procedure to be adopted by the Health Committee. The regulations are relevant where a party to the regulatory or disciplinary process may be too ill to participate in that process. In the case of an appellant, the regulations would apply to an individual who may be too ill to participate in the appeal process but does not wish to withdraw his or her appeal.
In addition to becoming familiar with the structure and content of the Rulebook, members and students are able to consult ACCA’s Technical Advisory service for clarification on any aspect of the Rulebook.
Code of Ethics and Conduct
ACCA has adopted the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards), issued by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) in April 2018. However, the IESBA Code is augmented with additional requirements and guidance that are appropriate to ACCA and its members in arriving at the ACCA Code of Ethics and Conduct (CEC). The CEC is binding on all members and students of ACCA and sets out five fundamental ethical principles, and provides a framework for addressing ethical problems:
- integrity - being straightforward and honest in all professional and business relationships;
- objectivity - not allowing bias, conflicts of interest or undue influence of others to override professional or business judgements;
- professional competence and due care - to maintain professional knowledge and skill at a level required to ensure that a client or employer receives competent professional service based on current developments in practice, legislation and techniques and act diligently and in accordance with applicable technical and professional standards;
- confidentiality - to respect the confidentiality of information acquired as a result of professional and business relationships and, therefore, not disclose any such information to third parties without proper and specific authority, unless there’s a legal or professional right or duty to disclose, nor use the information for the personal advantage of the professional accountant or third parties;
- professional behaviour - to comply with relevant laws and regulations and avoid any conduct that discredits the profession.
- Current rulebook