FAQs about complaint assessment
Does ACCA investigate every complaint made about its members?
No, like many other regulators, ACCA operates a policy of assessing complaints via its Assessment Department for their appropriateness for either conciliation or investigation. This could mean that your complaint is rejected at this initial assessment stage.
Why would you reject my complaint?
ACCA acts in the public interest. We are obliged to utilise our resources efficiently and effectively to achieve that purpose. We are committed to the principles of good regulation, which require us to discharge our public interest obligations in a manner which is proportionate, consistent, transparent, targeted and accountable.
With that in mind ACCA operates a policy whereby certain complaints will not be considered appropriate for conciliation or investigation as a matter of policy or because they fall outside our jurisdiction. Examples of these are:
- Complaints made more than twelve months after the complaint arose will not be considered for conciliation or investigation
- Commercial disputes
- Complaints lodged in stages
You should read the full policy when considering making a complaint. This can be found in our Complaints - ACCA investigates document (PDF format, 39 KB).
Why do you need all the evidence before you will assess my complaint?
In order to make an accurate assessment of your complaint you must provide ACCA with adequate evidence to support the matter complained of. Your complaint is unlikely to proceed to investigation if there is little or no evidence to support it.
In addition, it is a requirement when making the complaint that all evidence is provided at the inception of the complaint and not provided in a piecemeal way. Accordingly, before you submit your complaint, please gather together all available documentary evidence that would support your complaint and submit it at the same time you submit your complaint form.
Who do you act for – the complainant or the member?
We act in the public interest. This means we act for the benefit of the public as a whole rather than for individual complainants or members.
What happens if you reject my complaint?
You will be provided with the reasons for the rejection and an opportunity to provide further reasons and/or evidence as to why the matter should be conciliated or investigated. Further representations would need to be provided to ACCA within 30 days in order for ACCA to reconsider it.
Any further representataions will then be considered in conjunction with another manager who has not had conduct of the complaint previously. If those further representations are accepted, the matter will be referred for either conciliation or investigation. If they are not, you will be informed and the decision will be deemed final.
What should I do if I still disagree with your decision?
As stated above, the decision to reject the complaint is final. However, if you disagree with the way the case was handled you will be able to utilise the complaints process by writing to the Administration Team at email@example.com, who will be able to provide you with the full complaint process guide.
Will the member know if I have made a complaint about them and it’s been rejected?
Yes, the member will be provided with a copy of the complaint and if appropriate, asked to comment. They will also be advised of the reason for the rejection and that an opportunity for further representations has been provided to you.
How do you decide whether my complaint is suitable to either conciliation or investigation?
As stated above, those members who may not meet ACCA’s high standards of conduct will be referred for investigation with the possibility of a disciplinary hearing.
However, for the majority of complaints that we receive, they will be either customer care issues or errors that, with the benefit of hindsight, should not have been made. In those circumstances, if it appears that the complaint would benefit from conciliation the matter would be referred to the Conciliation Service.
For more information, please visit our FAQs about the Conciliation Service section
What happens if I do not want the member to know who made the complaint?
Members are generally entitled to know the identity of the person making the complaint against them. However, we appreciate that sometimes this is not appropriate, and, as a complainant, you may therefore request for ACCA not to share your identity with the member. However, please note that your identity may be apparent to a member from the context of the complaint as well as your name; please let us know any particular concerns relating to other information which you provide.
If you do ask for your identity not to be shared, you will not be a 'complainant' within the definition of our regulations and do not have the right to challenge our decisions or be kept informed of the progress of the investigation. We may also be unable to take the complaint forward or investigate it fully.
Note that in exceptional circumstances (for example where your complaint reveals a potential criminal matter), we may need to involve you even if you have requested not to be identified, in which case we will seek to discuss this with you.
Will the member be told about the complaint if I am anonymous?
Yes, the member will be advised of the complaint and they will be asked to comment. However, any complaint put to them will be anonymised.
I believe my accountant has been negligent, but he will not provide me with his professional indemnity insurance details – can you?
All members with a practising certificate are required to have professional indemnity insurance. However, due to data protection issues we are not able to provide you with these details, nor are we able to force the member to do so.
I have changed my mind about making a complaint. How do I withdraw it?
If you wish to withdraw your support for the complaint you are entitled to do so. However, once ACCA has received a complaint, it may decide to proceed with its investigation despite you withdrawing.
How do I make a complaint about my accountant who provided legal services?
If your complaint is about an individual or firm authorised for legal activities (Probate) it must be made through the Legal Ombudsman Complaints process.
The Legal Ombudsman Scheme rules set out the framework for how the Legal Ombudsman resolves complaints about legal services. The rules explain which complaints are covered by the Legal Ombudsman and how it will deal with them.
You can contact the Legal Ombudsman through the following channels:
- Tel: 0300 555 0333
- Post: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ACCA has established a Memorandum of Understanding and an Operational Protocol with the Legal Ombudsman which set out how ACCA and the Legal Ombudsman will work together and share information on complaints.
If a complaint that falls within the Legal Ombudsman Scheme rules is made directly to ACCA, the complaint will be passed to the Legal Ombudsman. Complaints that indicate misconduct on the part of the authorised person will be investigated by ACCA.
If (at any stage after the Legal Ombudsman receives a complaint), the Legal Ombudsman considers that the complaint discloses any alleged misconduct, the complaint will be passed to ACCA for investigation and, where appropriate, disciplinary action.
For further information, please visit the Legal Ombudsman website.