This resource has been developed for the UK market – if you are not based in the UK then you should consider how the information and advice can be applied in your market.

The exterior of an office, with a blank hanging company name sign

These are fairly straightforward if your practice is in the UK but it's best to be sure before you spend money on marketing, websites, printing etc.

  • Personal descriptions

    The ACCA Rulebook states

    1. If you are a member of another accountancy body, words showing the membership may be used on professional stationery;
    2. If you belong to two or more accountancy bodies then you have the choice of either using all of the designatory letters on your professional stationery or none at all;
    3. Civil or service honours (such as CBE, DSO, DFC) can be used on professional stationery.

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  • Rules affecting the practice name

    The basic rule is that, subject to the bye-laws and the following rules, a professional accountant may practise under whatever name or title they see fit.


    However the practice name:

    • Should be consistent with high ethical and technical standards.
    • Should not be misleading.
    • should not be capable of being confused with the name of another firm, even if the member(s) of the practice could lay justifiable claim to the name.

    The rulebook also discusses some issues regarding claims made by the firm, for instance:

    • It would be misleading for a firm with a limited number of offices to describe itself as “international” even if one of them was overseas
    • A firm can trade under different names from different offices providing that this does not mislead.

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  • Describing the new practice

    Some of the strictest rules relate to the descriptions allowed for the firm:

    A firm containing, as principals, ACCA members who are holders of practising certificates may describe itself as a firm of ‘Chartered Certified Accountants’, ‘Certified Accountants’ or ‘an ACCA Practice’, provided at least half of the firm’s principals are ACCA members and these same persons, among them, control 51% or more of the voting rights in the firm. A firm in which all principals are Chartered Certified Accountants is also entitled to use the following description at the foot of its professional stationery:

    • Members of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

    A holder of an ACCA practising certificate who is based outside the UK may only use such a designation and in such a form as they are entitled/required to use by virtue of their membership of a recognised professional body, or registration granted by any appropriate authority, in the country in which they practise. Where ACCA’s descriptions guidance and local requirements differ, the stricter of the two positions should be applied. Generally, unless the legislation of the country in which the practitioner is based overrides this requirement, the designation of any overseas body should not be used in combination with ‘Chartered Certified Accountant(s)’, other than as follows:

    • The partners {or directors} of this firm are members of either the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants or {insert name of local professional body}

    A mixed firm – for example, one wholly composed of partners (or directors) who are Chartered Certified Accountants or UK/Irish Chartered Accountants – is not permitted to use the description ‘Chartered Certified Accountants and Chartered Accountants’ or ‘Chartered and Certified Accountants’. Such a firm may use the following statement on their professional stationery (provided the Chartered Accountants have obtained permission from their own Institute to use the statement):

    • The partners {or directors} of this firm are members of either the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants or the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales {or of Scotland or in Ireland}

    Firms in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland holding a firm’s auditing certificate issued by ACCA may describe themselves as ‘Registered Auditors’, and must add the following statement to their professional stationery:

    • Registered as auditors in {the United Kingdom/Ireland} by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

    More information about practice descriptions can be found in our Control and Descriptions Requirements factsheet.

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  • Can I include ‘ACCA’ in the firm’s name?

    A professional accountant is not permitted to do the following:

    (a) form or incorporate a firm, partnership, company or limited liability partnership incorporating or consisting of any of the terms:

    • 'Chartered Certified Accountant'
    • 'Certified Accountant'
    • 'Registered Auditor'
    • 'ACCA'
    • 'FCCA' or any confusingly similar term; and/or

    (b) register a domain name or trade mark incorporating or consisting of any of the terms above or any confusingly similar term.

    So for instance 'John Bloggs ACCA members Limited' would breach the rule.

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  • Use of the ACCA logo

    The ACCA logo is iconic and can form an important part of the firm’s stationery and website/social media content.

    A firm that has at least one ACCA member as a partner or director may use the ACCA logo subject to the restriction that it may not be used unless a firm is controlled overall by holders of recognised accountancy qualifications. 

    The design and use of the logo is important. The overriding consideration is that the positioning, size and colour of the ACCA logo shall not compromise its recognition. The ACCA logo is square and shall not be cropped or altered in any way. The logo must appear in black or red (Pantone 485). 

    To get the logo a member in an eligible firm can request the logo artwork and guidelines from us by emailing and providing the member’s practising certificate number and membership number.

    ACCA has a supply of 8" x 8" logo window stickers. A member in an eligible firm can request a window sticker by emailing and providing a membership number. 

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  • Different sizes of firms and their descriptions

    Different sizes of firms and their descriptions

    When setting up in practice, the size of the new firm leads to some interesting rules:

    Sole practitioners

    • A sole practitioner may use the plural form of 'chartered certified accountants'
    • or 'certified accountants' and/or 'registered auditors' and/or 'licensed insolvency practitioners' to describe their firm providing they hold the appropriate certificate, and either:

    (a) they apply the suffix '& Co.' after their name; or

    (b) otherwise trade under a business name which is not the same as their personal name

    • A professional accountant who is a sole practitioner may describe himself/herself as a 'member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants'
    • It would be misleading for a sole practitioner to add the suffix 'and partners' to their firm’s name. Similarly, it would be misleading for a firm to add the suffix 'and Associates' to its business name unless it has two or more formal associations/consultancies in existence which can be demonstrated to exist.
    • The rulebook has no objection to a firm practising under its own name and including a statement on its professional stationery to the effect that it is a member of (a named) accountancy group.

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  • Specialisms

    Where the firm wants to demonstrate some specialist services that they provide it may include a list of these on its professional stationery. For example:

    ‘Tax advisers’, could be used by a firm provided that:

     (a) it is competent to provide the specialisms shown, and

     (b) the content and presentation of the descriptions do not bring ACCA into disrepute or bring discredit to the firm or the accountancy profession.

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  • What names can go on the stationery and websites?

    The basic rule is straight forward - it should be clear from reading a firm’s professional stationery whether any person named on it is a principal in that firm (i.e. a partner, sole practitioner or director).

    However, where a firm would like to put other people on its professional stationery, that is allowed providing that the name is clearly described, for instance ‘manager’, ‘Tax Consultant’, etc. The firm should only include such people if they are competent and have the necessary eligibility and qualifications to provide any specialism shown. Obviously, those named as principals should be clearly separated from those of non-principals.

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  • Other headings on professional stationery

    There are other headings which can be included when the firm is for instance a registered auditor or part of ACCA’s Designated Professional Body Regime. Please refer to the Rulebook for more details.

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Further advice

Members based in the UK are encouraged to seek advice from our UK Technical Advisory team if they have any specific queries or would like any further information.