Frequently Asked Questions - Potential and Current Members
The Institute of Incorporated Public Accountants (IIPA) is an Recognised Accountancy Body, based in Ireland, that educates, admits to membership, and regulates Incorporated Public Accountants in Ireland and internationally.
The IIPA is registered as a Company Limited by Guarantee (CRO Number: 86149), a “Recognised Accountancy Body” under the Irish Companies Acts, and is a “Competent Authority” as defined under European Communities Directive 2006/43/EC. The IIPA professional accountancy qualification is also recognised under the EU Services Directive.
The IIPA is headed by a Member elected Council (also the Directors of the Company) which is charged with setting the strategic direction of the Institute and managing all aspects of its operation. To achieve its goals the Council has appointed a number of Committees charged with managing specific areas of operation such as education and practice quality assurance. It also employs a Head Office staff who administer many areas of the Institutes operation on behalf of the Council.
To be eligible for membership you must have completed/been exempt from the Professional and Final Admitting exams of the IIPA or be a member in good standing of any of the following bodies:
- A Recognised Accountancy Body or a Prescribed Accountancy Body (under the Companies Acts in Ireland) – ACCA, ICPAI, CAI, AIA, CIMA, CIPFA, ICAEW or ICAS;
- A member body of the International Federation of Accountants;
- A supervisory body of accountants that is a competent authority under Directive 2006/43/EC; or
- A supervisory body of Auditors or Accountants that the Council of the Institute of Incorporated Public Accountants has decided to recognise for the purpose of granting membership.
Membership may also be possible in the following circumstance:
- An individual that holds or is eligible to hold a certificate that enables the applicant to practice as a statutory auditor or public auditor;
- A third country auditor of good repute; or
- A Statutory Auditor from another EEA state.
Continuing Professional Development (often referred to as “CPD”) a scheme common to an ever-growing number of professionals (and other employment) that provides a means by which Members of the IIPA maintain and develop their professional knowledge and skills. This is achieved by a combination of formal and informal training. The IIPA has adopted the requirements of International Education Standard 7 (IES 7) and therefore the current CPD requirements are that a member must undertake 120 hours CPD over 3 years, with at least 60 of those hours being some form of “formal” training.
Almost all Members of the IIPA are required to undertake CPD (see the exemptions below for details on those who do not). The IIPA requires this to ensure that those presenting themselves as Incorporated Public Accountants are knowledgeable and competent. This requirement extends beyond those Members working directly in accountancy or finance (and includes Members who are currently unemployed). To earn the designation “Incorporated Public Accountant” requires a Member to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and experience, and retaining it requires them maintain and develop it.
If you are a Member of another accountancy body you may choose to comply with their CPD programme rather than that of the IIPA.
The following grades of Incorporated Public Accountant may be exempt from the requirement to undertake Continuing Professional Development:
- Honorary Members;
- Members who have been recognised as “Retired” under the provisions of the IIPA’s Constitutional Documents; or
- Members who have been exempt by the Education and Promotions Committee for medical or personal reasons.
Commercial classroom based courses are an excellent way to complete your CPD, but this is far from the only way that a Member of the IIPA can meet their CPD obligations. For example, attending briefings such as the ones offered by the Revenue Commissioners is acceptable. Relevant online courses such as those offered free on websites such as coursera.org are also suitable. Participation in Council or Committees of the Institute, providing accounting education and participating in working groups on accounting, tax, company law and many other such areas will also be considered.
The IIPA will facilitate Members in paying fees in so far as it can. In many cases we will allow the Members who can demonstrate a real need to pay their fees in instalments. Members may apply to the Benevolent Fund for help with fees (although funds are limited).
In very extreme cases the Council may allow a reduction in fees. An application for such a reduction must be made to the Council in writing and is entirely at its discretion.
Frequently Asked Questions – Potential and Registered Students
1. Can a student take exams in subjects from Final Admitting Exam before passing all of the Professional 2?
IIPA Students may sit any exam in Final Admitting Exam where they have passed or been exempt from any prerequisite exam for the subject or where that subject does not have a prerequisite. For example, if you have been exempt from Financial Accounting at Professional 2 may sit Advanced Financial Accounting. Financial Management at Final Admitting Exam level does not have a prerequisite so the exam may be taken at any stage.
IIPA students may attempt exams as many times as is necessary. The IIPA also welcomes students who have used all attempts with another Recognised Accountancy Body or Prescribed Accountancy Body but who wish to qualify as a Professional Accountant. Students do not “time-out” with the IIPA.
Currently the IIPA holds all exams in the Osprey Hotel, Naas, Co Kildare. The Institute has found this location to be very conducive to the effective running of exams and has therefore held exams at this location for many years.
Exams may also be held in other locations subject to demand. Currently there are exams in one other location, in Mallow, Co Cork.
Students have a number of study options available to them:
- Distance Learning;
- Evening Courses; and
- Weekend Seminars.
Most students study by distance learning but we also have a number of providers who offer night courses*. Distance students may attend Weekend Seminars to help with their learning.
*Night courses are run subject to sufficient numbers signing up.
Students registering with the IIPA have already completed some form of relevant education at third level (or equivalent). Therefore most students are registering at Professional 2 level although many students qualify for additional exemptions at Professional 2 and very occasionally Final Admitting Exam level. Therefore, the maximum number of subjects that you will have to sit with the IIPA is 8. These are:
- Professional 2 – Auditing; Financial Accounting; Advanced Taxation; Strategic Management.
- Final Admitting Exam – Advanced Financial Accounting; Audit Practice; Advanced Management Accounting; Financial Management.
Three years appropriate training and experience is an important part of becoming a Incorporated Public Accountant. However, the IIPA does not prescribe where a student obtains this training and experience, nor do we prescribe when it is obtained. There are a number of key areas where training might be obtained, including:
- Accounts Preparation;
- Financial Reporting for Sole Traders, Partnerships and Companies;
- Costing, Budgeting and Management Accounting;
- Statutory and Internal Auditing;
- Financial Management; and
- Organisational and Strategic Management.
This is not an exhaustive list, nor will a student necessarily be required to have all of the content of this list (other than where such training is required by law for appointment as a Statutory Auditor).
7. Do I need to be in a Training Contract with an Accounting Firm to Study to become an Incorporated Public Accountant?
Training to become an Incorporated Public Accountant is based on having acquired training and/or experience in particular areas rather than where that training and/or experience has been undertaken. We recognise that the modern accountant is a multi-skilled professional who will be required to work in a range of areas and not always in the traditional practice roles.
However, Statutory Auditors are subject to a range of training and regulatory requirements that are in excess of those that are applied to become a Professional Accountant. If you believe that you will want to qualify as a Statutory Auditor you will need to ensure that the training and experience that you obtain is relevant auditing experience. Three years experience in this area is required at least two years of which should be undertaken under the supervision of a Statutory Auditor.