Best practice is based on the Fundamental Principles in ACCA's Code of Ethics and the five principles which form the foundation of the ACCA Quality Checked scheme.
No matter how strong firms' internal controls are, a certain number of errors will always be made, particularly during busy periods where staff are put under pressure to complete work more quickly.
However, the risk of errors occurring can be reduced by standardising systems and consistently using internal control procedures to review work and thereby detect and correct errors before work is sent out.
By minimising the occurrence of errors firms will become more efficient, project a more professional image to its clients, potentially improve profitability and client retention while minimising the risk of litigation.
Having suitable quality control procedures in place is important to firms of all sizes. However, procedures which are suitable for one firm may not be suitable for another.
It will depend on the size, structure and nature of the practice concerned. Because of the wide spectrum of appropriate procedures that may be suitable for each individual firm, ACCA has taken a practical, risk based approach in assessing whether a firm can demonstrate it has applied quality control procedures of a standard compatible with the firm in question.
A quality assurance review will be carried out by an experienced ACCA compliance officer who will be a qualified accountant and who will have visited many similar firms and be able to offer practical and effective advice tailored to the size and nature of the firm. It is a consultancy exercise which will:
- Help firms to review and appraise their own procedures
- Highlight weaknesses in systems that may expose firms to risks they had not considered
- Allow firms to benchmark their own processes against current good practice
- Recommend practical procedures that could help firms retain clients and avoid complaints
Once awarded ACCA Quality Checked firms can use this to help market its services and grow the practice.