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Sponsor requirements – eligibility criteria

Your application and Examination of Experience must be supported by an eligible sponsor. This must be one person who meets all of the essential criteria.

Any applications which are not supported by a suitable sponsor will be invalid.

What is the role of the sponsor?

The role of the sponsor is an important one. The sponsor has several key responsibilities:

  • To confirm that they know the applicant.
  • To confirm that the applicant is of good character, and that there is no reason that they are aware of, why the applicant should not be admitted to ICAEW membership.
  • To verify to the best of their knowledge that the information in the application, and within the answers to the Examination of Experience provided by the applicant are a true and accurate representation of the work of the applicant.

To achieve this, the sponsor is required to:

  • Read the completed application form of the relevant applicant
  • Read the completed Examination of Experience answers of the relevant applicant
  • Use their professional judgement to satisfy themselves that the information and answers that have been provided by the applicant are true and accurate, and that the applicant is of good character
  • Having done this, the sponsor needs to complete and sign the Sponsor Form

Penalties for sponsors

Anyone acting as a sponsor who is found to have testified in an inappropriate manner will be liable to investigation and will be reported to their professional body.

Sponsors should also be aware that applicants are not permitted to plagiarise work (ie, incorporate any published or unpublished work in whatever format or medium) from other people or from the ICAEW illustrative answers. Failure to comply is considered to be misconduct. Where ICAEW believes misconduct may exist, the case will be referred to ICAEW Assessment Committee for investigation and potential disciplinary action, and referral to the candidate’s current professional body.

ICAEW puts applications through anti-plagiarism software as part of the application process.

Who can serve as a sponsor?

There are six essential criteria for a sponsor. Each applicant must have one sponsor who meets all of the required sponsor criteria to support their completed application. The sponsor must:

1) Know the applicant
2) AND hold full and current membership of a body belonging to the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) – this body must be a full IFAC member
3) AND have gained full membership of that IFAC body through the normal education and training route (as opposed to through any form of reciprocal membership agreements or full or advanced credit or exemption arrangements)
4) AND be compliant with the CPD (continuing professional development) requirements of their IFAC member body
5) AND be of good standing including having a good disciplinary record with no outstanding complaints against them
6) AND provide us with a letter of good standing from that professional body – which must be issued and dated within the three months immediately before the Pathways deadline date that the applicant is submitting at. This letter from their professional body must confirm:

  • That they are a member of that body
  • The date and year they were admitted into membership
  • That membership has been gained by the normal education and training route (they may need to ask them for transcripts to evidence this)
  • That they have a good disciplinary record with no outstanding complaints against them, or advise us of the details of any disciplinary record or outstanding complaint(s)
  • That they are fully compliant with the continuing professional development (CPD) requirements of that body.

All sponsors must provide a letter of good standing. This must be included with the applicant’s application. The only exception is where a sponsor is an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. An ICAEW Chartered Accountant does not need to provide a letter of good standing because we can check their membership status, disciplinary record, CPD compliance on our systems as part of the application process).

ICAEW members serving as sponsor

An ICAEW Chartered Accountant can be a sponsor if they meet all of the required criteria shown above. Where an ICAEW member serves as a sponsor, they do not need to provide a letter of good standing  as part of the applicant’s Pathways application. This is because we can check their membership status, disciplinary record etc on our ICAEW member records.

Can a non-accountant be my sponsor?

A sponsor must be able to meet all of the required sponsor criteria. This does not exclude a non-accountant from serving as sponsor. As an example, a sponsor could be a lecturer or business manager. The key is that they must be able to meet the required criteria.

Can a family member be my sponsor?

A family member can serve as your sponsor – as long as they meet all of the required criteria.

More questions? Please visit our frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the Pathways website at icaew.com/pathwaysfaqs.