Case study: mutual recognition of professional qualifications

The European Professional Qualifications Directive provides recognition of regulated professions such as architects, doctors, civil engineers and auditors.

This directive allows people in these professions to move freely across the EU/EEA and have their qualifications recognised by passing a local aptitude test. The Audit Directive makes further provisions for auditors. These arrangements allow Ireland, and Irish professionals, to support international businesses effectively.

Risks

  • If the UK does not remain within the EEA, professionals potentially face significant challenges in  terms of recognition and mobility, which may increase skills shortages

  • Registered auditors may not have inter-jurisdictional audit rights without specific agreements, which could be an impediment to cross-border business

  • Irish auditors may in future need to undergo additional work experience and examinations in order to work as auditors in the UK

Recommended actions

  • If the UK remains outside the EEA, Ireland should be part of the EU team negotiating a recognition policy for professional qualifications

  • Chartered Accountants Ireland, as an all-island body with 25,000 members, has a potential unique role to play and is willing to brief and support Irish negotiators

  • As a contingency, a third country agreement should be negotiated by the UK Financial Reporting Council and the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA). This would require that all recognised Institutes gain access rights in both countries and facilitate present mobility