The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) is the oldest and largest accountancy body in Europe with more than 138,000 members in over 160 countries. It is the most prestigious professional body for Chartered Accountants globally attracting many students every year who aspire to become qualified accountants.
And a minimum of 3 years of practical experience with an approved training firm is needed to gain the qualification.
The ACA qualification has 15 modules over three levels. Each ACA module is directly relevant to the work that you do on a day-to-day basis and will help you gain in-depth knowledge across a broad range of topics in accountancy, finance and business.
The ACA Modules
There are 15 ACA modules in total which are split into 3 levels, namely the Certificate Level, the Professional Level and the Advanced Level. All three levels cover all aspects of Accountancy, Finance and Business. The modules can be taken in any order with the exception of the Case Study which has to be attempted last. You must pass every ACA exam (or receive credit for prior learning) – there are no alternate options. This ensures that once qualified, all ICAEW Chartered Accountants have a consistent level of knowledge, skills and experience.
It is a requirement of the ACA training agreement that you and your employer meet at least every six months. These meetings are to discuss and monitor your progress on professional development, ethics and professional scepticism, practical work experience and exams.
Exemptions may be awarded on the basis of previous qualifications. The maximum number of exemptions awarded is 12 out of 15 papers.
The next six modules on which the Professional Level is composed build on the fundamentals and test your understanding and ability to use technical knowledge in real-life scenarios. Each module has a 2.5–3 hour exam, which are available to sit four times per year. These modules are flexible and can be taken in any order. The Business Planning: Taxation and Business Strategy modules in particular will help you to progress to the Advanced Level.
There are two ways in which you can study for the ACA qualification:
Alternatively, you can also study for the ACA qualification as an ’independent student’, but you will not be able to complete your studies (or qualify as an ACA) without completing an approved period of work experience (usually 450 days). This can only be done if you are employed by an ICAEW authorised training employer and have entered into an ACA training agreement.
There are several ways to qualify as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. What is noteworthy is that you don’t need a university degree for entry into the ACA program. You can start training towards the ACA straight after completing A-levels (or equivalent school-leaving certificates).
To find out whether your specific qualification meets the ACA Entry Requirements, please see the ICAEW website here.
Once you have met the ACA Entry Requirements, you may apply to start your ICAEW qualification here. You will be required to pay a registration fee of £165 (+ VAT where applicable).
Below we have listed some useful ICAEW links.
- For registering: http://apps.icaew.com/index.cfm/route/1688/icaew_ga/en/Students/Student_Registration
- To check if you are liable for exemptions: http://apps.icaew.com/index.cfm/route/146395/icaew_ga/en/Students/Credit_for_prior_learning_directory
- Applying for exemptions/credit prior learning: http://www.icaew.com/en/qualifications-and-programmes/aca/aca-training-in-the-uk/exams/credit-for-prior-learning
- Exam applications, dates and deadlines: http://www.icaew.com/en/qualifications-and-programmes/aca-evolved/exams/exam-applications
- FAQ section: http://www.icaew.com/en/qualifications-and-programmes/aca/aca-training-in-the-uk/aca-training-faqs/independent-students-faqs
- ACA training overview: http://www.icaew.com/en/qualifications-and-programmes/aca/aca-training-in-the-uk/get-started-on-the-essential-elements-of-the-aca/aca-training-overview
- ACA Student Training Guide/Handbook
- ICAEW Student Support telephone number: 0044 1908 248 040
Timetable and Tuition Fees
- If you register within 1 January and 30 June the annual fee of £165 + VAT is required.
- If you register within 1 July and 31 October, you will pay a half year fee of £99 + VAT.
- The annual fee is also required if you register within 1 November and 31 December (in this instance, you will receive your first annual bill after 14 months).
- Your annual student fee is renewable on 1 January each year.
- £70 for each Certificate level
- £90 for each Professional level
- £170 for the Financial Accounting AAT-ACA top-up module
- £170 for each Technical Integration module and
- £260 for the Case Study
Credit For Prior Learning / Exemptions:
£70 for each Certificate level.
£90 for each Professional Level module.
Some students in some countries may be eligible to receive credit at a reduced cost or free. See the ICAEW website to see whether you are eligible for this benefit.