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Start your ACA training

To become a chartered accountant you must complete 450 days of on-the-job training alongside the study elements of the ACA qualification. To do so you will need to secure a training agreement with a company or accountant authorised by ICAEW.

Find a training vacancy
01

What is an ACA training agreement?

Each year companies authorised by ICAEW offer around 6,000 training roles through which you can study the ACA and complete the practical work experience element of the qualification.

You do all this while earning a competitive starting wage, with ACA trainees earning starting salaries of between £12,000 and £30,000 per year, depending on their academic qualifications.

Alongside your contract of employment, you will sign a training agreement with your employer which details:

  • The training you will do and the support you’ll receive from your employer, including: paid tuition, study leave and mentoring.
  • Your start date – training can start at any time, but often begins in September, January or April.
  • Contract length – between three and five years, with most students qualifying in three years.
  • Timescales for your ongoing structured learning and reviews.

£30,300

median starting salary for graduates on ACA training agreements in the UK*

* Data source: High Fliers The Graduate Market in 2016

02

Who will you be working for?

There are more than 3,300 ICAEW authorised training employers (ATEs) around the world and across business sectors.

ATEs are not just accountancy firms, but businesses of all types and sizes, as well as organisations operating in the not-for-profit sector.

Each ATE must meet strict ICAEW standards to provide ACA training, including having a ‘qualified person responsible for training’ (QPRT), who is likely to be your mentor.

Already working in a finance role?

If you are working within a relevant industry, but at a company which isn’t an ATE, you can nominate someone within your company to become an Authorised Training Principal (ATP). 

ATPs support ACA trainees by providing ethics, professional scepticism and development training. The ATP scheme is available worldwide and is a great option if your organisation does not want to become an ATE.

For someone to become an ATP they must be a member of ICAEW or a full member of ACCA, CIMA, CIPFA, ICAS or CAI (or international equivalent), and hold a senior position.

Find out more

03

Applying for a training agreement

To secure a training agreement you will need to apply directly to an ICAEW authorised training employer for a position or with a registered authorised training principal.

You will find a comprehensive list of ATE training opportunities, placements and internships via our Training Vacancies website, where you can sign up to receive alerts when new vacancies are posted.

Application processes vary, but typically you can expect to complete an online application form and submit a CV. You may be asked to complete some numeracy and aptitude tests and attend an assessment centre before being selected for an interview. 

Employers will expect at least one of the following

  • ICAEW Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business.
  • AAT training up to level four. 
  • At least two A levels and three GCSE passes, or their equivalents. Suitable grades at International Baccalaureate or equivalent school-leaving qualifications are also accepted.
Information on equivalent qualifications is available from: UK NARICUCAS or the International Baccalaureate website. 
  • Most employers prefer a minimum UCAS tariff score of 280 or above (or international equivalents), covering both AS and A2 levels (many employers won’t accept General Studies when calculating scores).
  • Graduates need to achieve good grades in a first degree. Many employers will expect a First or 2:1, although some employers will consider applications with a 2:2.

Stand out from the crowd 

The opportunity to earn a good salary while qualifying as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant makes training agreements highly sought after positions.

Don’t worry we have advice on what you can do to make your CV stand out from the competition, including tips on making the most of work experience and how to develop your business skills.

Find out more

What if I can't secure a training agreement?

To complete the ACA qualification you will need to achieve the required work experience element. However, it is possible to start your ACA journey without a training agreement as an independent student.

Find out more

04

ACA training all over the world

Traditionally our training only took place in the UK. However, there are plenty of opportunities to train around the world and in 2015 more than 24% of ACA students were based outside the UK.

If you live in one of the countries listed below you can also become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant, either through completing a training agreement or via one of our reciprocal membership agreements:

Find your ACA training agreement

Start your search for an ACA training agreement today using ICAEW's dedicated website: icaewtrainingvacancies.com. You will find a full list of training agreements on offer from our authorised training providers and you can sign up to receive alerts when new vacancies are posted.

Start your search

Who you could work for

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