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Abbie, HMRC

After my A- Levels I went straight into the workplace with HM Revenue and Customs where I successfully completed the ACA.

Find out more

What is the ACA qualification?

The ACA is a world leading professional qualification from ICAEW. Because chartered accountants are vital to the success of any business, it is important that they have the right qualification.

To become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant, you must complete the ACA qualification and be accepted as an ICAEW member. You can then use the professional designation ACA (or FCA if you've been a member for over 10 years).

The ACA qualification is one of the most advanced learning and professional development programmes available. It has integrated components which give you in-depth understanding across accountancy, finance and business. Combined they help build the technical knowledge, professional skills and practical experience needed to become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.

We constantly update the ACA qualification, ensuring it maintains the standards the world expects from an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. We are committed to helping you at every step, and make sure that you, your employer and your tutors are confident that you have the most up-to-date and relevant knowledge, skills and experience.

How it works

To have a successful career as a chartered accountant you need the right mixture of knowledge, skills and work experience. It will take between three and five years to complete the integrated components of the ACA qualification and qualify as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.

Training for the ACA qualification is done on-the-job. You’ll complete all components, which are detailed in an ACA training agreement, all while earning a competitive salary. To ensure ACA students receive the highest quality and standard of training possible, they can only train with employers who have been accredited by ICAEW. Alternatively, if you do not have a training contract straight away you may choose to study for the ACA as an independent student.

How to find an authorised training employer (ATE)

To complete the ACA, you need to be employed by an ICAEW Authorised Training Employer (ATE). If your employer is not authorised by ICAEW, you can find out how they can get authorised so that you can start your ACA training and register your professional work experience towards qualifying by visiting our corporate website. The process is simple and we will help your employer along the way.

If you’re looking for an employer to train with go to our Training Vacancies website and search the employers who are looking to recruit.

The training agreement

The training agreement outlines the 450 days of on-the-job training you'll complete, plus the support you receive from your employer including paid tuition, study leave and mentoring. Its purpose is to ensure that you receive the highest quality and standard of training possible. It's different to your employment contract as it only details you and your employers’ commitment to ACA training.

The ACA training framework integrates knowledge, skills and experience, which ensures a stronger relationship between you, your employer, ICAEW and your training provider.

Your training agreement will outline

  • the length of the agreement
  • the employer's commitment to pay for study costs
  • the employer's commitment to any paid study leave
  • the employer's agreement to give you six monthly reviews
  • your agreement to fully commit to the ACA training
  • your agreement to make every effort to pass exams
  • your agreement to complete all elements of the training
  • the employer's agreement to pay you a salary