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Support for parents

Qualifying as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant offers access to a highly rewarding career that includes a variety of roles working within business and the not-for-profit sector, as well as for accountancy firms. If your child has questions about what a career in chartered accountancy could offer them, ICAEW can help you provide the answers.


Why chartered accountancy?

The chartered accountancy profession is highly respected and at the heart of the global economy. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) was founded in 1880 and now has more than 145,000 members all over the world.

ICAEW Chartered Accountants hold influential positions on the boards of multinational companies; advising governments; testifying in court; and supporting businesses and charities. 

While anyone can call themselves an accountant, the title “chartered accountant” is restricted to those that have completed ICAEW’s ACA qualification, which involves at least three years on-the-job training coupled with the completion of 15 technical exams.

Every successful business requires financial experts to help guide them and the rigorousness of the ACA qualification means that ICAEW Chartered Accountants are sought after, with 80% of FTSE100 companies boasting at least one on their board.

Career prospects are vast and plentiful for those that complete the ACA. Many ICAEW Chartered Accountants work in accountancy practices providing: audit and assurance services; advice on tax and insolvency; and expert evidence for legal proceedings.

Others, meanwhile, work within companies, charities and public sector organisations managing finances and shaping how budgets are spent. 

Our ACA students’ parents share why they’re proud of their child’s achievements

Each year we celebrate the success of our top ACA students who have scored the highest marks in a range of different exam modules. This year we spoke to parents about what the ACA meant to them.


What is the ACA qualification?

The ACA is a professional qualification that is recognised all over the world. It takes between three and five years to complete and is made up of four elements.

The first is the successful completion of 15 exam modules that provide in-depth financial and business knowledge. 

Alongside their exams, ACA students complete 450 days paid work experience at an ICAEW authorised training employer where a qualified person is responsible for the students’ progress and development.

The third requirement of the ACA is for students to demonstrate professional development against seven key skill sets, including problem solving, decision making and communication.

Finally, every ACA trainee must show an increasingly sophisticated grasp of professional scepticism and ethical issues throughout their training.

Find out more


Entry requirements

Employers recruit ACA students from a diverse range of backgrounds; students can train straight from school, college or after university. There is no need to study finance or maths at A Level to start ACA training.

Potential ACA students should, however, be comfortable with numbers and have strong communication skills. A career in accountancy is about interpreting numbers, understanding their impact on an organisation and making financial information understandable for non-financial people.

ICAEW offers a number of different routes that enable students to start their training straight from school, via school-leaver programmes and higher apprenticeships, or after they have graduated from university.

Entry requirements for ACA training programmes vary according to the route and the individual employer’s needs.

Find your route

School and college leaver routes to the ACA

The basic requirement to start studying the ACA qualification straight from school or college is GCSEs in English and Maths at grade A*-C and two A levels (or the international equivalent).

Routes available include:

Graduate routes to the ACA

University students wanting to pursue a career in chartered accountancy after they graduate, should achieve a 2:1 in their degree to secure an ACA training agreement.

For those already studying at university there are a number of different routes to the ACA and there is no requirement to have studied a finance-related undergraduate degree.

Routes available include:


Student support

ICAEW offers support from the first day that students begin their ACA studies through to becoming a full ICAEW member and beyond.

Once your child has decided on their route to chartered accountancy and is registered as an ACA student a number of resources will be made available to them, including: webinars, exam support, online communities and the ICAEW’s library resources.

Furthermore, the ICAEW has a dedicated student support team to help those studying the ACA that is available over the phone, via email or on web chat.

ICAEW works with a number schools, colleges and universities to run events, offering advice on a career in accountancy and finance.

We also organise the annual BASE competition for school and college students. The competition allows them to showcase their business skills against other teams from across the UK and win a cash prize and a day’s employability skills workshop for their school.

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