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Support for university advisers

Qualifying as a chartered accountant opens up a world of opportunities and many career pathways for graduates. ICAEW works with university staff to provide students with the best advice and information on how to secure a rewarding job in the finance sector.


ICAEW and the ACA qualification

Founded in 1880, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) is a professional body with more than 145,000 members in 155 countries.

ICAEW runs the globally recognised ACA qualification, enabling those interested in a career in finance to become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.

To qualify students must undertake at least three years' on-the-job training alongside passing a series of rigorous exams.

This means that ICAEW Chartered Accountants are highly sought after and command higher salaries than those with other accountancy qualifications.


Graduate routes to the ACA

There are a number of different ways in which university students can complete the ACA qualification and become ICAEW Chartered Accountants, both during their studies and after they've completed their degree.

There is no requirement to have studied a finance-related undergraduate degree as employers are recruiting students from a variety of backgrounds.

In 2015 more than 16% of ACA students has studied an Arts subject at degree level before starting their accountancy training (see below).

Who can do our qualification?

Your students don’t need a degree in accounting, finance or business to study for the ACA. This diagram shows a breakdown of what ACA students have studied, most are from a non-accountancy backgrounds. Many employers actively seek diversity in their recruitment, so having a non-accountancy degree is welcomed.



ICAEW’s student recruitment team support events introducing students to a career in accountancy throughout the year at universities all over the world. 

Business games

Designed to emulate tasks that students may face during assessment centres, these events test their analytical skills and business knowledge. Teams of students are put in the shoes of an ICAEW Chartered Accountant for the day and tasked with identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats posed to a fictional company making business recommendations via a presentation at the end of the session.

Employability workshops

These workshops are focused on helping students to create engaging CVs and on interview preparation. Students are shown how to demonstrate to employers they have the skills needed using examples from their day-to-day lives. In particular, the workshops focus on showcasing: communication and teamwork skills; commercial awareness; integrity; and resilience.

Careers fairs

ICAEW attends careers fairs on campus to talk to students about what a career in finance looks like. Often we are supported by ICAEW members who share their experiences of a career in chartered accountancy with students.

Speed networking

These events enable your students to meet and mingle with professionals from the accountancy, finance and business world. Alongside hearing the real-world experiences of chartered accountants, these events provide students opportunities to make links with potential employers.

Commercial awareness sessions

Employers are looking for commercially savvy employees and these events give students an opportunity to consider their current awareness and how to develop it. The sessions are designed to boost students’ ability to analyse situations from a business perspective and recognise what makes an organisation successful. 

Become an ICAEW partner in learning

Further and higher education institutes can become official ICAEW Partners in Learning (PiL) and offer programmes that incorporate ICAEW qualifications, such as modules from the ACA. 

This can enable universities to offer degree courses that provide credits towards studying the ACA, helping their students to work towards a professional qualification during their academic studies.

ICAEW PiL benefit from a suite of resources to assist them in providing tuition for ICAEW qualifications.

Find out more

ICAEW University Student Scheme

The University Student Scheme (USS) offers students the opportunity to develop key employability skills, the option to begin working towards the ACA, as well as access to resources to help them with their studies.

Members of the USS benefit from access to: a Microsoft Excel training programme; careers advice and accountancy job alerts, as well as the option to study ICAEW’s Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business, which is made up of the first six modules of the ACA.

Your students can register for the scheme individually or you can contact ICAEW to discuss registering a group of your students.

Find out more


How we can help you

Free resources 

We have a range of free online resources to support your students develop key skills, including:

Personal finance guides

Boosting their appeal

Careers adviser newsletter

ICAEW Careers Advisers’ Day

Keep up to date with what employers are looking for from graduate applications at ICAEW’s Annual Careers Advisers’ Day.

Every year ICAEW brings together representatives from businesses, accountancy firms and non-for-profit organisations to share their insights with careers advisers and university tutors.

The day-long event also offers opportunities to network with peers and employers, as well as speak to ICAEW’s student recruitment team on how they can help you.

Find out more


Delivered by a member of ICAEW’s student recruitment team, the content of these presentations is flexible and can cover any of the following: information on ICAEW; descriptions of our qualifications; insights into ACA training; and top tips for securing a training agreement. The presentations run for 30 minutes to an hour, including questions.
Panel presentations

If your students are looking for more information on the ACA qualification and a career in accountancy, these events are designed to answer all of their questions. Representatives from ICAEW present alongside other professional membership bodies; offering students the opportunity to hear about a number of potential training options. At the end of the presentations a Q&A session is held, enabling students to find out more information on specific qualifications they are interested in.

The first three months of ACA training

Developed with research findings from our authorised training employers these sessions will help your students transition to the workplace effectively by providing a good understanding of what will expected of them when they start ACA training.  These sessions bring to life what it is like to enter into a graduate training programme that requires students to complete a professional qualification.

Practical advice is offered on how to approach workplace scenarios, many of which students might not have faced before such as maintaining a work-life balance while also integrating as part of the organisation. Students will also be made aware of the support networks that are available to them throughout their ACA training.

Check out our events

Get in touch with the student support team to organise an event at your university.

Contact us

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