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FAQs | Your questions answered

Below are some frequently asked questions from prospective students - who are potentially looking to study with us.


Will I work for ICAEW if I study towards the ACA?

  • No. You will work for one of our Authorised Training Employers (ATEs), of which there are over 7,000 worldwide,
  • You will have a training agreement in place with your chosen ATE. They will provide the support and work experience needed to complete the ACA.
  • You can train in up to 146 countries.
  • You can also train as an independent student.

What’s the difference between ACA and other accountancy bodies?

  • The qualifications offered by accountancy bodies, differ both in terms of their content and career focus. Likewise, the level of support supplied during training varies between accountancy bodies.
  • At ICAEW, we don't only provide excellent support during your training - but this also continues throughout your entire career. 
  • Whats more, the ACA is an excellent qualification for business leadership. So, if you aspire to reach the top, taking the ACA qualification will help you get there. 
  • Pass rate – 84% of students pass our qualification first time.
  • Duration – 84% of student complete the qualification in less than four years.

What does Chartered mean?

  • Chartered sets you apart from your peers. It demonstrates your dedication, ambition and willingness to learn. As well as showing you have industry skills and practical experience.

How do I start my career as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant? Do I apply to ICAEW? 

  • You can register as a student of the ACA at your own convenience.
  • Discover the right path for you - using our 'Find your route' finder.
  • It is important to secure a training agreement first, which will improve your chances for success. Look at ICAEW Training Vacancies to see opportunities available to you.
  • As mentioned above, in answers to the first question for information regarding ATEs. 

Is the ACA the only way to become chartered?

  • Along the way to becoming chartered, you can complete ICAEW CFAB (Certificate in Finance and Business) - a stand-alone qualification, and you can also gain professional status with the ICAEW Business and Finance Professional (BFP) designation. These demonstrates that you are on track to becoming an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.

How long does it take to acquire the ACA qualification?

  • It usually takes three to five years to complete, depending on the path chosen. 84% of all ACA students qualify in four years or less (meaning fewer resits and faster career progression).

What is the ACA qualification and what does it involve? 

  • Four elements of ACA training – one of these elements is 15 exam modules.

Does ICAEW offer exemptions?

  • Yes, you can, but you need to check the ‘credits for prior learning’ advice page on our website - check if you are eligible for any of these exemptions.

How much do chartered accountants get paid? 

  • Salaries for trainee and qualified chartered accountants are extremely competitive. The average salary for a newly qualified ICAEW Chartered Accountant with 0-2 years experience is £57K.

What does an accountant actually do?

  • Chartered accountants tackle the most important challenges in business by using their skills to help companies innovate, grow, and make recommendations for future strategies. Here, Sachin talks about their role, and what it means to them – check out the video here.
  • Corporate finance, audit, tax advisory, consultancy, entrepreneurs, assurance, forensic accounting - are just some areas you can get involved in as a chartered accountant.
  • Chartered accountants are leaders, tackling the most important challenges in business. They use their skills to help companies across every sector to innovate, grow, and to create ambitious business strategies for the future.
  • The necessary skills for chartered accountants range from innovation – to drive business strategy and develop future plans; to problem solving - to unravel complexities of an organisations current situation.

Is there an age limit to do the ACA?

  • No, there's no age limit to do the ACA qualification.

Do you have to be good at maths? Or do I have to study maths or an affiliated subject to do the ACA?

  • No, you can train for the ACA with a degree in any discipline. However, competition for places on graduate schemes that offer the ACA is high, so employers will often require a minimum of a 2:1.
  • Most employers expect a minimum of a B/5 in GCSE Maths and English.
  • Our qualifications go further than others. Chartered accountants need a whole range of skills. You can start building these through work experience and insight days.

Are there any skills, in particular, I need to be an ICAEW Chartered Accountant? 

Do you offer any work experience or placements? 

  • We do not offer internships or professional placements on a wide scale. We publicise and promote the vacancies, internships, insight days of our ATEs on the ICAEW Careers social media channels and through the ICAEW Training Vacancies platform.

If you are a current student studying we have another set of comprehensive FAQs to address any queries that you may have - click here to view these.