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FAQs | Your questions answered

Below are some frequently asked questions that we have been asked 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 6,000 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 23 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 you’ll receive during training varies between accountancy bodies.
  • At ICAEW, we don’t just provide excellent support during your training, but throughout your entire career. 
  • What’s more, the ACA is an excellent qualification for business leadership; so if you aspire to reach the top, our qualification will help you get there. 
  • Pass rate – 80% of students pass our qualification first time,
  • Duration – 90% of student complete the qualification in less than four years.

What does Chartered mean?

  • 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,
  • It is important that you 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 in answers to the first question for information regarding ATE's.

Is the ACA the only way to become chartered?

  • Along the way to becoming chartered, you can complete ICAEW CFAB, which is a stand-alone qualification, and gain professional status with the ICAEW Business and Finance Professional (BFP) designation. These will demonstrate that you’re on track to become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.

How long does it take to acquire the ACA qualification?

  • It usually takes 3-5 years to complete, depending on the route you take – 90% of all ACA students qualify in 4 years or less (meaning fewer resits and faster career progression)

How many exams do I have to complete in order to become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant?

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

If I’ve completed a few exams with an alternative membership body, can I claim them as accreditations for the ACA?

  • Yes you can, but you need to check our ‘credits for prior learning’ advice page on our website to check to see whether you’re eligible to do this.

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 £51K

What does an accountant actually do?

  • Corporate finance, audit, tax advisory, consultancy, entrepreneurs, assurance, forensic accounting - are just some of the 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 strategies for the future
  • The necessary skills for chartered accountants range from innovation – to drive business strategy and develop future plans, to problem solving - in order to be able to unravel complexities of a company’s current situation 

Is there an age limit to do the ACA?

  • No there isn’t.

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 will expect a minimum of a B/5 in GCSE Maths and English.
  • Goes further than qualifications, chartered accountants need a whole range of skills. Start building these through work experience and insight days.

Do you offer internships or professional placements

  • Refer to the first question – We don’t offer internships or professional placements on a wide scale. We publicise and promote the vacancies, internships, insight days of our ATEs on our social media channels and ICAEW Training Vacancies.

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.