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ACA training in China

If you are based in China you can qualify as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant as a university graduate. Many students start their journey by studying the ICAEW Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (ICAEW CFAB), before going on to complete the ACA qualification. There is also a special accelerated route for members of the Chinese Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CICPA).

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Who are we?

ICAEW is the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Founded in 1880, we support more than 150,000 ICAEW Chartered Accountants in 155 countries. Our members have successfully completed our qualification, the ACA.

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The ACA qualification

The ACA equips you with in-depth knowledge across finance, accountancy and business and is recognised by employers around the world. Our members hold influential positions  across the globe.

Find out more about ACA  

ICAEW Certificate in Finance Accounting and Business progression to the ACA qualification


ICAEW CFAB is a globally-recognised qualification in finance, accounting and business. It is open to everyone and can be studied independently or via a tuition provider.

It is formed of six exam modules covering topics including assurance, law and tax. The exams can be completed in any order and are assessed via computer-based assessment at a local exam-centres. As you pass each module, ICAEW will send you a certificate of achievement.

ICAEW CFAB can be achieved in 12 months. Upon completion, you will receive your ICAEW CFAB qualification certificate.

Read more about ICAEW CFAB

First steps to qualifying as a chartered accountant

The six exam modules which form ICAEW CFAB are also the Certificate Level exams of the ACA qualification.

After completing ICAEW CFAB you can register to study the ACA and complete the remaining nine ACA exams and additional ACA requirements to qualify as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.

There are a number of entry routes to the ACA programme, ICAEW CFAB being a popular choice, and while the minimum academic entry requirement is two A-levels, or the international equivalent, you don’t need a background in business or finance.

Registration process

You must register with ICAEW to study for the ACA qualification in China.

If you are a CICPA member you will need to apply for all relevant credits for prior learning (exam exemptions) when you are registering.

Costs of studying the ACA

There are a number of fees associated with completing the ACA and qualifying as a ICAEW Chartered Accountant.

Read a breakdown of the costs 

ICAEW-CICPA working together

ICAEW-CICPA joint programme

The joint programme between ICAEW and the Chinese Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CICPA) is the only agreement to be reached with a professional accountancy body outside of the People’s Republic of China.

This accelerated study route to ICAEW membership is available to CICPA members (see below) who have obtained membership by complying with its training and examinations requirements.

Studying the ACA and then CICPA

For individuals who are not members of CICPA the full ACA programme is available (see below), this will then provide you with a faster route to completing the CICPA. Once you have gained the ACA qualification, you claim for credits to two out of the seven CICPA exams.

It’s worth remembering that you are required to have the right qualifications from the CICPA to sign off audits in China. So depending on your career plans and aspirations you might need to complete the CICPA too.

How is the ACA structured?

CICPA members

For CICPA members, the ACA from ICAEW is a combination of exams and ethics training. As a CICPA member, your training and professional experience entitles you to credits for prior learning for 10 of the 15 ACA modules.

You will need to successfully complete the following exams:

  • Financial Management
  • Business Planning
  • Strategic Business Management 
  • Corporate Reporting
  • Case Study

You will also receive credit for 150 days of technical work experience. You will therefore need to complete 300 days of relevant technical work experience (or equivalent hours) within in a minimum of a two-year training agreement with an ICAEW authorised training employer. Companies you could end up working for in China include: Ruihua, PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG.

Non-CICPA members

Non-CICPA members will need to complete the full ACA programme. This involves four elements:

  1. exams,
  2. practical work experience,
  3. professional development and
  4. ethics and professional scepticism.

Together, these four elements give you the expertise and added-value skills that help define a chartered accountant.

You must successfully complete all four elements to complete the ACA qualification and become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.

The minimum entry requirement for the ACA programme is a bachelor's degree or equivalent from an internationally recognised university.


average annual earnings of ICAEW members in the Asia Pacific region*

* Source: ICAEW salary survey 2015

What are employers looking for?

  • A first-class or 2:1 degree in accounting and finance or similar.
  • Commitment to your career choice – if you complete your degree in the UK, employers expect you to start your journey towards chartered accountancy by studying the ICAEW Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business.
  • Excellent English in written and spoken formats and good business acumen.
  • Graduates that are bi-lingual Chinese are preferable, but not essential.
  • The majority of organisations will recruit Chinese nationals only due to visa restrictions.

More information

For more information on studying the ACA in China contact:

+86 21 5386 2028

Alternatively, if you have any questions regarding your application, the ICAEW student support team will be able to help you:

Student Support Team
+44 (0)1908 248 250
Contact us

Join us from another professional body

As a student there are exemptions available for up to 12 of the 15 ACA exams and these can be claimed by applying for Credit for Prior Learning (CPL).

As a member of another professional accountancy body, you may be eligible to join us through one of our reciprocal agreements.

Training internationally

If you want to train for the ACA in another country, you must ensure you are entitled to work in that country. It is your responsibility to understand what work visa you need and how to secure one. ICAEW cannot support you in this process, but your potential employer might be able to offer advice.