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From AAT to the ACA

ICAEW has teamed up with the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) to provide a route that allows people to gain the AAT qualification and to progress onto the ACA via a faster route.

Looking for a role to study your AAT-ACA? Find roles from employers around the UK. 
AAT-ACA training roles

Are you at Level 3 or Level 4 AAT or AAT-qualified? Then the Fast Track route to the ACA is the right choice for you.

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  1. Gain two professional qualifications

  2. Get started with a career in accountancy

  3. A stepping stone to ICAEW

At a glance

  • Prices vary


    Employers will often cover the cost of training

  • Calendar

    Four years

  • Key

    No formal academic entry requirements

Study options

  • Clock

    Full-time at college

  • Notebook

    Part-time while in full-time employment

From AAT to the ACA

Whilst you can start the ACA straight after school or university, some people choose to first complete the AAT before moving onto ICAEW and chartered accountancy.

So, what does that route look like?

Step 1 – AAT Level 3 Diploma in Accounting

During your first year of studying you will cover in-depth financial processes, such as final accounts for sole-traders, costs and revenues and professional ethics.

Step 2 – AAT Level 4 Diploma in Accounting

This is a good time to start your work experience with an ICAEW authorised training employer (ATE), although you can continue to study full time. Any work experience you do complete will count towards your ACA qualification. When you have secured your training agreement you will have to register as an ACA student.

You will complete four compulsory AAT units at this stage, which will enable you to apply for credit for prior learning for the following ACA Certificate Level modules:

  • Accounting
  • Business, Technology and Finance
  • Management Information

There are also two optional modules, which may enable you to apply for credits towards the ACA:

Assurance – you will need to have completed External Auditing to be able to apply for credit for this module.

Principles of taxation – you will need to complete both Personal and Business Tax to be eligible to apply for credit for this module.

Step 3 – Begin the ACA

Once you have completed the AAT Level 4 qualification, you may be eligible for the Fast Track route.

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The route will allow you to use your AAT qualification as a stepping stone to the ACA – fewer exams and a shorter training time.

Step 4 – Complete your qualification!

In your final year, you will complete the Advanced Level modules of the ACA and qualify as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.

Next steps

  1. Check you eligibility for exam credits on our credit for prior learning directory.
  2. Enter at the right AAT level based on your previous qualifications.
  3. Secure a training placement with an ICAEW authorised
    training employer.

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AAT-ACA student experiences

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