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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.

AAT-ACA newsletter


  1. Gain two professional qualifications

  2. Earn while you learn

  3. A faster route to the ACA

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

What is the AAT-ACA Fast Track?

The AAT-ACA Fast Track is a collaboration between the Association of Accounting Technicians and ICAEW. It provides those studying the AAT with credits towards the ACA, enabling them to qualify as ICAEW Chartered Accountants more quickly than they may have been able to otherwise.

There are a range of AAT courses available offering you the opportunity to study full time in college or work and study at the same time.

Once you have completed your AAT qualification, you can then claim credits for:


How is the AAT-ACA Fast Track structured?

Before you can start the ACA, you must first qualify as an AAT member. To fast track onto the ACA you must have completed AAT level four:

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

You will begin studying the Professional Level modules of the ACA qualification. You can now apply for credits for prior learning and work experience where relevant. 

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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