ICAEW stands for The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Established in 1880, we are a world leader of the accountancy and finance profession, supporting over 145,000 chartered accountants globally. We provide qualifications and professional development, share knowledge, insight and technical expertise and protect the quality and integrity of the accountancy and finance profession. Our standards are high, meaning ICAEW Chartered Accountants are always in demand.
Step into the boardroom of any FTSE 100 company, and you’ll more than likely meet one of our chartered accountants. That’s because our qualification is a strong foundation for leadership. Whether the sector is private, public or not-for-profit, you’ll gain a unique insight into how organisations work.
ICAEW’s globally recognised chartered accountancy qualification, the ACA, can lead you to the top of your chosen career. Once you’ve achieved this, you’ll be a chartered accountant and be able to use the letters ACA after your name.
Why become a chartered accountant?
- You’ll do meaningful, important work
- You’ll have a prestigious qualification
- You’ll enjoy more opportunities
- You’ll significantly enhance your long-term prospects
- You’ll be financially well rewarded
- You’ll be able to take your skills anywhere.
How do I become chartered?
You become chartered through completing the ACA qualification, which is a combination of study, exams and practical work experience.
While it is possible to start studying for the ACA independently, we recommend entering into a training agreement with an authorised employer as soon as possible. There are more than 3,500 employers authorised to train you for the ACA qualification globally. Many are accountancy firms, but you can also train in large companies, small enterprises, charities and government bodies.
There are four elements to ACA training that you’ll need to complete:
- 450 days of practical work experience
- A structured ethics programme, focusing on integrity, objectivity and independence
- A professionally development programme which covers seven key skills
- The 15 accountancy, finance and business modules.
At ICAEW we pride ourselves on offering a high levels of support to those studying with us and throughout their career journey. Employers must meet strict standards to train ACA students, combine this with high-quality learning materials, and ACA students enjoy high pass rates and qualify quickly – with 93% qualifying in four years or less.
It might surprise you to learn that you don’t need a degree in accounting, finance or business to study for the ACA. While the subject isn’t important, you will need to have a strong academic record. Entry requirements differ between employers, but, in general they’ll be seeking at least a 2:1 and everyone who undertakes the ACA must have at least two A2 levels and three GCSE passes (or their equivalents).
As well as having a strong academic background, employers are looking for candidates who stand out from the crowd and can bring something extra to their organisation. Among other things, you’ll need to show a genuine interest in, and commitment to, your chosen career path.
Employers will look for you to demonstrate your abilities in the following areas throughout the recruitment process:
- People skills
- Team working
- Decision making and problem solving
- Commercial awareness
- IT skills
If you’re looking to get a head start, you can start to build up your skills on campus, through internships/placements.
Check out ICAEW's free online careers hub to help you understand the key skills employers are looking for.
Check to see if you're eligible for credits for prior learning here.
If you're looking for a bit of extra reading or listening, our series of skill development webinars and podcasts can be found here.