Become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant for a career journey with limitless possibilities

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, focussing 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.

Routes to becoming an ICAEW Chartered Accountant

Straight from School

If you’re about to leave school, you may be interested to know that there is more than one route to becoming an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. You can go straight to work and start training. Alternatively, you could go to university first.  

The options don’t end there either. If you want to start work straight away, you can chose from a Higher Apprenticeship, a school leaver programme, or AAT. Likewise, if you want to go to university, you can do a degree followed by the ACA qualification, or combine both through and employer-affiliated degree.

It might surprise you to learn that you don’t need Maths as one of your a-levels. That’s not to say academics aren’t important. Entry requirements will vary depending on the employer and the programme you are following. Generally, employers will look for a minimum of a B in GCSE Maths and English and 280+ UCAS points at A-levels (or their equivalents).

For all entry routes, you will need to apply directly to an employer. As well as having a strong academic background, they will be 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.

Skills that employers look for include:

  • People skills
  • Team working
  • Decision making and problem solving
  • Professionalism
  • Commercial awareness
  • IT skills

It’s important that you choose the right route for you, find out more about all of the different entry routes and choose the one for you at icaew.com/careers.

If you are ready to start your journey as a school leaver, visit  ICAEW Training Vacancies [AH3] to find a school leaver programme to suit you.



Remember to mention TARGETcareers when contacting employers!

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