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Frequently asked

Frequently asked

Is the ACA a Chartered Accountant qualification?

Yes, the ICAEW ACA is a globally recognised chartered accountant qualification. Upon completion of the ACA programme, you will attain the ICAEW Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA) designation.

Why should I choose ICAEW?

The ICAEW is a world leading professional organisation that offers globally recognised qualifications for aspiring accountancy, business and finance professionals. With ICAEW, you will receive support and training along your journey and gain access to a wide network of fellow chartered accountants globally as an ICAEW member. 

ICAEW is a part of the Chartered Accountants Worldwide network and has reciprocal agreements with over 20 other accountancy bodies around the world, placing you in good stead wherever you choose to work.

Is there a time limit for me to complete the ACA and CFAB programmes?

At ICAEW, you have the flexibility to complete the ACA and CFAB at your own pace. There is no time limit imposed in which to complete the programme, but you may only sit for the exams for the maximum number of attempts, depending on the module. If your employer has signed a training agreement with you or is financially contributing to your ICAEW CFAB studies, they may choose to allow you fewer attempts and may require you to complete ICAEW CFAB within a set time. This would be up to each employer to decide.

Does the syllabus change often?

Yes, the syllabus is updated every year. This ensures that the ACA contains the latest technical content, laws and regulations.

How do I attain the ACA?

There are four essential elements of the ACA qualification that need to be successfully completed to be eligible for ICAEW membership. These are: the 15 examinations, practical work experience (PWE), professional development ladders (PD) and ethics and professional scepticism (ELP).

In addition, students must complete a training agreement for a minimum of three years and undergo regular appraisal/ progress reviews during that time with your employer. When you have completed these elements on your training file and your employer has completed the final sign off, you will be invited to ICAEW membership after your training records have been processed.

What is the difference between ICAEW CFAB and the ACA?

The ICAEW CFAB is the same syllabus content as the first six modules of our world-leading chartered accountancy qualification, the ACA. You can study ICAEW CFAB as a stand-alone qualification or as a possible stepping stone to the ACA qualification. Once you have passed the six ICAEW CFAB exam modules, you gain the ICAEW CFAB qualification certificate. This does not entitle you to ICAEW membership or confer any membership rights or allow you to refer to yourself as a chartered accountant.

To achieve the ACA qualification you need to be employed by an organisation that is an ICAEW authorised training employer. Your employer will provide an ACA training agreement and you will be required to pass the remaining ACA exams as well as complete the work experience and soft skills development requirements. Once you have passed all the required elements of the ACA and completed the ACA training agreement, you will be eligible to apply for ICAEW membership. Membership allows you to use the ACA designatory letters and to refer to yourself as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.

Do I need to complete the ICAEW CFAB to achieve the ACA?

The ICAEW CFAB is a stand-alone certificate-level qualification. It consists of the same six exam modules as the first level of our world-leading chartered accountancy qualification, the ACA. 

This means that ICAEW CFAB can be a stepping stone on your journey towards gaining the ACA qualification. You can register as a ACA student directly to complete the ACA programme.

Why should I sign up for CFAB if I am not an accountancy student?

Having a good understanding of finance, accounting and business are key skills that many employers will demand for any role and in any organisation. Showing an employer that you have some of these skills and knowledge can help you get ahead in the job market.

The CFAB also serves as an entry route to chartered accountancy or as a stand-alone qualification. You gain a certificate for every module you sit and pass.

Is there an order to which the CFAB modules need to be completed?

The CFAB modules can be completed in any order, at any time of the year. It is assessed via computer-based assessments at local examination centres. Contact your local ICAEW representative to find a exam centre near you.

What if my company is not an Authorised Training Employer (ATE)?

It is strongly recommended to have your employer register as an ATE to clock your practical work experience. Contact your nearest ICAEW representative to find out how to do so.

Can I qualify for exemptions if I am a member or student of other professional accountancy bodies?

Professionally qualified students or members are encouraged to refer to the CPL directory to check for exemptions. If you are already qualified with another accountancy body, please contact your local ICAEW representative to find out if you are eligible for ICAEW membership via Pathway.

Can I take the ACA/ CFAB exams while pursuing my degree?

Yes, undergraduates are recommended to frontload – which is to take ICAEW exams while pursuing your university degree. It not only benefits you by refreshing and emphasising the concepts from ICAEW learning materials to aid in your university exams, it will also ease your schedule when you work in an ATE through a training agreement.

How do I apply for the Business and Finance Professional (BFP) designation?

Upon completion of the CFAB programme, you will need to clock 12 months’ full-time work experience in a business/ finance role and have completed the ICAEW Ethics Learning Programme before you can apply for the BFP.

Can I qualify for BFP if I am not an accountancy or business student?

Yes you can. Whether you’re new to ICAEW or have completed one of our qualifications, you can start your journey towards becoming a BFP at any point. You can be any of the following:

    • ICAEW CFAB student or holder or eligible for exemptions through your degree
    • Current or former ACA student
    • An ICAEW member
I have completed similar modules in school previously, can I qualify for exemptions?

Exemptions, or credit for prior learning (CPL) may be applicable. Check whether you are eligible for CPL via the ICAEW CPL Directory: https://apps.icaew.com/cpldirectory

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