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How to join the Institute of Chartered Accountants

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) supports many thousands of accountants across the world. Members have access to many information resources, local networks and can use the ACA designation. You can join the ICAEW either as a graduate or as a member of another recognised accounting body. This article provides a guide to joining the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

The ACA qualification

The ICAEW awards the title of Associate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ACA). This qualification is recognised across the world as a prestigious qualification for chartered accountants. To obtain the title of ACA, students must pass a series of technical examinations and work either in an accountancy firm or in a recognised financial organisation for a minimum of 450 days.

Joining ICAEW as a graduate

Graduates from UK who wish to train for the ACA qualification must first enter into a training agreement with an ICAEW training employer. Graduates do not need to have an accounting or financial qualification to start training. However, those who have passed certain accountancy examinations at University may be granted exemptions from the ICAEW exams.

Joining as a member of another body

Qualified members of other accounting bodies may apply to join the Institute. The ICAEW has mutual recognition agreements with Institutes of Chartered Accountants in other countries such as Australia, Canada and India. Accountants within the European Union can take advantage of reciprocal arrangements under EU law. Association of Accounting Technicians
Members of the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) can join the ICAEW through a fast-track programme. The ICAEW gives exemptions for those who have passed previous exams and AAT members can count their prior work experience in accounting firms towards the ACA work experience requirements. Chartered Institute of Management Accountants Members of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) who have been qualified for five years may apply to join the ICAEW. The Pathways to Membership scheme requires applicants to pass an examination of experience based on their knowledge and professional experience to date.

Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland (ICAS) is a separate body from ICAEW. It also awards the ACA to individuals who complete a training contract with a recognised employer and pass the relevant examinations. ICAEW and ICA recognise each other’s ACA qualifications.

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