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(Original post by soko7)
Hi Louise,

I'm in a similar situation as a previous member. I did well imho at A Level (340 UCAS points) but then achieved a 2:2 in Clinical Sciences (so no experience in the financial field). My long term goal is to become a chartered accountant but I need to get my first step on the ladder. I know it will be extremely difficult if not impossible to get a place with a training provider. So I'd like to ask you:
1. Which kind of work experience do you recommend I should look for?
2. Should I look to do the AAT or CFAB?
2i. Am I over-qualified to study the AAT and possibly exempt from the fast-track route as I have a degree?
2ii. What kind of work will I be qualified to do with the CFAB and how do employers regard it?

Thanks in advance
I think some people are rather misunderstanding the point of this post. It's to ask questions about the ACA qualification, not to enquire about general careers advise!

However, I would say the following;

1. Which kind of work experience do you recommend I should look for?
Any experience is better than no experience, so don't limit yourself to solely looking for accounting experience. Ideally you'd want an internship with an accountancy practice, but plenty of people make the transition with no 'relevant' experience (e.g. roles outside finance in industry), but few make it without any decent experience. I had no accountancy experience prior to starting on a training contract, and I'm not unusual in that regard.

2. Should I look to do the AAT or CFAB?
CFAB is the first 6 papers of the ACA (there are 15 in total). I'd advise CFAB over AAT, as you'll have proven you're already capable of passing sections of the ACA. It's also not that expensive and perfectly possible to pass with a bit of hard work.

2i. Am I over-qualified to study the AAT and possibly exempt from the fast-track route as I have a degree?
There are firms that accept a 2.2. There's a job search facility on the ACA website that'll let you find those that accept a 2.2. Are you fussy as to which area of accountancy you want to qualify in? If not I'd focus on Audit and Tax as those areas tend to take the largest graduate intake.

2ii. What kind of work will I be qualified to do with the CFAB and how do employers regard it?
You're not qualified to do anything extra with CFAB, it's value is that it'll give you basic knowledge of Accountancy, Assurance, Tax, Management Information, Law and Business Finance and demonstrate your aptitude to sit the full ACA.
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Optimisticgal
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Hi Louise,

I am on my third year now studying Accounting & Finance. My future plan is to hopefully get an ACA qualification then do MBA. However, I am still a bit confused about ACA qualification, in that, when we do our ACA training do we have to choose one specific area to be trained or is it a general qualification whereby we specialize once we are qualified?

Also my second year results weren't as good as I was hoping for however my third year results, so far, have been very good. Do you know if the employers look into individual modules marks or are they more interested in the final overall marks? Also I don't have any work experiences in related field, will this impede my chances to get ACA training contract? Thank you in advance.
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hsv
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Hello Louise, do you know why some training providers only offer the CFAB as a distance learning option? Do ACA have Silver, Gold and Platinum graded providers like ACCA do? Are there any plans to offer pre CFAB level qualifications like ACCA ave done with their foundation qualifications? Is it true most ACA holders work in public practice (big 4 etc) accounting rather than other types of accounting?
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ICAEW Advisor Helen
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#24
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#24
(Original post by soko7)
Hi Louise,

I'm in a similar situation as a previous member. I did well imho at A Level (340 UCAS points) but then achieved a 2:2 in Clinical Sciences (so no experience in the financial field). My long term goal is to become a chartered accountant but I need to get my first step on the ladder. I know it will be extremely difficult if not impossible to get a place with a training provider. So I'd like to ask you:
1. Which kind of work experience do you recommend I should look for?
2. Should I look to do the AAT or CFAB?
2i. Am I over-qualified to study the AAT and possibly exempt from the fast-track route as I have a degree?
2ii. What kind of work will I be qualified to do with the CFAB and how do employers regard it?

Thanks in advance
Hi Soko

Thanks for your query - sorry it's taken a while to reply! While I cannot give you specific advice in terms of the route you should take, I can outline what each option might involve, and then you can choose what's best for your career:

I would firstly say that it is not impossible to get an ACA training contract with a 2:2 and you don't need to have a relevant degree! Outside the larger employers, smaller to medium employers and regional firms are very happy to take on those with a 2:2. You do need to do your research on firms, however, and you can also visit ICAEW's careers website and Training Vacancies to find them.

CFAB would give you a great headstart into chartered accountancy and it is also the first level of the ACA qualification. If you are currently working, you can study it distance learning, as all modules are online so it is completely flexible. It would be regarded highly by employers as it would show you have the motivation to self study and achieve your goal.

AAT is also a great starting place - you can study this as an apprenticeship route, while working or as a full time qualification - and it also provides a route to the ACA - see our website for details of the AAT-ACA fast track in terms of the content of the AAT - you may find CFAB more appropriate in terms of your level of qualification, but it's your choice.

Any work experience is relevant, whether part time, voluntary, internship or placement. All you need to ensure is that you are able to tell employers how you meet their competencies.

Hope this helps! Louise
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ICAEW Advisor Helen
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#25
(Original post by Optimisticgal)
Hi Louise,

I am on my third year now studying Accounting & Finance. My future plan is to hopefully get an ACA qualification then do MBA. However, I am still a bit confused about ACA qualification, in that, when we do our ACA training do we have to choose one specific area to be trained or is it a general qualification whereby we specialize once we are qualified?

Also my second year results weren't as good as I was hoping for however my third year results, so far, have been very good. Do you know if the employers look into individual modules marks or are they more interested in the final overall marks? Also I don't have any work experiences in related field, will this impede my chances to get ACA training contract? Thank you in advance.
Hi there Optimisticgal

Good questions here!

Studying for the ACA is done on the job, so you are working and training for a professional qualification. The academic side of the ACA is designed to give you a broad, but in-depth level of knowledge, so it covers subjects from accounting to law at CFAB level and business strategy and strategic business management at the more advanced level. Your on-the-job training as part of the ACA must relate to one or more of the following: Accounting, Financial Management, Insolvency, Information Technology, Taxation, Audit/Assurance.

As the ACA training agreement is conducted while you are employed, your employer will decide where you will be working, so it is up to you at interview stage to find out the rotations you will be placed on and this varies from employer to employer. Once you are qualified as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant, you could choose to specialise, say, in Taxation or Insolvency, or you could choose a more generalist career path. So, you could say that the ACA gives you a broad foundation where you could springboard into a specialist role or a generalist role.

Employers do not look at individual module marks, they will look at your degree classification and UCAS points as their main entry criteria. You also do not need to have specific work experience in a related field, but you need to think about how any work experience or extra curricular activities match an employer's competencies and there are lots of websites, including ICAEW careers site that can help you do this.

Good luck! Louise
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ICAEW Advisor Helen
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#26
(Original post by hsv)
Hello Louise, do you know why some training providers only offer the CFAB as a distance learning option? Do ACA have Silver, Gold and Platinum graded providers like ACCA do? Are there any plans to offer pre CFAB level qualifications like ACCA ave done with their foundation qualifications? Is it true most ACA holders work in public practice (big 4 etc) accounting rather than other types of accounting?
Hi hsv

Some training providers will offer CFAB as distance learning only as that will be best for their business, and they feel that this is most popular with students!

As far as I am aware ICAEW does not operate a tiered system of training providers.

ICAEW is always researching ways of encouraging students into chartered accoutancy, and we are currently working closely with PwC on Higher Apprenticeship routes. Key an eye out on our corporate website and careers website for any developments.

It is true that the majority of ACA students TRAIN in public practice, however, the majority of ICAEW Chartered Accountants (ie, those that are ACA qualified) work outside public practice in business, public sector, financial institutions, start their own practices, etc.

Hope this helps. Louise
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Optimisticgal
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#27
(Original post by ICAEW Advisor Louise)
Hi there Optimisticgal

Good questions here!

Studying for the ACA is done on the job, so you are working and training for a professional qualification. The academic side of the ACA is designed to give you a broad, but in-depth level of knowledge, so it covers subjects from accounting to law at CFAB level and business strategy and strategic business management at the more advanced level. Your on-the-job training as part of the ACA must relate to one or more of the following: Accounting, Financial Management, Insolvency, Information Technology, Taxation, Audit/Assurance.

As the ACA training agreement is conducted while you are employed, your employer will decide where you will be working, so it is up to you at interview stage to find out the rotations you will be placed on and this varies from employer to employer. Once you are qualified as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant, you could choose to specialise, say, in Taxation or Insolvency, or you could choose a more generalist career path. So, you could say that the ACA gives you a broad foundation where you could springboard into a specialist role or a generalist role.

Employers do not look at individual module marks, they will look at your degree classification and UCAS points as their main entry criteria. You also do not need to have specific work experience in a related field, but you need to think about how any work experience or extra curricular activities match an employer's competencies and there are lots of websites, including ICAEW careers site that can help you do this.

Good luck! Louise


Thank you very much for all the information Louise. Our tutor recently told us about the ICAEW exemptions we will receive upon graduation, so I was wondering if it is worth doing CFAB? Thank you
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ICAEW Advisor Helen
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#28
(Original post by Optimisticgal)
Thank you very much for all the information Louise. Our tutor recently told us about the ICAEW exemptions we will receive upon graduation, so I was wondering if it is worth doing CFAB? Thank you
Hi Optimisticgal - CFAB is definitely worth doing if you want a good grounding in accountancy, finance and business. You can study it in a variety of ways too, so it's flexible to your own circumstances. It also does not need to be studied as part of a training agreement, if you decide that the full ACA qualificaiton is not for you!

Louise
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ICAEW Advisor Helen
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#29
Hi there

Just wanted to refresh the post, and remind everyone that if you have any questions about studying the ACA qualification or working as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant, let me know with this post or send me a message.

Louise
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212575
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Hello I am a year 12 student studying biology, psychology, sociology and english literature.
-I am interested in the KPMG degree...just wondering when we apply to universities in september do I put Durham/Birmingham/Exeter down or is the entry route to KPMG independent and just do it when you get your results in year 13 summer?
-Or can I apply to Durham Birmingham and Exeter through the standard school and UCAS procedure and still be able to do the KPMG degree??
-Do I need work experience at an accountancy firm in order to do the degree?

-Amrit
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ICAEW Advisor Helen
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Hi Amrit

Great that you are thinking of the KPMG route to chartered accountancy - it's a great way of getting experience and a degree at the same time.

You apply direct for this route with KPMG and they recommend that you read up all about it via their website at kpmg.co.uk/careers and then apply using their online application form.

Just to clarify this is a programme where you split your time between university and working at KPMG's offices so the work experience element is integrated.

Good luck!

Louise
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Tactical Nuclear Penguin
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Hi there, I was wondering if you could help with a question I have!

I did a placement year at one firm and began my ACA training, but opted to apply to move to another firm in a different location to start on a graduate scheme this September (I'm in final year of Uni now).

My new firm has asked on its 'New Joiners' website for us to register for the ACA ourselves, but when I went to do so online the ACA tickbox was blanked out on the 'Choose your qualification' scheme, and it said I already have an ACA qualification in progress.

How do I update the system for a new ACA contract with my new firm? Obviously there are complications here as I want to carry over my exemptions and also register my Credit for Prior Learning for the days I worked at my placement firm to potentially reduce the length of my new ACA contract.

Hope that makes sense and thanks in advance for your help there's no rush as it only needs to be done by September but just thought I'd try and get it sorted early in case I need to contact my previous firm!
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ICAEW Advisor Helen
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#33
(Original post by Tactical Nuclear Penguin)
Hi there, I was wondering if you could help with a question I have!

I did a placement year at one firm and began my ACA training, but opted to apply to move to another firm in a different location to start on a graduate scheme this September (I'm in final year of Uni now).

My new firm has asked on its 'New Joiners' website for us to register for the ACA ourselves, but when I went to do so online the ACA tickbox was blanked out on the 'Choose your qualification' scheme, and it said I already have an ACA qualification in progress.

How do I update the system for a new ACA contract with my new firm? Obviously there are complications here as I want to carry over my exemptions and also register my Credit for Prior Learning for the days I worked at my placement firm to potentially reduce the length of my new ACA contract.

Hope that makes sense and thanks in advance for your help there's no rush as it only needs to be done by September but just thought I'd try and get it sorted early in case I need to contact my previous firm!
Hi there

You will need to contact our student support department to be guided through this process - make sure you have your student number - I think it would be best to call them, as they do receive a massive amount of emails:

01908 248250 or [email protected]

Let me know how you get on, or if you need more help.

Louise
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RG.
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(Original post by ICAEW Advisor Louise)
Hi there

My name is Louise and I work in the Student Recruitment team for ICAEW - over the next few months I will be available to answer your questions about the ACA qualification and becoming an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.

I'll also be joining in some existing threads, and pointing you in the right direction about the skills and experience you might need to give you the edge when applying for ACA training agreements.

Feel free to ask me any questions.

Louise
Hello Louise

I'm really interested in starting a career in accountancy.
I spoke to lots of people at the careers fair at the university (ACCA, CIMA, ICAEW) and living in wales, and wanting to stay in wales, I found the ICAEW very helpful, but I still have a question:

How do you secure a training contract?

I would love to work for a small - medium size firm, where I meet a lot of the staff and get a feel for a wide range of responsibilities, which I was told would be better in a small - medium firm, as opposed to being in a sea of faces at one of the big 4.

I have the relevant academic qualifications (360 UCAS points, on track for a first) and am hopefully going to have some work experience through the university this summer.

However, I would imagine given my desired location (I wouldn't object to the south west, or anywhere along the M4 corridor) and the desired choice of practice, that my options are limited, and as such, so are my opportunites.

So in effect, I guess I'm asking how likely is your average person going to get a training contract? Does one have to write off to various firms and deal with lots of rejection?

Thank you

Rob
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ICAEW Advisor Helen
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Hi Rob

Thanks for this, and it's really encouraging to hear that we were helpful at the careers event you attended!

I can imagine with the qualifications you are on track to gain, plus your work experience, that you would be snapped up by a small-medium firm in your area. Having said that, you will still need to do your research - and everyone entering work, or looking for a new job experiences rejection - it is just a part of the process - so don't be put off by it.

I would suggest accessing our Training Vacancies to search for organisations in your desired areas - you can find this at http://trainingvacancies.icaew.com/. I would also get in touch with an organisation called SWAT UK which recruits for ACA students across the UK - www.swat.co.uk/recruitment. Lastly, have a look at a list of our authorised training employers at icaew.com, and just try your luck with some speculative enquiries.

Good luck! Louise
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TheCorporateLook
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Hello Louise,

Well am 26 years old and would like to become a chartered accountant and going to university in September this year to study accounting and finance with university of south wales(previously known as Glamorgan Uni) but my current circumstances are that I have got overseas qualifications from Pakistan which is called Higher Secondary School certificate(English,Physics,Math ematics & Comp sci at Grade B) and is equivalent to the UK A-levels but I will have to do one year access program(Equivalent to 2 UK A-levels) before starting the 4 year A&F degree which includes one year of work experience so it will be a 5 year program altogather.

And also I am going to do CFAB as I have read your previous posts and info. on ICAEW web site that this qualifications is a stepping stone towards the ultimate goal of becoming a Chartered Accountant and shows the commitment and motivation to the employers.

At the moment am unemployed and looking for some part time work before I go to University this Year and have been doing housekeeping jobs for the last couple of years but I have kept myself in touch with Education by doing different certificates online in food safety etc.

So I need to know that in the light of my above explained situation would I be able to gain an ACA training contract taking into account my academic background from overseas,my age now and after finishing the degree (would be 31) and a 4 year degree from UK university in Accounting and Finance with one year of work experience.

If I should proceed with my degree in accounting and finance or should I just forget about accountancy at 26 years old.
Really need your expert advice on this and sorry for the long post.Any input will be highly appreciated.

Thankyou
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ICAEW Advisor Helen
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#37
(Original post by TheCorporateLook)
Hello Louise,

Well am 26 years old and would like to become a chartered accountant and going to university in September this year to study accounting and finance with university of south wales(previously known as Glamorgan Uni) but my current circumstances are that I have got overseas qualifications from Pakistan which is called Higher Secondary School certificate(English,Physics,Math ematics & Comp sci at Grade B) and is equivalent to the UK A-levels but I will have to do one year access program(Equivalent to 2 UK A-levels) before starting the 4 year A&F degree which includes one year of work experience so it will be a 5 year program altogather.

And also I am going to do CFAB as I have read your previous posts and info. on ICAEW web site that this qualifications is a stepping stone towards the ultimate goal of becoming a Chartered Accountant and shows the commitment and motivation to the employers.

At the moment am unemployed and looking for some part time work before I go to University this Year and have been doing housekeeping jobs for the last couple of years but I have kept myself in touch with Education by doing different certificates online in food safety etc.

So I need to know that in the light of my above explained situation would I be able to gain an ACA training contract taking into account my academic background from overseas,my age now and after finishing the degree (would be 31) and a 4 year degree from UK university in Accounting and Finance with one year of work experience.

If I should proceed with my degree in accounting and finance or should I just forget about accountancy at 26 years old.
Really need your expert advice on this and sorry for the long post.Any input will be highly appreciated.

Thankyou
Hi there

Thanks for your query. This is a tough one, but it has nothing to do with age! There are no age restrictions for ACA training with an ICAEW Authorised Training Employer. I would recommend that you make the most of your time at university, get relevant work experience if you can, and attend employability skills sessions and your careers service which offers lots of valuable advice.

You will need to consider where you are able to train once you have completed your degree, and assuming that you have the entry requirements that ICAEW authorised training employers are looking for. If you are an overseas student (you don't state specifically), you would not have the right to work in the UK, and with your right to work only 1-2 years after you graduate, this does not cover a three year training agreement. Having said that, if the rules change by the time you finish your degree - my advice would be different!

Also there are difficulties with training for the ACA in Pakistan unfortunately, which ICAEW is trying to resolve. You may be able to train where there are ACA vacancies in industry, but not in audit, but again this may be resolved by the time you finish your degree.

Good luck Louise
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HA13
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(Original post by ICAEW Advisor Louise)
Hi there

My name is Louise and I work in the Student Recruitment team for ICAEW - over the next few months I will be available to answer your questions about the ACA qualification and becoming an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.

I'll also be joining in some existing threads, and pointing you in the right direction about the skills and experience you might need to give you the edge when applying for ACA training agreements.

Feel free to ask me any questions.

Louise
Hi Lousie

I am an American student and have completed my A level from pakistan. I am really inclined to study ACA as it has always been my passion to pursue this degree. Can you please guide me how can i apply for ACA? I searched the ICAEW website and have no interest in going for university since i think it is costly and waste of time since directly studying ACA can save me upto 2 years. Now i can apply CFAB, Higher Apprenticeship or AAT fast track. Please advice me which path to choose moreover i also wanted to know that can i apply for training vacancies after my A levels. I also wanted to know about my visa and can i apply for visa while staying in UK? Thank You in advance!!
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ICAEW Advisor Helen
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#39
(Original post by HA13)
Hi Lousie

I am an American student and have completed my A level from pakistan. I am really inclined to study ACA as it has always been my passion to pursue this degree. Can you please guide me how can i apply for ACA? I searched the ICAEW website and have no interest in going for university since i think it is costly and waste of time since directly studying ACA can save me upto 2 years. Now i can apply CFAB, Higher Apprenticeship or AAT fast track. Please advice me which path to choose moreover i also wanted to know that can i apply for training vacancies after my A levels. I also wanted to know about my visa and can i apply for visa while staying in UK? Thank You in advance!!
Hi there

First of all you will need to find out if you are eligible to work in the UK, or whether you can find an organisation willing to sponsor you as I am not clear if you have residency rights. If you need to check go to the UKBA (UK Border Agency) website for further information.

If you are eligible to work in the UK and you want to train for the ACA while working directly after A-levels there are the following routes:

School leaver
Higher Apprenticeship
AAT-ACA Fast Track

ICAEW Certificate in Finance Accounting and Business is a standalone qualification which you can study without having to be in a training agreement, it's a great first step in learning the foundations of business.

Unfortunately, I cannot guide you as to the route you should take as this is a personal choice - you will need to find out the benefits of each of the routes and choose one which suits you.

Good luck.
Louise
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davidwu
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#40
(Original post by ICAEW Advisor Louise)
Hi there

My name is Louise and I work in the Student Recruitment team for ICAEW - over the next few months I will be available to answer your questions about the ACA qualification and becoming an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.

I'll also be joining in some existing threads, and pointing you in the right direction about the skills and experience you might need to give you the edge when applying for ACA training agreements.

Feel free to ask me any questions.

Louise
Hi,

I'm very interested in obtaining the ACA qualification but I'd also rather work in industry than in practise. I'm struggling to find any ACA training agreements in industry. Just as an example, Arcadia Group have a finance analyst graduate scheme where it is the CIMA the individual works towards. Could you give me possibly a list of training agreements in industry or even an answer to whether they even exist?

Thanks
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