ACA questions Watch

krisshP
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I'm a BSc Mathematics student student at King's College London, just finished first year and entering second year soon. I am interested a little in ACA and have questions, mainly the first.



1) How much Maths is involved? If little, is there scope to make it quite mathsy? Of course the ACA modules are fixed for all, but afterwards with the actual job is it possible to get a job at forms that have more Mathsy work? How much English is involved? I got a C in GCSE English Language (A* GCSE Maths) and hate essay writing a lot. Any long writing really I dislike, it's not naturally my thing if you get me. So is ACA for me then? How much long writing is there compared to Maths? The Case Study module towards the end of ACA qualification, isn't that completely loaded with essay writing ?

2) How tough is the actual ACA qualification content in terms of understanding it AND how time consuming it is per day on average? Probably depends on how interesting you find it which in turn depends on 1) above ^, but still in general how is it?

3) What's the TOTAL time taken of the ACA qualification + 450 days actual work experience? Is it 3-5 years? How many days each week do you work? In each working day, is it 9-5 hours?

4) Isn't it insanely tough actually getting into a graduate training programme at a firm providing the ACA qualification? They must invest above £10,000 in you, right? Any advice for getting into it?

Thank you very much,
Krishna
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snakesnake
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(Original post by krisshP)
I'm a BSc Mathematics student student at King's College London, just finished first year and entering second year soon. I am interested a little in ACA and have questions, mainly the first.



1) How much Maths is involved? If little, is there scope to make it quite mathsy? Of course the ACA modules are fixed for all, but afterwards with the actual job is it possible to get a job at forms that have more Mathsy work? How much English is involved? I got a C in GCSE English Language (A* GCSE Maths) and hate essay writing a lot. Any long writing really I dislike, it's not naturally my thing if you get me. So is ACA for me then? How much long writing is there compared to Maths? The Case Study module towards the end of ACA qualification, isn't that completely loaded with essay writing ?

2) How tough is the actual ACA qualification content in terms of understanding it AND how time consuming it is per day on average? Probably depends on how interesting you find it which in turn depends on 1) above ^, but still in general how is it?

3) What's the TOTAL time taken of the ACA qualification + 450 days actual work experience? Is it 3-5 years? How many days each week do you work? In each working day, is it 9-5 hours?

4) Isn't it insanely tough actually getting into a graduate training programme at a firm providing the ACA qualification? They must invest above £10,000 in you, right? Any advice for getting into it?

Thank you very much,
Krishna
1. The math is relatively basic. Add subtract, take percentages. Nothing too much more complex than that.
There is quite a bit of essay writing in the exams, not just Case study but the others as well. You don't need to be amazing but you do need to be able to do something.

2. Pass rates are around 75-80% so draw from that your own conclusions. Generally if you put the time in you'll pass.

3. 3 years minimum generally. You'll get to 450 days easily as it's measured by dividing your total hours done by 7 to get the number of days. I hit that by the start of my third year. However my training contract says it is at least 3 years so I have to be there that long in order to be fully time qualified, even if by that time I've done 600 days or something.

4. Yeah it can be quite tough to get to a top firm (Big Four) but lots of people do it.
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krisshP
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Thanks for that

1) yes, that's my worry. You think I'd cope, considering that I hate essay writing and long writing, and I got a C in English Language? Exactly how long is the essay writing anyway in terms of pages generally speaking? OK the actual ACA is fixed, so I'd have to suffer essay writing , but what about afterwards? Like, can I CHOOSE a job that allows me to AVOID such essay writing completely and is more mathsy, like more towards finance? Does such flexibility exist to allow me to avoid essay writing COMPLETELY and do mathsy/finance work FULLY when choosing a job? Or is it inevitable for me to suffer essay/long writing whatever job?

2) How much time (hours) did you devote to it each day on average to pass? What if you're willing to put the time in, but suck at essay/long writing? Would you still pass or not?

3) How many years does it take MOST people generally to complete the whole ACA qualification plus the work experience? Did it take YOU 3 years to get it all done? How many days of each working week did you work for? Like for the actual work experience with your employer.

4) What about small/medium firms? Still insanely tough? Any advice? Also, what extra stuff did you have to do anyway beyond the ACA qualification and the actual work experience to get your job? If nothing really, then I'm guessing the real difficulty is probably in just getting onto the ACA training programme with an employer, right? After all, your work experience is quite huge skill development in itself, right? Is it true that for all employers training students for ACA, if you perform decent in your ACA training programme work experience with them, then they'll DEFINITELY give you a job after finishing the ACA qualification and the actual work experience?

5) In your current job, how are your working hours? 9-5?

THANK YOU SO MUCH,
Krishna
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snakesnake
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1. Pages depends really on handwriting, spacing, etc. I'd say the written exams I'm putting in 20-30 pages per exam for quite a few exams.

2. It's not really done daily. The exams come in little bursts throughout your training contract (depending of course on how your firm sets them up) so at those times you go to college and do some homework but it

3. 3 Years exactly is normal qualification time as that's the length of the training program and assuming you haven't fallen behind on exams. Your working hours are normal office working hours and times so Mon-Fri 9-5, sometimes a bit more.

4. Not sure about smaller firms. Never applied to them and never even considered them. The training contract is just a start to your career at a firm. It always rolls over into a normal full time job, I've not heard of anyone anywhere ever being simply fired after it.

5. Generally 8.30-17.30, sometimes a bit longer.
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krisshP
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1) Wow! That's shocking! Sounds crazy! That's my only major concern from taking ACA, the only real issue. Just makes it seem impossible for me . Don't think it's really for me then unfortunately, all the rest of it seemed perfect and so cool . How much time (hours) around did they give you to do them exams of 20-30 pages of long writing/essays? The actual ACA is fixed, so I'd have to suffer essay writing, but what about afterwards? Like, can I CHOOSE a job that allows me to AVOID such essay writing completely and is more mathsy, like more towards finance? Does such flexibility exist to allow me to avoid essay writing COMPLETELY and do mathsy/finance work FULLY when choosing a job? Or is it inevitable for me to suffer essay/long writing whatever job?

2) Say if I suck at essay writing, but I devote a LOT of time in, do you reckon I'd still pass?

3) OK thanks!

4) So you applied to a big firm, right? Big 4? You like it?

5) Aren't there firms with 9-5 hours? What about the small/medium ones, do they offer 9-5 hours instead?

My real concern is with the heavy English content . You reckon ACA is still worth a shot for me? Like I should still do it?

Thank you very much,
Krishna
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Chapeau Rouge
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In addition to the above as I don't think it is clear- the minimum time commitment is 3 years - as in you must be working in accounting/auditing for a minimum of 3 years before you can time qualify (even if you work 18 hours a day and reach your time qualification straight away, you must be going for at least 3 years).

It isn't essay writing in the sense - discuss this/discuss that. It's report writing - ie. processing information quickly and condensing it to answer a question eg. what are the key risks for this business. You can of course devote time and still pass but your post seems to imply that English is your second language and you might be worried about this - in this case I would really work on your English so you can be more comfortable with this element.

9-5 hours don't exist in Big 4 unless you are extremely lucky like poster above. Since January I have been doing 9 -6:30 minimum, with the last 2 months being 9-9. It really is luck of the draw (and that said I am in London office which has a rep for being tougher).

You can of course have a job that doesn't involve "essay writing" and is more numbers based. I would however consider that accounting is never going to be completely numbers work, you'll always have to be able to communicate things to other members in your team, write things for management which is going to require a good level of communication.
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krisshP
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English is my first language - I speak it perfectly. Only issue is in WRITING enormous amounts I hate a lot and find tedious and hellish.
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Chapeau Rouge
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(Original post by krisshP)

My real concern is with the heavy English content .
Okay apologies, statement above I assumed you didn't speak as first language!

You will find you have to write enormous amounts in some ACA exams - Case Study obviously which is 4 hours of writing and Business Strategy stand out as examples. But no one enjoys writing large amounts! You need to weigh up for yourself whether it is something you can put yourself through for the sake of getting a really good qualification or whether it is something you physically cannot do - if the latter I wouldn't recommend doing ACA!
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krisshP
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OK thanks for all help. You think an accountancy internship will help me decide by giving me a taste?

Thanks
Krishna
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ICAEW Advisor Jackie
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(Original post by krisshP)
OK thanks for all help. You think an accountancy internship will help me decide by giving me a taste?

Thanks
Krishna
Hi Krishna,

You have been getting some great advice from TSR members here! If you are thinking of an internship we have a variety of internships, placements and ACA training agreements advertised on icaewtrainingvacancies.com.

If you have any further for questions for me please let me know.

Kind regards,

Ashleigh
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