CA – ICAEW

Roadmap-ca-iceawAbout Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) qualification

ICAEW was established by a Royal Charter in 1880

At present ICAEW have over 138,000 members and 9,000 students.

ICAEW introduced a new syllabus in 2007… more appealing to prospective students … flexible examinations based on a modular structure… paper based and computer based assessments.

Admission to membership

Passing of examinations.

Completion of 450 days of relevant work experience (training) with ICAEW approved employers. The work experience lasts between three and five years.

The examinations are in two stages, Professional stage (twelve papers) and Advanced Stage (two papers and a case study, which must be taken in the final year of training).

ICAEW has mutual recognition agreements with:

  • Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants
  • Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe
  • New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants
  • South African Institute of Chartered Accountants

ICAEW members may be admitted to full membership of the above institutions after passing an aptitude test or subject to other specific requirements.

Membership categories

Members have the designation ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant) or FCA (Fellow Chartered Accountant) after their name.

ACA fee structure

Fees are reviewed and updated annually. The fees to 31 December 2012 will be:

Student Fee £165 per annum
Each Knowledge Module £65 per paper
Each Application Module £85 per paper
Each Technical Integration Module £165 per paper
Case Study £255

Academic Qualifications:

UK or Irish graduate awards

Any recognised degree awarded by a UK or Irish university or college

GCSEs and A Levels:

2 A level passes plus 3 GCSE passes at grades A-C

Overseas Academic Qualifications

Graduate Awards:

Any degree from a recognised university which is comparable to a UK Bachelors degree

School leaving qualifications:

Any award which is comparable to our expectations for GCSE and A level entry requirements.

Professional Accountancy Qualifications:

Member of ACCA, CIMA or CIPFA

Student of ACCA or CIMA who has sat and passed all papers of every examination stage of the body concerned, up to and including the following examinations;

ACCA Part One

CIMA Foundation

Mature Entrants:

Persons over 25 years of age without qualifications as listed above but with at least 7 years acceptable professional accountancy experience may be considered on individual application to ICAEW.

Qualifications not listed above:

Other qualifications that match A level standard may be considered on individual application to ICAEW.

Apply for credit/exemption with an academic qualification:

You may apply for credit for one or more of our Professional Stage examinations if you have an accounting or business related degree or a comparable qualification. Please note that you cannot apply for credit if you have previously attempted the paper.

Eligibility for students with a degree:

To be eligible for credit based on a degree, you will need to

  • have been awarded a UK bachelor degree (or comparable);
  • apply for credit within five years of completion; and
  • have achieved a minimum mark of 50% in all modules of degree relevant to your application for credit

Completing your applications:

Once you have completed the application process you will be asked to send documentation to support your credit application. All documents must be in English and any translations must be formally certified.

Other professional qualifications:

For professional qualifications, credits are normally dependent upon membership and/or completion of specified papers. Papers/qualifications must be no older than five years to be considered.

ICAEW may from time to time vary its CPL costs for students registering with prior professional qualifications. To benefit from this, you must be registered with the ICAEW as a student in a training agreement or as an independent student before making your CPL application.

ICAEW qualification for ICAP members:

Institute of Chartered accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) and ICAEW has signed a Memorandum of Understanding; ICAP members, now can opt for the ICAEW membership by passing only 2 exams and a case study of the Advanced Stage of ICAEW. The articles training and 12 exams of certificate and professional levels are exempted to ICAP members.

ICAEW qualification for ACCAs and other professionals:

ICAEW accelerated program is also available for other professional qualifications like ACCA and CIMA. Credits from 12 papers of certificate and professional levels are available to ACCA and CIMA qualification holders; they just need to pass the final 2 papers and a case study of the advanced stage examinations.

However, they need to complete the Technical Work Experience (TWE). This should relate at least one area from Accounting, Audit, Assurance, Taxation, Financial Management, Insolvency and Information Technology. Audit work experience is not an essential part of TWE, the training can be completed at any firm / industry registered as ICAEW training provider.

Examinations:

Knowledge Modules: The exams for the Knowledge Modules are held on-line and can be opted at any time of the year.

Application Module: The 2011 exams for the Application Module will be held in March, June, September and December.

Advanced Stage: The exams for the Advanced Stage papers will be held in July and November 2011.

NOTE: Only the Advanced Stage examinations are held in Pakistan. Students, registered at CAPS for the classes of Knowledge and Application Modules can take their exams in the nearest examination center in UAE.

Currently there is no charge for CPL for the following groups:

  • ACCA students or affiliates
  • CIMA, CIPFA, ICAS or CAI (Ireland) students
  • Members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan
  • Members of the Chinese Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Exam Statistics

The paper pass rates for the Advanced Stage Examinations are shown below.

PAPER ENTRY PASS RATE%
Business Reporting 2,307 78.9
Business Change 2,199 82.9
Case Study 2,021 74.1

ACCA vs ACA

Both the ACA and the ICAEW are indeed highly recognised and valued across the globe. The ACA as a premier financially-based business qualification and the ICAEW as a world leader in the accountancy and finance profession. There are many differences between ACCA and ACA. Ultimately, one of the main things you need to consider is what you want to do in your future career. Research shows that ACAs can usually command higher salaries. Here are just some of the other differences between ACA and ACCA:

Optional vs compulsory: With ACA there are no optional exam papers (which is the case with ACCA). Every ACA exam module is compulsory (unless you qualify for exemption on a particular module).

Time taken to qualify: 80% of ACA students qualify in three years or less, while for ACCA this figure drops to 59%. For you, this could mean you gain an internationally recognised professional qualification more quickly.

Four compulsory elements: The ACA is more than just exams. It requires ongoing study and development of ethics training, professional skills development and technical work experience. While the ACCA requires some development in these areas too, there is less regulation/monitoring around the way in which some of this exeperience can be gained. This is not the case with ACA where you would need to gain these skills with an employer that is authorised by ICAEW to train ACA students. This benefits you as it helps ensures that all students receive high levels of support from their organisations.

Training agreement: This is a two-way formal agreement between employer and students relating to your ACA studies. Employers outline the support they will offer you, while you agree to study hard, pass your exams and complete all the components of the qualification. ACCA does not require anything similar to this. Research shows that students taking qualifications with accountancy bodies that require some form of formal agreement have higher pass marks.

Exam sittings: ACA offers more exam sittings. This is better for you and your employer as it means exams schedules can be tailored to suit your work commitments and the business needs of your organisation.

Ethics training: Given recent events in the world economy, it is more crucial than ever that future business leaders act with integrity and good judgement. The ACA therefore requires ongoing ethics learning throughout training. This is not the case with ACCA.

Quality learning materials: ACA produces its own learning materials. These are reviewed yearly and approved by the examiners. ACCA has no such control processes in place for their materials, so multiple versions of varying quality may exist.