ACA
Associate Chartered Accountant

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Why choose the ACA

Overview

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales – ICAEW was established by royal charter in 1880.

The ICAEW is the oldest and largest chartered accountancy body in Europe with more than 181,000 members and students in over 148 countries. It is the most prestigious professional body for students who aspire to become qualified accountants.

Chartered accountants are the founders of the accountancy profession and have led its global development. Today they hold influential positions around the world as business leaders, decision-makers and trusted advisers.  ACA members shape success, across industries.

ACA professionals are ever valued in the changing landscape of the VUCA world (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) which demands:

  • talented
  • ethical
  • committed professionals
  • with unrivalled knowledge
  • with skill and commitment
  • to achieve the financial and strategic goals of businesses – with rigour, integrity and vision.

Key Benefits

  • Gain access to world-leading information resources, technical guidance, member offers and discounts, advisory services and local member networks.
  •  Access a rigorously reviewed syllabus, frequently adjusted to address the true needs of professionals.
  • Equip its members with the necessary technical and professional skills to confidently operate in uncertain economic conditions and adapt to technological changes.
  • Helps employers retain high-quality employees, as well as develop a pipeline of future leaders.
  • Offers members the big picture, as more accounting tasks become automated-ACA professionals can be trusted to advise organisations and clients to navigate complex business issues and decision-making.
  • Assures the ICAEW members of a consistent protection of the quality and integrity of the accountancy profession, maintaining trust in your organisation.

Course Focus

To ensure the ongoing relevance of the qualification and ACA training in today’s changing commercial landscape, ICAEW has undertaken through consultation and research- to identify which professional skills are needed for the future chartered accountant. These are duly incorporated-as additional skills- to the rigorous technical knowledge assessed within each module.

Additional skills refer to:

  • Adaptability– the ability to recognize that business is in a constant state of change and evolution, to be curious about this, and to be flexible and adjust thinking, approach or methods as required.
  • Insight– the ability to analyse, interpret data and think critically to provide commercial insight.
  • Collaboration– the ability to collaborate and consider diverse perspectives to create successful outcomes while being accountable for self.
  • Perspective– the ability to take a holistic view of business issues and decisions, considering external stakeholder interests and enterprise-wide implications.
  • Learning and reflection– the ability to reflect on experience, learn and change to be more efficient and effective.

All about exams

Course content/ Exam structure

  • Exams consist of 15 Modules across a broad range of topics in accountancy, finance and business
  • Exams are grouped under 3 levels: Certificate, Professional and Advanced
  • Exams are designed to complement their practical work experience, so they constantly progress through the qualification
  • They can be taken in any order with the exception of the Case Study, which has to be attempted last, within the final year of an ACA training agreement and once all other exams have been taken or received credit.

Explore each level:

There are six exams at this level that introduce the fundamentals of accountancy, finance and business.

  • Students may be eligible for credit for some exams if they have studied a qualification ICAEW recognizes.

Modules:

Module aim

To ensure that candidates have a sound understanding of the techniques of double-entry accounting and can apply its principles in recording transactions, adjusting financial records and preparing non-complex financial statements.

On completion of this module, candidates will be:

  • proficient in the use of double-entry accounting techniques and the maintenance of accounting records.
  • able to identify and correct omissions and errors in accounting records and financial statements.
  • able to specify the components of financial statements and prepare and present non-complex accounts for sole traders, partnerships and limited companies.
Module aim

To ensure that candidates understand the assurance process and fundamental principles of ethics, and are able to contribute to the assessment of internal controls and gathering of evidence on an assurance engagement.

On completion of this module, candidates will be able to:
  • explain the concept of assurance, why assurance is required and the reasons for assurance engagements being carried out by appropriately qualified professionals;
  • explain the nature of internal controls and why they are important, document an organisation’s internal controls and identify weaknesses in internal control systems;
  • select sufficient and appropriate methods of obtaining assurance evidence and recognise when conclusions can be drawn from evidence obtained or where issues need to be referred to a senior colleague; and
  • understand the importance of ethical behaviour to a professional and explain issues relating to integrity, objectivity, conflicts of interest, conflicts of loyalty, confidentiality and independence.
Module aim

To provide candidates with an understanding of how businesses operate and how accounting and finance functions support businesses in achieving their objectives.
On completion of this module, candidates will be able to:
  • identify the general objectives of businesses and the functions and tasks that businesses perform in order to meet their objectives;
  • specify the nature, characteristics, advantages and disadvantages of different forms of business and organisational structure;
  • identify the purpose of financial information produced by businesses, specify how accounting and finance functions support business operations, and identify sources and methods of financing for businesses and individuals;
  • specify the role of the accountancy profession and why the work of the profession is important;
  • identify the role that governance plays in the management of a business and specify how a business can promote corporate governance, sustainability, corporate responsibility and an ethical culture; and
  • specify the impact on a business of the economic environment in which it operates.
Module aim

To provide candidates with an understanding of the principles of English law.
On completion of this module, candidates will be able to:
  • explain the nature of contractual agreements, the agency relationship and the consequences of negligence;
  • understand the legal implications of incorporation, including the roles of shareholders and directors, and the main implications of insolvency law;
  • identify instances of criminal behaviour that may be encountered by professional accountants; and
  • identify other key areas in which the law affects the role and work of the professional accountant.
Module aim

To enable candidates to prepare essential financial information for the management of a business.
On completion of this module, candidates will be able to:
  • establish the costs associated with the production of products and provision of services and use them to determine prices;
  • select appropriate budgeting approaches and methods and prepare budgets;
  • identify key features of effective performance management systems, select appropriate
  • performance measures and calculate differences between actual performance and standards or budgets; and
  • identify and calculate relevant data for use in management decision making.
Module aim

To enable candidates to understand the general objectives of tax and to calculate income tax, national insurance contributions, capital gains tax, corporation tax and VAT in straightforward scenarios.
On completion of this module, candidates will be able to:
  • explain the general objectives of tax, the influences upon the UK system of tax, the different types of tax in the UK and recognise the ethical issues arising in the course of performing tax work;
  • identify the obligations the UK system of tax imposes on taxpayers and the implications of noncompliance;
  • calculate the amount of income tax owed by or owed to individuals and the amount of national insurance payable;
  • calculate the amount of capital gains tax payable by individuals and the chargeable gains subject to corporation tax;
  • calculate the amount of corporation tax payable by companies; and
  • calculate the amount of VAT owed by or owed to businesses.

The next six exams build on the fundamentals and test students’ understanding and ability to use technical knowledge in real-life scenarios.

  • The exams can be taken in March, June, September and December.
  • Please note, the Business Planning alternative exams for banking and insurance are available at the June, September and December sittings.

Modules:

Module aim

To develop candidates’ understanding of the critical aspects of managing an assurance engagement (including audit engagements): acceptance, planning, managing, concluding and reporting.

On completion of this module, candidates will be able to:

  • understand and advise on the regulatory, professional and ethical issues relevant to those carrying out an assurance engagement;
  • understand the processes involved in accepting and managing assurance engagements;
  • understand how quality assurance processes mitigate risks;
  • plan assurance engagements in accordance with the terms of the engagements and appropriate standards; and
  • conclude and report on assurance engagements in accordance with the terms of the engagements and appropriate standards.
Module aim

To enable candidates to prepare complete single entity and consolidated financial statements, and extracts from those financial statements, covering a wide range of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
Candidates will also be required to explain accounting and reporting concepts and ethical issues, and the application of IFRS to specified single entity or group scenarios.
On completion of this module, candidates will be able to:
  • explain the contribution and inherent limitations of financial statements, apply the International Accounting Standards Board’s (IASB) conceptual framework for financial reporting and identify and explain key ethical issues;
  • prepare and present financial statements from accounting data for single entities, whether organised in corporate or in other forms, in conformity with IFRS and explain the application of IFRS to specified single entity scenarios; and
  • identify the circumstances in which entities are required to present consolidated financial statements, prepare and present them in conformity with IFRS and explain the application of IFRS to specified group scenarios.

Learning outcomes apply to non-specialised profit-oriented entities unless otherwise specified.

Module aim

To enable candidates to recommend relevant options for financing a business, recognise and
manage financial risks and make appropriate investment decisions.
On completion of this module, candidates will be able to:
  • identify capital requirements of businesses, assess financing options and recommend relevant methods of financing;
  • identify the financial risks facing a business and the principal methods of managing those risks; and
  • apply appropriate investment appraisal techniques taking into account other factors affecting investment decisions.
Module aim

To enable students to prepare tax computations for individuals and companies in straightforward scenarios.
On completion of this module, candidates will be able to:
  • recognise the ethical issues arising in the course of performing tax work and identify the obligations the UK system of tax imposes on taxpayers and the implications for taxpayers of non-compliance;
  • calculate the capital gains tax payable by individuals and trustees;
  • calculate the amounts of income tax owed by or owed to individuals and trustees;
  • calculate the amounts of inheritance tax due on lifetime transfers and transfers on death by individuals, personal representatives and trustees;
  • calculate the amounts of national insurance payable by individuals, businesses and companies;
  • calculate the corporation tax liabilities of companies;
  • calculate the amount of VAT owed by or owed to businesses; and
  • calculate the amount of stamp taxes due in straightforward transactions.
Module aim

To provide candidates with an understanding of how businesses develop and implement strategy.
On completion of this module, candidates will be able to:
  • identify and analyse the consequences of a business’s current objectives, market position and direction;
  • evaluate the likely consequences of strategic choices and recommend strategies to meet the objectives of a business; and
  • recommend appropriate methods of implementing strategies and demonstrate how management information can be used subsequently to measure and monitor strategic performance.
Module aim

To enable candidates to apply technical knowledge and professional skills to identify and resolve tax issues that arise in the context of preparing tax computations and to advise on tax-efficient strategies for businesses and individuals.

Candidates will be required to use technical knowledge and professional judgment to identify, explain and evaluate alternative tax treatments and to determine the appropriate solutions to taxation issues, giving due consideration to the needs of clients and the interaction between taxes.The commercial context and impact of recommendations will need to be considered in making such judgments, as will ethical and legal issues.

Prior knowledge

There are no regulations stipulating the order in which candidates must attempt this module.
However, candidates are strongly advised to complete both the Principles of Taxation module and the Tax Compliance module before attempting this module as the ability to prepare tax computations is required to be successful at this module.
Although technical topics by necessity flow through the three tax papers, a technical topic will not be retested in this module in a comprehensive computational question if it has already been tested in detail in either of the other two tax papers.

Module aim

To enable candidates to apply technical knowledge and professional skills to identify and resolve technical compliance and ethical issues that arise in the context of the preparation and evaluation of financial and regulatory reporting and from providing audit and assurance services in the banking sector.

Prior knowledge

There are no regulations stipulating the order in which candidates must attempt this module.However, candidates are strongly advised to complete the Financial Accounting and Reporting module and the Audit and Assurance module before attempting this module, as an understanding of financial reporting and auditing is required to be successful at this module.

The Corporate Reporting and Strategic Business Management exams test students’ understanding and strategic decision-making at a senior level. They present real-life scenarios, with increased complexity and implications from the Professional Level exams. The Case Study tests all the knowledge, skills and experience gained so far. It presents a complex business issue that challenges students’ ability to problem solve, identify the ethical implications and provide an effective solution.

  • The Advanced Level exams can be taken in July and November.
  • They are fully open book, so they replicate a real-life scenario where all the resources are at their fingertips.

Modules:

Module aim

To enable candidates to apply technical knowledge, analytical techniques and professional skills to resolve compliance and business issues that arise in the context of the preparation and evaluation of corporate reports and from providing audit services.

Candidates will be required to use technical knowledge and professional judgement to identify, explain and evaluate alternatives and to determine the appropriate solutions to compliance issues, giving due consideration to the needs of clients and other stakeholders. The commercial context and impact of recommendations and ethical issues will also need to be considered in making such judgements.

On completion of this module, candidates will be able to:

  • formulate, implement and evaluate corporate reporting policies for single entities and groups of varying sizes and in a variety of industries. They will be able to discern and formulate the appropriate financial reporting treatment for complex transactions and complex scenarios.
  • analyse, interpret, evaluate and compare financial statements of entities both over time and across a range of industries.
  • explain the processes involved in planning an audit, evaluating internal controls, appraising risk, gathering evidence and drawing conclusions in accordance with the terms of the engagement.
  • evaluate corporate reporting policies, estimates and disclosures in a scenario in order to be able to assess whether they are in compliance with accounting standards and are appropriate in the context of audit objectives.
  • identify and explain ethical issues. Where ethical dilemmas arise, candidates will be able to recommend and justify and determine appropriate actions and ethical safeguards to mitigate threats.
Module aim

To enable candidates to demonstrate quantitative and qualitative skills, in order to make realistic business recommendations in complex scenarios. Business awareness will need to be demonstrated at strategic, operating and transactional levels.
To achieve this aim, candidates will be required to use technical knowledge and professional judgement to apply appropriate models and to analyse data from multiple sources, including corporate reports, in order to evaluate alternatives and determine appropriate solutions.

On completion of this module, in a national or global context, and for a range of different business structures and industry scenarios, candidates will be able to:

  • analyse and identify the external environment and internal strategic capability of an entity; evaluate the consequences of strategic choices; recommend strategies to achieve stakeholder objectives, recommend appropriate methods of implementing strategies and monitoring strategic performance; manage business risks; and advise on corporate governance.
  • identify and advise upon appropriate finance requirements; evaluate financial risks facing a business and advise upon appropriate methods of managing those risks; provide valuations for businesses and securities; and advise upon investment and distribution decisions.
  • identify and explain ethical issues. Where ethical dilemmas arise, candidates will be able to recommend and justify and determine appropriate actions and ethical safeguards to mitigate threats.
  • interpret and apply corporate reporting information in evaluating business and financial performance; recognise and explain the corporate reporting consequences of business and financial decisions; apply corporate reporting information in appropriate models to determine asset, equity and entity valuations, demonstrating an understanding of the usefulness and limitations of accounting information in this context.
  • appraise and explain the role of assurance in raising new equity and debt funding and in the subsequent monitoring of such funding arrangements; understand, explain and evaluate the role of assurance in selecting and implementing key business decisions including acquisitions and strategic alliances; understand and explain the role of assurance in financial and business risk management.
Module aim

To ensure that candidates can provide advice in respect of complex business issues in the form of a written report.

The objective of the Case Study is to assess candidates’ understanding of complex business issues and the ability to analyse financial and non-financial data, exercise professional and ethical judgement, and develop conclusions and recommendations. The limited class time available with a tutor, even when supplemented by extensive home study, is insufficient for success in the Case Study.
Candidates must bring work experience into their preparation and development programme. Success at the Case Study requires an integration of the technical knowledge and skills acquired from all of the ACA modules, namely:
  • the core technical knowledge and skills and practical application acquired at the Certificate and Professional level;
  • the technical, analytical, evaluative and integration skills from the Corporate Reporting and Strategic Business Management; and
  • the advisory, judgemental and communication skills acquired through practical work experience undertaken during the training contract.
All areas of the syllabus may be tested over time.
The Case Study is designed to reproduce a typical situation in which chartered accountants find themselves. This will involve using information arising from meetings and communicated in memoranda, letters or reports from a variety of business and professional advisors and stakeholders. The situation will generally relate to a business plan or transaction and will require preparation for the submission of a report.

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Proud of the extraordinary achievements of our students each year

Highly Rated Tutors

Our lecturing team is exceptional and inspiring

Extensive Study Resources

Are available for students in both digital and printed form

Flexible Delivery Model

Choose between classroom, live online and pre-recorded lectures or a combination of the above through our blended and hybrid models

Customer Service

We offer amazing support, guiding students on all matters required through their ACA journey

How to become an ACA

Follow the steps with Globaltraining

1.

Meet the Requirements

Meet the Requirements

To enroll in the ACA programme you must meet certain requirements.

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2.

Enroll With Globaltraining

Enroll With Globaltraining

Join Globaltraining and let us guide you every step of the way on your ACA journey

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3.

Book your ACA Exam

Book your ACA Exam

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4.

Important Dates & Fees

Important Dates & Fees

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5.

ACA Member

ACA Member

You will be invited to join ICAEW as a member upon completion of your ACA exams.

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