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ACA training in China

The ACA from ICAEW is internationally recognised as a premier financial business qualification in more than 160 countries around the world.

Who can study for the ACA?

There are two ways to study for the ACA qualification in China.

  • The ICAEW-CICPA joint programme. This accelerated study route to ICAEW membership is available to members of the Chinese Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CICPA) who have obtained CICPA membership by complying with its training and examinations requirements. The minimum entry requirement to CPA.
  • The ACA full programme. This programme is for those who are not members of CICPA. The minimum entry requirement for the ACA programme is a bachelor's degree or equivalent from an internationally recognised university.

For more information, please contact ICAEW’s office in China or contact the student support helpline.

What does the ACA look like for you?

Non-CICPA members

Non-CICPA members will need to complete the full ACA programme. This involves four elements: exams, technical work experience, professional skills development (known as initial professional development) and ethics training. For further information including registration, cost and help to successfully complete all the required elements of the ACA training, please go to www.icaew.com/acastudents.

CICPA members

For CICPA members, the ACA from ICAEW is a combination of exams and ethics training. As a CICPA member, your training and professional experience entitles you to credits for prior learning (you may know these as exam exemptions) from 10 of the 15 ICAEW exams. You will also receive credit for 150 days of technical work experience. You will therefore need to complete 300 days of relevant technical work experience (or equivalent hours) within in a minimum of a two-year training agreement with an ICAEW authorised training employer.

Steps to completing your ACA training

Step 1: Register with ICAEW

CICPA members must register with ICAEW to study for the ACA qualification and become eligible to join ICAEW.

When you register, you will also need to apply for all relevant credit for prior learning (exam exemptions).

Step 2: Exams

CICPA members will need to pass the following ACA modules:

  • Business Planning: Taxation
  • Financial Management
  • Corporate Reporting
  • Strategic Business Management
  • Case Study

The Business Planning: Taxation and Financial Management papers require you to demonstrate and apply your skills. Each paper is two hours and 30 minutes long.

The Corporate Reporting and Strategic Business Management papers cover all aspects of the syllabus, and require you to demonstrate your knowledge, ability to plan, analyse, interpret and give advice. Each paper is three hours and 30 minutes long.

The Case Study covers all areas of the syllabus and tests your professional skills in the context of a specific business issue. It is four hours long.

To qualify for ICAEW membership, you must also complete ICAEW's Ethics Learning Programme (ELP), an online training and assessment programme. We strongly recommend that you have completed this ethics training before attempting the Case Study.

Exam applications

As an ACA student, you must apply online for each of the exams you will sit. At the Professional Stage exams, ICAEW regulations allow a maximum of four attempts at each exam. If you fail a Professional Stage exam four times you will not be allowed to progress with your ACA studies.

There are no restrictions on the number of attempts you are allowed at each of the Advanced Stage exams. We would always recommend that you are fully prepared for each exam as repeated failures may not be tolerated by your existing or future employers. They also cost money and time.

The Professional Stage exams are sat in March, June, September and December. The Advanced Stage exams are sat in July and November each year.

Please make sure you understand the relevant exam dates and deadlines and the ACA exam regulations before your exams.

Exams are held in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Details of the exam venue will be sent to you approximately two weeks before the examination.

Exams costs

Each Professional Stage application exam costs £85 sterling per sitting. You must take Business Strategy and Financial Reporting.

Each Technical Integration exam costs £165 sterling per sitting.

The Case Study exam costs £255 sterling per sitting.

Prices are accurate as at December 2015.

ACA learning materials

You will need to buy the learning materials for the ACA exams. For the Business Planning: Taxation, Strategic Business Management, Corporate Reporting and Strategic Business papers, the learning materials are a study pack which includes a study manual and a question bank.

The Case Study learning consist of a study manual and practice case studies, a marks key and answer book.

For more details on the costs and how to order learning materials go to: www.gillards.com/icaew.


A number of tuition providers offer ACA tuition in a variety of delivery methods around the world. To find out what tuition is available in your region, please go to ACA tuition providers page.

Exams support

ICAEW provides ACA students with a range of exam resources to help you study for each exam module. You can access:

  • syllabus for each exam
  • past papers
  • examiners feedback
  • useful articles
  • webinars
  • links to to ICAEW’s award-winning library.

Once registered with ICAEW, you have access to the online student community. This allows you to share views and exchange ideas on topics that are important to you. There are regular Ask an expert and Ask a tutor sessions. The student community is reserved for students only.

Exam results

Exam results for paper-based exam sessions are usually released five weeks after the exam week.

For all questions relating to exams, see Exam FAQs.

Step 3: Ethics and Professional Scepticism

Ethics is more than just knowing the rules around confidentiality, integrity and objectivity. It’s about identifying ethical dilemmas, understanding the implications and behaving appropriately. Ethics is integrated throughout the ACA qualification to develop your ethical capabilities – so you’ll always know how to make the right decisions and justify them.

Step 4: Apply for ICAEW membership

You will be invited to join ICAEW once you have passed all of your ACA examinations and completed the Ethics Learning Programme (ELP). You will need to apply within 12 months of finishing your exams.

Once your ICAEW application has been successful, you will be able to use the prestigious designation 'ACA'.

While you are an ICAEW member, you must make sure you comply with ICAEW CPD regulations and Code of Ethics.

Practising certificates and regulated areas

Membership of ICAEW does not by itself grant practising rights. CIPCA members who join ICAEW will be eligible for a practising certificate on the same terms as other ICAEW members. If you intend to practise in the UK or EC you must apply for a practising certificate. You may only practice as an ICAEW member if you have been a member of CICPA for at least two years.

UK audit rights are controlled by the Professional Oversight Board (POB) and are not awarded to CICPA members joining ICAEW.