The ACA from ICAEW is internationally recognised as a premier financial business qualification in more than 160 countries around the world.
Graduates, school leavers and those with other professional qualifications or experience (such as ACCA, CIMA etc) can study for the ACA. The minimum academic requirement for students is two A-levels (or international equivalent), although the majority of students who join the ACA programme are university graduates. Your degree does not necessarily need to be in the field of business or finance. It can be a recognised degree in any discipline.
There are two ways you can study for the ACA qualification.
Any organisation that offers ACA training will have met strict training criteria and will be authorised by ICAEW to train ACA students. This helps ensure consistent support for our students wherever they train around the world.
Our careers site offers you support and advice on how to make the step from school or university to ACA training and beyond, it explains your options and allows you to search for ACA training opportunities.
The ACA programme in Gibraltar combines four essential elements: exams, practical work experience, professional development and ethics and professional scepticism. Together, these four elements give you the expertise and added value skills that help define a chartered accountant. You must successfully complete all four elements to qualify as ACA and become a member of ICAEW.
You will need to register with ICAEW as an ACA student. There is a fee to register with ICAEW.
There are 15 ACA exam modules across three stages - the Certificate level, the Professional level and the Advanced level. They will test you in all aspects of business and finance. The six Certificate modules will introduce the fundamentals, each has a 1.5 hour computer-based assessment which can be sat at any time (subject to availability) at ICAEW-approved test centres. The next six Professional modules build on the fundamentals and test your understanding and ability to use technical knowledge in real-life scenarios. Each module has a 2.5 hour paper-based exam, except the Financial Accounting and Reporting exam which is 3 hours. The Advanced Level exams are paper-based and 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 your fingertips. The Corporate Reporting and Strategic Business Management exams are 3.5 hours and the Case Study is 4 hours.
Please note: At the same time as you study for your exams, you will need to undertake learning across the different levels and stages of PWE (see step 3), PD (see step 4) and Ethics and Professional Scepticism (see step 5). Please read the relevant sections carefully as there is advice about what stages you should have reached before you attempt certain exams.
Credit for prior learning is our term for exemptions. Students who hold an accounting or business related degree, or a professional accountancy qualification may be eligible to claim credits/exemptions for some of the ACA exams.
Students who have completed the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) qualification are eligible for the AAT-ACA Fast Track. This route allows members of the AAT to build on the knowledge and work experience they have gained while studying for the AAT qualification. AAT qualified students may not need to sit all of the ACA exams and some of their AAT work experience may count towards the number of days required to become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant (see step 3).
You are encouraged to apply for credits as soon as possible to allow time for us to process your application. You cannot apply for credit for an exam that you have already sat.
As an ACA student, you must apply for each of the exams you will sit. At the Professional level exams, ICAEW regulations allow a maximum of four attempts at each exam. If you fail a Professional level 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 employer. Please check with your employer regarding the number of attempts they will allow you.
Exams are held in Gibraltar and all exams must be pre-booked.
Details of the exam venue will be sent to you approximately two weeks before the examination date.
Exam fees must be paid when you apply for your exams.
There are learning materials for each of the ACA exams. The materials usually consist of a study manual and a question bank/practise material.
If you are following classroom tuition, please check with your tuition provider first as they may have bought the learning materials on your behalf and already included the cost of these as part of their costs.
Learning materials are available to buy at www.gillards.com/icaew.
To find out what tuition is available in Gibraltar, please visit the ACA tuition providers page.
ICAEW provides ACA students with a range of exam resources to help you study for each exam module. You can access:
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 for paper-based exam sessions are usually released five weeks after the exam week.
Practical work experience is an essential element of the full ACA programme. During your day-to-day ACA training, you will need to do 450 days of 'real' work of a financial, business and/or commercial nature. It excludes exam days, holidays, courses, illness and office administration. Your practical work experience must relate to at least one of the following six technical catagories: Accounting, Audit and Assurance, Taxation, Financial Management, Insolvency and Information Technology. relate to at least one of the following: Accounting, Audit and Assurance, Taxation, Financial Management, Insolvency and Information Technology.
It is not essential to complete audit work experience to gain the ACA qualification.
You cannot qualify as an ACA or apply for ICAEW membership without completing your practical work experience requirements.
Professional development is an essential component of the ACA qualification as it prepares you to successfully handle a variety of situations that you will encounter throughout your career. The professional development framework is made up of seven ladders, each containing seven or eight steps which represent a different skill.
The seven professional development ladders are:
We provide regular webinars, online Ask an expert sessions and written articles to support students with their professional skills development.
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.
You will be invited to apply for ICAEW membership once you have completed all components of ACA training, your employer has signed your online training file and we have verified your training record. You have 12 months (from your qualification date) to apply for ICAEW membership.
Once your ICAEW application has been successful, you will be able to use the prestigious designation 'ACA'.
As an ICAEW member, you must always adhere to ICAEW's Code of Ethics.
If you have any questions regarding your application, the student support helpline will be able to help you.
Student Support Team
T:+44 (0)1908 248 250