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AAT-ACA Fast Track

Frequently asked questions about AAT-ACA Fast Track.

What is the AAT-ACA Fast Track?
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The AAT-ACA Fast Track builds on the fundamental knowledge gained through the AAT qualification, and gives you the opportunity to qualify as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant in as little as two years. There are up to five exam credits available for AAT-ACA Fast Track students (depending on which AAT units you have completed).

If you are working for an ICAEW authorised training employer or principal, you may be eligible to apply for credit for prior work experience. This means you may be able to claim up to 12 months of the practical work experience you have gained while working towards your AAT Level 4 Diploma in Accounting.

Which exam credits am I entitled to?
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Credit for prior learning (CPL) is available for some of the ACA Certificate Level.  The modules you will be eligible to apply for credit towards will depend on the successful completion of the AAT Level 4 Diploma in Accounting. Once completed, you will be eligible to apply for credit towards the following ACA modules:

  • Accounting;
  • Business and Finance; and
  • Management Information. 

Depending on the specialist learning and assessment areas you choose to complete, you may be eligible to apply for credit towards the following additional two modules.

  • Assurance – credit is available for completion of AAT External Auditing at Level 4 Diploma in Accounting.
  • Principles of Taxation – you must have passed both AAT’s Preparing Business Taxation Computations and Preparing Personal Taxation Computations to be eligible for credit. 

Please go to icaew.com/cpl for more information on how to apply for credits. The online CPL directory will allow you to see exactly which credits are available to you based on the AAT units you have completed.

When do I apply for exam credits?
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ICAEW regulations do not allow you to apply for credit for prior learning on any ACA exam module that you may have previously attempted. You are therefore strongly advised to apply for any credit for which you may be entitled when you register as an ACA student.

For more information relating to credit for prior learning, see the frequently asked questions, go to icaew.com/cpl or download the credit for prior learning how to guide.

I am a qualified AAT. How do I know if I am eligible for the reduction to 300 days of practical work experience?
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If you are going on to study the ACA with your current employer, and they are an ICAEW authorised training employer or principal, you can apply for credit for prior work experience where you can count up to 12 months of work experience gained with them. (Please note: your employer must have been an ICAEW authorised training employer or principal for the full length of time for which you are claiming credit for prior work experience). 

This will mean that you will then work towards 300 days of practical work experience when you start your ACA training agreement. If your current employer is not an ICAEW authorised training employer or principal than you cannot claim for credit for prior work experience.

The practical work experience requirement of the ACA requires at least 450 days in total. So, in the example above, it assumes that you will have gained at least 150 days of work experience as an AAT student during the period for which they are claiming credit for prior work experience.  

I am AAT qualified but have not applied for my prior work experience to be recognised. What do I do?
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If you are still with the same employer, you are not required to go back and apply for credit for prior work experience, as this will already have been recognised. However, if your AAT work experience was gained with an organisation that is not an ICAEW authorised training employer or principal, then you will NOT be able to claim credit for prior work experience.

If you were working with an ICAEW authorised training employer or principal, but have since left, your new employer will need to work with your previous employer to agree what can be counted as prior work experience.

I've studied AAT but my ACA training agreement is for three years. Can I still just complete 300 days practical work experience?
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If you have not claimed for credit for prior work experience then you will need to complete the 450 days. A three year training agreement requires at least 450 days during the period of registration with ICAEW.

I am studying the ACA through the AAT-ACA Fast Track route. Can I use the two years of experience I gained while completing my AAT to count towards my professional development? I am with the same employer that I completed the AAT under.
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Yes you can. However, you will still need to demonstrate this to your employer at your six-monthly reviews and record how you have met each professional development requirement in your online training file.