Frequently asked questions about ACA training agreement.
All answers are accurate as of June 2011, unless otherwise stated.
No. You cannot use the designatory letters ACA after your name until you are admitted to membership as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. ICAEW treats any inappropriate use of the ACA designation as a very serious offence.
It is a formal, written agreement between a student and an employer that is specific to your ACA training. It outlines the support you will receive from your employer while you study and what is expected from you in return.
Your training agreement is likely to cover;
If you are based outside the UK, please go ACA training in other countries for more information.
There are four essential elements of the ACA qualification that need to be successfully completed to be eligible for ICAEW membership. These are: the examinations, technical work experience (TWE), initial professional development (IPD) and structured training in ethics (STE).
In addition, students must complete a training agreement for a minimum of three years and undergo regular appraisal/progress reviews during that time with your employer. When you have completed these elements and provided a copy of your completed ETWE (evidence of technical work experience) form to ICAEW, you will be invited to ICAEW membership.
You will need to complete the ICAEW membership application form and send the appropriate fee. ICAEW will then send a membership certificate to you. Once you are admitted to membership as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant, you are then entitled to use the designatory letters, ACA, after your name.
Most students must have a minimum of a three year training agreement (unless you have registered through the AAT-ACA Fast Track route or meet requirements for a reduction in the length of a training agreement). The length of a training agreement shall be determined in accordance with the ACA student regulations and by agreement between the student and authorised training employer which is to provide the approved training. The maximum period of time a student may enter into a training agreement is five years, unless the student is training under a strategic degree or other programme offered in partnership with an ICAEW Partner in Learning.
ICAEW encourages students to stay with their employer for the duration of their training agreement where possible. If you change employer part way through, they must be an ICAEW authorised training employer (ATE) for your ACA training to continue.
In addition, any new employer could ask you to complete additional technical work experience or training to demonstrate your skills and also to help them recover any training costs. A training agreement at any new employer would need to be for a minimum of three months and include at least 65 days of technical work experience.
You cannot apply for ICAEW membership until you have fully completed your ACA training agreement. ICAEW encourages students to stay with their employer for the duration of their training agreement where possible.
Any new employer could ask you to do additional technical work experience or training to demonstrate your skills and also to help them recover any training costs. A training agreement at any new employer would need to be for a minimum of three months.
Make sure that your ETWE form (and Audit Qualification application form if applicable) is up to date and signed by the QPRT, PRT or Deputy QPRT when your training agreement is cancelled. Make sure you keep copies of your documents – for you and for your future employer!
You should make sure that you have gained online sign offs (from your employer) against all the IPD and STE stages/levels that you have completed so far. Keep all your records accurate and keep any required supporting evidence you might need (eg, job sheets, diaries etc).
Yes. If you get all your documentation signed off in a timely fashion, then if you do move to another employer part way through your training agreement, you can continue from where you left off. If you do not get these signed off, it may delay your progression into membership as you will have to re-demonstrate your skills to your new employer.
Remember your new employer cannot sign off any work experience you gained while you were working at your previous employer, so you must get everything signed before you leave. You should therefore always make sure that your records are accurate and up to date before you consider moving to a new employer!
The following things need to happen:
Employers can also contact the employer helpline on +44 (0)1908 248 250 for further information and relevant forms.
Your new employer can only sign off development and ethical behaviour evidenced by them ie, at your new place of work. So you will need to complete all the IPD and STE requirements with your new employer. But remember, you are not losing development; you just have to demonstrate it to your new employer. If you have the skills, then you should quickly be able to demonstrate them, so it should not delay the completion of IPD or STE.
ICAEW regulations state that the Case Study exam cannot be sat until the final year of a training agreement. However, students can have completed their training agreement before sitting the Case Study. So, in this case, you do not need to extend your training agreement.
If you have not completed your technical work experience (TWE) within your training agreement, you would need to extend the agreement to ensure you accumulated enough TWE to meet requirements.
Your employer may wish to extend your training agreement if you have not yet completed the elements of IPD and STE.
No. You would however need to extend your training agreement is if you hadn’t completed enough TWE during your agreement, or you have changed employer in the final stages of your training. Failure to complete IPD and STE could also result in an extension of your training agreement being required
Ideally, we would need more information to be able to help you fully. However, with the information you have given here, you have several alternatives that you can investigate.
If you started the ACA before 2007, please contact the student support team to discuss the upcoming changes to the ACA.
You will need to submit your ETWE form at the end of your training agreement. In addition to the ETWE form confirming your 450 days of TWE it is also evidence that you have completed your training agreement and that your employer considers you eligible for ICAEW membership.
For all questions/answers relating to technical work experience, please see technical work experience (TWE) FAQs.
Your employer already has access to all this information. They can access your student registration details, training records and sign off procedures at icaew.com/employersonlineaccess.
Some individuals with previous professional qualifications (such as AAT, CICPA, ICASL etc) may be eligible. For more details, please see Join us as a member of another body or contact the student support team.
You will need to prove to ICAEW that you have successfully completed all the required components of the ACA.
You will also need to have completed your ACA training agreement. ICAEW has records of your agreed training period but your signed ETWE form is confirmation from your employer that you have completed your training agreement and are considered eligible for membership.
If you are planning to apply for the Audit Qualification (AQ) you will also need to submit your Audit Qualification application form.
Once your ETWE form has been approved and ICAEW has confirmed that you have completed the essential components of the ACA you will be invited to apply for membership.
The only hard copy evidence required by ICAEW is your completed ETWE form.
If you have not completed your IPD and/or STE online sign offs, you will also need to submit hard copy IPD and STE declaration forms.
For students who are following the ICAEW IPD scheme
For students who are following their employers' accredited IPD scheme