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Structured training in ethics (STE) FAQs

Frequently asked questions about structured training in ethics (STE).

What is structured training in ethics (STE) and what do I have to do?
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Structured training in ethics (STE) is an essential part of the ACA qualification: you cannot qualify as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant without successfully completing your STE requirements.

STE is an online training and assessment programme. It is designed to help you in your exams and to help you understand and resolve ethical dilemmas that you may face throughout your career. There are three stages which you must complete throughout your training. Each stage has real-life scenarios, a series of examples and case studies, self-test questions and assignments.

Do not leave your STE requirements to the very end of your training. Each stage takes a couple of hours. You will need to complete each stage and sign off each stage online once you have finished that stage. We recommend that you have all stages completed before you sit the Case Study.

If you are in an ACA training agreement, you should discuss what you have learnt at each stage with your employer as part of your six-monthly reviews. Your employer should then sign off that stage to say that you have successfully completed it. Employers can access the online sign off at icaew.com/employersonlineaccess.

How is progress recorded?
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You will need to complete each stage of STE and sign off online each stage as you complete it. The online sign off is a declaration to say that you have completed that stage. You must complete the three stages throughout your studies rather than leave everything to the end. Each stage takes about two hours to complete. We advise that you have all three stages completed before you attempt the Case Study.

What do I (or my employer) sign off on the STE programme?
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Please see both questions above.

I haven’t done any STE for a while. How can I catch up?
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Just go into the STE programme as soon as you can to catch up. You’ll need to sign off each stage and get your employer to confirm your progress online at each stage. The STE programme is available as a ZIP file to download at icaew.com/ste.

I keep getting an error message when I try to access the online sign off. What do I do?
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The most common cause of this is that your period of approved training is complete. If this is the case, please use the paper-based version of the declaration form.

I have completed one of the STE levels, but am having difficulties moving on to the next level from the website. Please help.
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This will normally mean that you haven’t signed off one of the levels on your online declaration, or your employer hasn’t signed the online declaration to confirm that you can move on to the next level. If this doesn’t help please contact the Student Support team who can check your personal details.

Students can access the STE package and online declaration at icaew.com/ste.

Employers can access the online declaration at icaew.com/employersonlineaccess.

Should I print off my STE evidence to take to my six-monthly reviews?
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Yes, you should provide your counsellor (or whoever conducts your six-monthly review) with evidence of the STE you have completed since your last review meeting. Your employers can access (and sign off the work you have done) at the employers’ online access.

What happens if I don’t complete the final stage of STE during my training agreement? Can I complete it at a later date?
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You must complete the STE programme during your period of training. You will not be able to access the sign off area afterwards.

This highlights the importance of six-monthly reviews between student and employer, which is to ensure all aspects of the ACA are properly monitored and completed in a timely manner. The last review between you and your employer should have identified the potential problem and an action put in place to ensure you would complete it on time.

I have recently changed employer during my training agreement. Can my new employer sign off STE (or IPD) that I did while I was with my previous employer?
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No. 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 STE (and/or IPD) 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 STE or IPD.

This highlights the importance of making sure that if you do change employer during your training agreement that your ACA training records and online sign offs need to be up-to-date and signed off before you leave your existing employer.

Does ICAEW see my answers to the STE questions and assignments?
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No. Your answers are not submitted to ICAEW. We just need to know that you have completed all three stages during your studies. This is what the online sign off tells us.