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Technical work experience (TWE) FAQs

Frequently asked questions about Technical work experience (TWE).

What is technical work experience (TWE) and what counts as work experience?
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Technical work experience (TWE) is undertaking 'real' work of a financial, business and/or commercial nature. It should relate to at least one of the following area: Accounting, Audit and Assurance, Taxation, Financial Management, Insolvency and Information Technology. Audit work experience is not an essential part of TWE.

ICAEW regulations require ACA students to complete a minimum of 450 days of technical work experience.

See your ACA student training guide for specific examples of what type of activity is covered in each category.

Where can I find more information on TWE?
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You can access more information on TWE at icaew.com/twe.

Does everyone have to complete 450 days of TWE to gain the ACA?
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Yes – unless you are:

  • an ACA student who is eligible for a two year period of approved training. In this instance you are required to complete 300 days; or
  • you are studying the ACA in a country where a memorandum of understanding (MoU) exists between your local institute and ICAEW which may recognise the work experience you have already completed as part of the qualification from your local institute. For more information, go to ACA training in other countries.
What counts as a 'day' of TWE?
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The default is seven hours. Remember that the requirement is both the minimum number of TWE days and the length of your training agreement. You need to accumulate 450 days during your training (which must be a minimum of 36 months).

Remember: You cannot count study leave, courses, sickness days, holidays or office administration as part of your TWE requirements. These cannot be counted towards your TWE requirements because any TWE work you do needs to demonstrate that you are gaining 'real' experience of a business, commercial or financial nature.

Exactly what type of work is included in each work category?
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See your ACA student training guide for specific examples of what type of activity is covered in each category.

Can I change from working in an accountancy practice to working in an industry and still fulfil the TWE requirement?
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Yes, it is possible to have a training agreement with employers in practice, industry, the public sector and not-for-profit sectors. Employers must be ICAEW authorised training employers (ATE) in order for students to gain TWE.

What happens if I haven’t accumulated 450 days of technical work experience by the end of my agreed period of training?
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Your employer will need to extend the length of your training agreement accordingly.

Does TWE need to be done with the same employer?
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ICAEW does not encourage students to change employer during their training agreement.

If students do need to have a new employer part way through their training agreement, the new employer (which must be an Authorised Training Employer) can decide how much of a student’s previous work experience to count. They are not obliged to count all of it.

I am leaving my current place of employment, what should I do?
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Make sure that your Evidence of Technical Work Experience (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.

Can I transfer my TWE over to my new work place if I change employer?
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If you change employer part way through training, your new employer can decide whether or not to count your previous TWE and time served under a training agreement. They are not obliged to count any or all of your work experience.

You should always make sure that you have your Evidence of Technical Work Experience (ETWE) form signed and that your online sign offs (for IPD and STE) are up to date before you decide to leave. If you leave without getting them signed it is very difficult to go back at a later date to ask an employer to sign them.

ICAEW does not recommend that students change employer during their training.

I'm not employed with any training organisation and am currently an independent student studying the ACA Professional Stage. What records should I keep?
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For all questions relating to independent students, see independent student FAQs.

How do I complete my technical work experience if I don’t have an ACA training agreement?
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For all questions relating to independent students, see independent student FAQs.

How often should I record my TWE?
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You should record your experience regularly – and discuss your TWE progress (along with your progress at IPD, STE and the exams) at your six-monthly reviews with your employer. You must make sure that you have all your records up to date and that they are signed off at least every six-months throughout your training.

Who can sign off my ETWE form?
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Only certain people within an organisation are authorised to sign off your ETWE form; please check with your employer. In preparation for your application for ICAEW membership, your final sign off can only be completed by your QPRT, PRT or Deputy QPRT.

Do I need to submit the original ETWE form or a photocopy?
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Please send in a photocopy of your ETWE form (signed by the relevant person in your organisation). You should always keep the original safe. ICAEW is happy to receive a posted copy of your form or you can scan a copy and email it to applications@icaew.com

Is there a time limit for submitting my completed ETWE form to ICAEW?
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As soon as you are eligible we’d encourage you to submit a copy of your ETWE form to ICAEW. Your ETWE form must be submitted within one year of completing your training agreement.

I have done all my ACA exams and have 450 days of technical work experience. However, I still have three months left on my training agreement. Do I still have to do this?
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Yes, if you are within the same training agreement where you gained your 450 days.

If you have changed to a new ATE before the end of your agreement, you must gain a minimum of 65 days of TWE at your new employer regardless of whether you had already met the 450 day requirement.

In addition, any new training agreement must be for a minimum of three months. This combination is to ensure that your new employer has enough knowledge of your skills to be able to sign off your suitability for ICAEW membership.

Will the same ETWE be filled and signed off each time on six-monthly reviews or are there multiple ETWE forms that need to be filled in at each review?
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No. You should only have one ETWE form throughout your training.

If I can’t gain 450 days TWE during my current three year training agreement, what happens?
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Your employer will need to extend your ACA training agreement if you have not completed the full 450 day requirement during those three years. Your employer should do this unless there is a reason why the training agreement should be suspended or cancelled.

Can I submit my signed ETWE form if I haven’t finished all the exams yet?
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Yes, as long as you have also fully completed the TWE, IPD and STE requirements (and have gained appropriate sign off against these with your employer), we would recommend that you submit your ETWE form for processing.

Our records will alert us once your IPD and STE online sign offs are complete, so you do not need to submit anything to ICAEW regarding IPD and STE. Once you have finished your exams, you would then receive an invitation to apply for ICAEW membership.

I haven’t finished my training agreement, but have already completed my 450 TWE days and completed my IPD and STE. Can I submit these records before the end of my three year training agreement?
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Please submit your ETWE form at the end of your training agreement. Your ETWE form serves two purposes. Firstly, it confirms you have completed your 450 days of TWE and secondly, it serves as evidence that you have completed your ACA training agreement and that your employer considers you eligible for ICAEW membership.

What happens if I don’t record my work experience on my ETWE form on time? Will my experience be forfeited?
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ICAEW requires that you complete your ETWE form every six months and this experience must be signed off by your employer. If you have fallen behind in recording your TWE on your ETWE form, then you should catch up as soon as possible. This will help ensure you and your employer are meeting the requirements of the ACA training agreement. It will also help you to keep you on track to qualify as an ACA at the end of your training agreement.

I started completing the previous ETWE form – do I need to transfer all the details to the new form?
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No, but you should start using the new form (which has been available since 2007) immediately. You will need to submit both forms for your ICAEW membership to show a complete record of your TWE.

Equally, if you are gaining any audit experience, you could be able to count this experience towards the Audit Qualification (AQ). This would then also require you to record any relevant audit experience on the AQ application form. Read more at icaew.com/aq.

Is the signed ETWE form the only hard copy I need to submit to ICAEW at the end of my training?
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The ETWE form (signed by your QPRT or appropriate person) is the only hard copy form required (unless you are also recording audit experience, in which case you will also need to submit a hard copy of the completed Audit Qualification form).

IPD and STE progress should be recorded online.

My ETWE form doesn’t look like the one on the website. Will it be accepted when I apply for membership?
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The ETWE form shown on the website at icaew.com/twe was issued in 2009. All students who have registered since at least June 2009 should be using this form. If you had already recorded your technical work experience on an alternative form (an older document) before this date, then this will be accepted.

Please note that if you want to record any audit work experience you gain as an ACA student towards the Audit Qualification (AQ), then you will need to record this on your ETWE form and will also need to record this separately on the Audit Qualification application

How much detail do we have to include on the ETWE form?
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You should record the total number of TWE days completed every six months on your ETWE form. Your employer might require a more detailed record of how you have spent your time; you should discuss this with your employer.

I’ve heard that I need to record the audit experience I gain as an ACA student on the ETWE form and on another form too. Is this right?
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Yes – if you think that your future career may require you to sign off audit reports, then you will need to make sure you have already gained the Audit Qualification (AQ). Any relevant audit experience you gain as an ACA student can be counted towards the AQ as long as you have recorded this on the correct AQ application form. See details and criteria at icaew.com/aq.

If a student is rated as under-performing, can the employer still sign them off as ‘fit and proper’?
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This highlights the need for six month reviews. Any performance issues should be addressed with the student during the review process. If an employer is unhappy with the quality of work produced by a student, then we would advise the employer to discuss extending the period of training until the student has met the goals you have put in place.

If you are talking under-performance this would really relate to meeting IPD levels, and you should ensure you are happy that each level has been met before you sign the level off.

Fitness and propriety are more about honesty, integrity and professionalism. If the student is still employed with you I would imagine that they do meet the condition of 'fit and proper', but please email our applications team to discuss specifics if you are still concerned.

I work for an audit firm – how do I record audit experience?
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You should record your audit experience as part of your technical work experience days on your Evidence of Technical Work Experience (ETWE) form. However, if your audit firm is based in certain countries (including the UK), then you may also be able to count the audit experience you gain as an ACA student towards the Audit Qualification (AQ). In this case, you would also need to record any relevant audit experience on the Audit Qualification (AQ) application form.

Don’t forget to discuss and sign off any relevant audit experience at each of your six-monthly reviews.