ICAEW.com works better with JavaScript enabled.

How to apply for the DChA (experience route)

Your step-by-step guide taking you through the application process.

How to apply: Step-by-step instructions

Step one: download the examination of experience
To apply for the DChA experience route, you must complete an Examination of Experience which will ask you to answer a series of questions on your experience to date. Download your copy of the Examination of Experience application form and guidance notes (PDF/16 pages).

If you have a question about the Examination of Experience or your eligibility to apply, please view the frequently asked questions. Alternatively, you can call +44 (0)1908 248 250 or email us.

Step two: approaching your application

To help you prepare your application, we have put together some sample scripts, as well as, guidance and top tips from the assessors (PDF 46KB/4 pages). A pre-recorded webinar* is also available to guide you through the application process and covers how to approach the Examination of Experience and a review of each question. You can also download the webinar presentation slides (PDF 189KB/19 pages).

*Please note that the pre-recorded webinar refers to a charity accounting executive learning course which is no longer available.

Step three: start compiling your application

You should expect to spend at least two days considering, writing and reviewing your answers to the requirements of the Examination of Experience. A good first step is to update your CV; this will help you to identify the best examples to use. You may also find it beneficial to discuss your application with a colleague to help you to identify other examples.

Start each answer on a new page and type the requirement at the top of your answer sheet, so that you can easily refer to it when compiling your answer and use personal experiences in your own words. For each question there is an 'a' and 'b' option relevant to whether you work for a charity or in practice supporting charity clients.

You also need to complete your personal details and mandatory declarations.

Step four: complete the reflective CV
You are required to include a copy of your reflective CV in your application which details your charity finance and accounting experience, and reflects on what you have learnt from each of these experiences. The Examination of Experience details the information to be provided, you can also view the example reflective CV (PDF 22KB/1 page).
Step five: complete the reference section

Your application must also be supported by a reference. Your referee must confirm that they support your application by explaining why in their opinion you are suitable for this award. They must also explain how long and in what capacity they have known you.

Your referee must:

  • Be a member of the Board of Trustees of the charity with which you have most dealings (ie, either work for or give advice to); or
  • Be a member of a professional body with an ethical code (for example ICAEW, ICAS, CAI, CIMA, CIPFA, ACCA, Law Society, Bar Council)
  • Have known you in a professional capacity for at least three of the last five years
  • Have knowledge of the quality and scope of your work (if you have recently changed jobs, you may provide one reference from your current and previous employment, a maximum of two references).

If there is no appropriate person within your organisation, you may nominate someone outside your organisation who has detailed knowledge of your professional work.

Step six: submit your application

There are two submission deadlines per year. You may attempt the DChA experience route up to a maximum of four times.

When you submit your application, it must consist of the following:

  • Completed application form
  • Completed mandatory declarations
  • Completed assessment requirements of the Examination of Experience 
  • A copy of your reflective curriculum vitae
  • A reference supporting your application and explaining your suitability for this award payment of £675 + VAT (£810)

Please do not attach any additional supporting material to your application.

If your application is successful, you will become a DChA award holder and acquire the DChA designatory letters. You will also have the opportunity to appear on a professional, online register and gain up to 12 months free subscription to the Charity and Voluntary Sector Group (for new subscribers only).

Sample scripts

We have put together some sample scripts based on past Examinations of Experience that have achieved a good pass standard. We have chosen examples from two practitioners and two accountants working in a charity.

How to re-apply

If your first application was unsuccessful and you wish to re-apply for the DChA, follow this step-by-step guide on how to resubmit your Diploma in Charity Accounting experience route application.

Step one: download the resubmission Examination of Experience

To re-apply for the DChA experience route, you must complete the resubmission Examination of Experience.

If you have a question about the Examination of Experience or your eligibility to apply, please view the frequently asked questions. Alternatively, you can call +44 (0)1908 248 250 or email us.

Step two: re-approaching your application

To help you prepare your resubmission, we have put together some sample scripts, as well as, guidance and top tips from the assessors. A pre-recorded webinar* is also available to guide you through the application process and covers how to approach the Examination of Experience and a review of each question. You can also download the webinar presentation slides.

*Please note that the pre-recorded webinar refers to a charity accounting executive learning course which is no longer available.

Step three: start compiling your resubmission

Start by reviewing the comments made by the assessors in your feedback and results letter. To re-apply, you need to re-attempt any requirements of the Examination of Experience where you received 0 to 5 marks for requirements 1-6 and 0 to 1 mark for requirement 7.

You may also wish to re-attempt any requirements 1-6, if you received 6 and 10 marks or 2 to 3 marks for requirement 7. Re-attempting these may help lift your total mark.
 
More information and advice on answering each requirement is included within the resubmission Examination of Experience application form and guidance notes.

You also need to complete your personal details and mandatory declarations.

Step four: complete the reflective CV

You are required to include a copy of your reflective CV again within your application. You may use the same reflective CV that you included in your previous submission. However, if a substantial amount of time has passed since your last submission, you will need to update your reflective CV.

Your reflect CV should detail your charity finance and accounting experience, and reflect on what you have learnt from each of these experiences. The resubmission Examination of Experience details the information to be provided, you can also view the example reflective CV.

Step five: complete the reference section

Your application must again be supported by a reference. If you wish, you may use the same referee from your previous submission.

Your referee must confirm that they support your application by explaining why in their opinion you are suitable for this award. They must also explain how long and in what capacity they have known you.

If you use a new referee they must:

  • Be a member of the Board of Trustees of the charity with which you have most dealings (ie, either work for or give advice to)
  • Be a member of a professional body with an ethical code (for example ICAEW, ICAS, CAI, CIMA, CIPFA, ACCA, Law Society, Bar Council)
  • Have known you in a professional capacity for at least three of the last five years
  • Have knowledge of the quality and scope of your work (if you have recently changed jobs, you may provide one reference from your current and previous employment, a maximum of two references)
Step six: submit your application

There are two submission deadlines per year. You may attempt the DChA experience route up to a maximum of four times.

When you submit your application, it must consist of the following:

  • Completed application form
  • Completed mandatory declarations
  • Completed resubmission of the Examination of Experience 
  • A copy of your reflective curriculum vitae 
  • A reference supporting your application and explaining your suitability for this award
  • Payment of £500 + VAT (£600)

Please do not attach any additional supporting material to your application.

If your application is successful, you will become a DChA award holder and acquire the DChA designatory letters. You will also have the opportunity to appear on a professional, online register and gain up to 12 months free subscription to the Charity and Voluntary Sector Group (for new subscribers only).