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Exam software

The ACA is one of the most advanced learning and professional development accountancy programmes available. We strive to provide a qualification reflective of the current workplace and constantly evaluate and update the ACA. As part of these continuous advancements we are updating our exam software to improve the student experience and to ensure that the ACA continues to reflect modern accountancy practices.

Our new exam software features pioneering integrations with data analytics software and a digital bookshelf. The data analytics software will allow you to manipulate and interrogate data, demonstrating your professional skills. The bookshelf will include your digital learning materials, with any notes that you have made, and will be available in any of the open book exams. These integrations mean that our exams will work just like you work in the office.

What's new?

The new exam software is launching in March 2021 and includes:

  • Data analytics software that allows you to analyse a company’s data so that you can demonstrate your professional skills as an auditor. This will be built initially into Professional Level Audit and Assurance and Advanced Level Corporate Reporting.
  • Access to your digital bookshelf to view your learning materials digitally within the relevant open book exams.
  • Digital copies of relevant permitted texts such as the tax tables within the exam so that you can easily search for the content that you need.
  • Developing the ability to sit the exams in any location with the use of remote invigilation, reducing your need to travel to an exam centre.

The software has been designed specifically for ACA students and has had input from students from the start of the design. The new exam software has an intuitive user interface and includes features such as:

  • The ability to arrange and adjust question and response areas in a variety of layout options.
  • Spreadsheet software that reflects commonly used applications. The spreadsheet contains standard functionality that allow you to make your calculations and adjust them if needed, just as you would in the work place.
  • A word processor that auto adjust to the size of the response that you are writing and allows you to copy in the data from the spreadsheet as part of the report.
  • An easy to use question flagging system so you can easily navigate through the exam.
  • A suite of tools such as calculator, notepad and highlighter so that you have everything you need to complete the exam and make notes as you go.
  • New options to zoom and amend the colour contrast giving you the best accessibility options yet.

Preparing for your exam

Exam practice software

It is vital to become familiar with how the software works and its various functions. We have created a blank exam practice software to be used alongside any question practice. 

The DAS Exam practice software is suitable for Professional level Audit and Assurance and Advanced level Corporate Reporting modules only.

If you are accessing the exam practice software on an Apple device, please complete this form.

View the video below for a walkthrough of the exam software covering the key features and functionalities, data analytics software and the ICAEW Bookshelf.

Within the exam software, in the spreadsheet area, there are a number of keyboard shortcuts you can use during your exam.

View the video below for a walkthrough guide on the functionality of the exam software as well as how to use it, resize areas and more. 

Permitted texts

Only certain publications are permitted in the Professional Level Audit and Assurance, Financial Accounting and Reporting and Tax Compliance exams.

You are still able to take hard copy materials into their open book exams, subject to space restrictions. Please note: the IFRS Blue Book will only be available in hard copy, so you are permitted to take this hard copy text into your FAR IFRS exam. There will not be a PDF of the IFRS Blue Book available to use within the exam software.

For more information on permitted texts click here.

Exam FAQs

Live webinar

Data analytics software

ICAEW is introducing data analytics software into ACA exams, starting with the Audit and Assurance exam in March 2021, followed by Corporate Reporting in July 2021.

Chartered Accountants are increasingly using more advanced approaches to interrogate client data. Embedding these techniques within our exams ensures that we continue to reflect the current and future workplace and will also help to develop your judgement, professional scepticism and critical thinking skills.

You will need to be familiar with how the software works and its various functions. It is therefore important that you work through the relevant explanatory guidance notes, using the practice datasets that we have created. You should then attempt the practice questions.

The link to the 11 month dataset for the advance information is within the advance information document.  


Please note: these resources can only be accessed by ACA students and ICAEW Partners in Learning.  

Audit and Assurance

Corporate Reporting

Important information

You must logout of the practice Data Analytics Software after each time you use it.

Immediately before a remote invigilation exam you must ensure that you have cleared your Chrome browsing history (including any cookies). During your exam, you should access the Data Analytics Software only by clicking on the link in the exam software.

Information on how to log out can be found here

Watch the video

Data analytics software - live webinar