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Six-monthly reviews FAQs

Frequently asked questions about six-monthly reviews.

What are six-monthly reviews and what do I and my employer have to do?
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Six-monthly reviews are an opportunity for you to discuss what you have learnt so far and assess your ACA training progress and development with your employer or principal. All ACA students in a training agreement are required to meet with their or principal employer at least every six months during their period of training.

These regular reviews are to discuss and monitor your progress on all components of the ACA qualification - professional development, ethics and professional scepticism, practical work experience and exams. They help to ensure that you are on track to qualify as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant and make it easier for you and your employer to identify if you need any additional support or guidance.

It is your responsibility to update your training records within your online training file and to organise each six-monthly review with your employer or principal.

What am I required to do for the six-monthly reviews?

It is your responsibility to arrange a suitable time to meet with your employer or principal every six months. However, your employer or principal will do everything they can to facilitate these meetings. The meeting time needs to be long enough so that you discuss the following:

  • your study and exam progress since your last review;
  • your progress through the professional development ladders;
  • the practical work experience you have gained since your last review;
  • your progress through the ethics learning programme;
  • ethical scenario discussions;
  • any audit experience you may have undertaken (if relevant); and
  • any additional experience, activity or action you may need.
Do I need to discuss ethics at every six-monthly review?

Yes. At each review you will discuss your ethics progress. This includes your progress through the online Ethics Learning Programme and the Practising Ethics webinars. You are also required to discuss present your thoughts on at least one scenario from the Practising Ethics webinars and a real ethical situation.

Who can conduct my six-monthly reviews and sign off? Does this have to be an ICAEW member?
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ICAEW requires pre-agreed, authorised individuals to be involved in six-monthly reviews and sign off process. This will usually be your counsellor, QPRT (qualified person responsible for training), or authorised training principal.

Ideally, your counsellor, QPRT or authorised training principal should be an ICAEW member, but where this is not possible they can be a member of one of the following professional bodies: ACCA, CIMA, CIPFA, ICAS or CAI or equivalent international bodies.

If your employer or principal wants more information on roles and responsibilities regarding who can/cannot sign off which documents, they can find this in their employer handbook.

My QPRT is an ICAEW Chartered Accountant, but my managers are all locally qualified chartered accountants. Can they conduct my six-monthly reviews (and my QPRT conduct the final sign off)?
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If your counsellor or direct manager is a member of ACCA, CIMA, CIPFA, ICAS or CAI or equivalent international bodies then they can conduct your reviews.

Regarding your final sign off, this must be done by the QPRT (qualified person responsible for training). If your QPRT has not previously been involved in your reviews, then whoever has been involved in your reviews will need to discuss your development with the QPRT so that the have the necessary information to be able to declare you fit and proper to become an ICAEW member.

Can my reviews be held once a year instead of every six months?
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No. It is a requirement of your ACA training agreement that you meet with your employer or principal for a review at least twice a year. Your employer should be committed to the review process, as this is also what is required of them as part of the ICAEW authorised training employer or principal agreement.

My employer wants to have a progress review every quarter, is this OK?
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Yes, it’s absolutely fine if your employer wants to have more than two reviews a year.

My employer won’t make the time for six-monthly reviews, what should I do?
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Your employer or principal should be committed to conducting regular reviews with you. If your employer or principal has refused to meet with you on a number of occasions, make sure you keep a record of your conversations, so that you can show that you have tried to set up these meetings. Providing you have this evidence, then you will have met your part of the ACA training agreement.

If you would like to speak to someone for advice, call our student support team on +44 (0)1908 248 250 or email us at studentsupport@icaew.com.

Remember: you should continue to complete your records as you progress through your training agreement, irrespective of whether they have been reviewed.

I haven’t had any six-monthly reviews since I joined my employer. Will have to start all over again?
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No. As long as you are with the same employer or principal, you should look to set up a meeting as soon as possible and get your online practical work experience records signed off. This will help bring your online training file up-to-date. You should then ensure that you have regular six-monthly review meetings.

I have completed some professional development, practical work experience and professional ethics and scepticism in my first year of training, but not recorded any of it. Will I fail my six-monthly review?
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Your six-monthly reviews are not based on a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ mark. They are, however, an essential part of your ACA training agreement and you will not be eligible to qualify as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant if your progress has not been recorded and signed off at regular intervals.

If you have not recorded your progress for a while, we recommend you catch up immediately. You will need to arrange a six-monthly review with your employer as soon as possible to discuss your progress so far, identify any areas where you might need further support, and get the relevant sections signed off.

Remember: it is your responsibility to produce accurate and timely training records throughout your training agreement. These should then form the basis of discussion at each of your six-monthly reviews.

What happens if I miss a six-monthly review I have set up?
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As a student, it is your responsibility to arrange six-monthly reviews and to ensure that you meet with your employer at least twice a year. If you refuse to arrange these meetings, ignore a meeting request or miss a scheduled review, your employer or principal may choose to treat this as a disciplinary offence or as a sign of underperformance. It is therefore important that you do your best to arrange and attend these six-monthly reviews.