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Attract and retain ambitious and talented individuals

Our reputation for leading the way in the development and delivery of professional qualifications will help you to attract and retain highly motivated, talented and ambitious individuals to your organisation.

Our continued focus on access to the profession also enables you to attract the very best to your organisation, irrespective of their background. We continue to develop a wide range of entry points to the profession by:

  • working with our Partners in Learning to develop more online and flexible tuition models;
  • creating a variety of strategic degree partnerships which embed the ACA alongside a degree; and
  • providing more entry routes such as the Higher Apprenticeship in Assurance/Audit and the ICAEW Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business.

The many ways to chartered accountancy

There are a variety of routes to the ACA qualification and a career in chartered accountancy enabling you to attract students from a variety of backgrounds.

Our range of entry routes give you the flexibility to structure a training and development programme for your new recruits or existing staff to meet your business needs. Explore the routes in more detail below.


Routes to the ACA

School leaver

Offer ACA training as part of your school leaver training programme and you’ll attract talent from a diverse range of backgrounds. School leavers can be from all A-level disciplines and don’t have to have studied A-level maths. 

As long as they have two good A-levels, you can choose to allow your students to enter  straight into an ACA training agreement lasting between three and five years. While this is an option, a number of employers ask students to start with ICAEW CFAB, the Higher Apprenticeship or the AAT first, before progressing onto the ACA.

ICAEW Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business

ICAEW’s Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (ICAEW CFAB) provides your employees with essential knowledge and practical skills for today’s business world. It will develop your employees’ business and finance knowledge and skills and enable you to assess their commitment to studying for a professional qualification.

ICAEW CFAB doesn’t require any formal academic entry criteria, has modular computer-based assessments, a variety of study methods and is achievable within 12 months – making it an ideal entry qualification for your new recruits.

How it works

ICAEW CFAB consists of the same modules as the Certificate Level of our chartered accountancy qualification, the ACA. Modules cover Business and Finance, Management Information, Law, Assurance, Principles of Tax and Accounting and are examined by computer-based assessment.

Study routes are flexible and include self-study, online, distance learning, classroom or mix and match the study styles on a module-by-module basis (this is known as blended learning). Exam dates aren’t fixed, meaning exams can be sat in any order and at any time of the year for maximum convenience. Credit for prior learning (also known as exemptions) is also available for a maximum of five modules for those who are studying for, or have relevant qualifications.

Once completed, students will meet the minimum entry requirements of the ACA qualification, at which point you may choose to offer them an ACA training agreement.

Higher Apprenticeship in Assurance/Audit and Tax
We have worked in partnership with specialists and employers to create two distinct pathways of the Professional Services Higher Apprenticeship:
  • Higher Apprenticeship in Assurance/Audit; and
  • Higher Apprenticeship in Tax.
These non-university routes provide a great way for you to recruit finance and accounting talent into your organisation.

How it works

Typically taking two years, the Higher Apprenticeships are nationally-accredited work-based training programmes which combine on and off-the-job learning, classroom tuition, personal development and studying for a qualification, ICAEW CFAB. Built around a core framework, it enables apprentices to gain a mix of technical knowledge, wider competencies and higher level business skills, and helps ensure they operate effectively to quickly become productive employees.

Apprenticeships have benefits for employers of all sizes.

  • Up to 100% of training costs covered: through government funding depending on the sector and age of the apprentice. 
  • Lower recruitment costs: 75% of apprentice employers say the programme has helped cut recruitment costs. 
  • Increased productivity and your bottom line: 81% of apprentice employers say they make their businesses more productive. 
  • A skilled workforce: 82% of employers take on apprentices to build the skills capacity within their business. Apprenticeships deliver skills designed around your business needs, providing the skilled workers you need for the future. They also help you develop the specialist skills you need to keep pace with the latest technology and working practices in your sector. 
  • Improved customer service: 81% of customers favour companies that employ apprentices. 
  • Increased employee satisfaction: 88% of apprentice employers believe they lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce, leading to greater loyalty and quality of work.

On completion of these apprenticeship programmes, apprentices will meet the minimum entry requirements of the ACA qualification and can progress on to an ACA training agreement.

AAT-ACA Fast Track
Designed in partnership with the Association of Accounting Technicians, the AAT-ACA Fast Track gives employers the opportunity to take employees from accounting basics to ICAEW Chartered Accountant in as little as four years!

How it works

The AAT-ACA Fast Track is designed to enable AAT students to progress on to achieve ‘chartered’ status by recognising and building on the technical knowledge they develop during their AAT training. 

The structure of the AAT-ACA Fast Track gives you an ideal opportunity to make the most of your employees’ AAT training. Once they have progressed to the Advanced Level of AAT, as long as you are one of our authorised employers, your students can enter into a training agreement with you and start counting their practical experience towards their ACA training (up to a maximum of 12 months). Once the Advanced Level of AAT has successfully been completed, they will be eligible to progress on to the ACA and can apply for credit for prior learning for up to five ACA modules.


Offering ACA training as part of your graduate training programme will enable you to attract talent from a diverse range of backgrounds. Graduates from all degree disciplines are eligible to start ACA training and with an increasing number of colleges, universities and professional tuition providers offering degrees, you have a wide talent pool to choose from.

While accountancy, finance or business-related degrees aren’t necessary, students with degrees in related subjects may be eligible to apply for credits towards some ACA modules. Visit our Credit for Prior learning web pages to find out more about the universities and degree subjects that are eligible for credits. 

Strategic partnership degrees

We have a number of partnerships with employers and Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) designed to give ambitious students the opportunity to combine their degree with real-life experience of the workplace.

Our partnership programmes help you to strategically develop your talent pipeline and attract talented students from top universities to work for your organisation. Programmes typically involve offering paid internships to second year undergraduates who are looking to get practical experience of the workplace. Experience gained can be counted towards the ACA and graduates are typically eligible for credit towards a number of ACA modules, reducing the time taken to achieve the ACA post-graduation for both you and your student.

Other qualifications

If your employees are a qualified member of another professional accountancy body such as ACCA, ICAI, ICAP, CIMA or CIPFA, they could be eligible to join the ICAEW. We offer various routes to membership, including reciprocal agreements, advanced credit arrangements, common content arrangements and our Pathways to Membership programme.

Support when you need it

Our relationships with schools, colleges and universities can help you to identify the best talent before anyone else does.

Student recruitment team

Our student recruitment team engages with highly motivated students globally, through a range of on and off-campus activities. From presentations and networking sessions, to commercial awareness and employability skills sessions, our engagement activities aim to help our employers to recruit highly motivated and well informed students into their ACA training vacancies. Take a look at our website to see our forthcoming events.


Our national Business, Accounting and Skills Education competition (BASE) has also been fundamental in helping employers to talent spot school leavers for their programmes. A wide range of employers choose to support BASE by offering ACA students or ICAEW members from their organisations to act as mentors for student teams. In addition, many take advantage of exhibition opportunities at the regional heats or national final to raise awareness of their organisation.

Training Vacancies

Advertising your ACA vacancy on our online jobs portal icaewtrainingvacancies.com also extends your reach to students of all ages, globally, who are searching for ACA training agreements. Quick and simple to use, Training Vacancies is heavily promoted to our potential student audience and enables you to advertise roles ranging from school leaver and graduate vacancies to internship and work experience placements.