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ICAEW Accounting Technician Apprenticeship (Level 4)

ICAEW has joined employers, training providers and industry professionals to develop a new trailblazer standard in accountancy. The Level 4 apprenticeship has been designed as an entry-level role in accountancy and is relevant to students working in business, practice, government and charities.

This page provides you with an overview of the ICAEW Accounting Technician Apprenticeship, the student journey and the assessments leading to the successful completion of the Level 4 apprenticeship in Accountancy. 

Throughout the apprenticeship, students will be working and studying at the same time, while developing the required knowledge, skills and behaviours, in order to qualify as an Accounting Technician. 

What’s involved?

Students will develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours required by the standard over the course of their apprenticeship. These will be gained through a combination of off-the-job training and practical experience in the workplace.

Funding

The funding cap for the Level 4 Accounting Technician apprenticeship has been set at £9,000. To find out more about what the funding covers and which fees are included, please visit the relevant area.

Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements, but the apprentice must have GCSE Pass in English and Maths when they attempt the end-point assessment. Employers may wish to set additional entry criteria to suit their organisation.

Study options

The delivery of this apprenticeship can be flexible depending on the employer’s needs. We recommend that employers talk to a training provider about any requirements they may have, as they will be able to help design a programme to suit their business. Employers will need to choose an approved provider from the ESFA’s Register of Training Organisations (RoATP), which is available online at gov.uk/esfa.

Duration

The trailblazer needs to be at least 12 months in duration and typically takes between 18–24 months to complete.

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Structure

The Level 4 Accounting Technician apprenticeship combines work experience and the ICAEW Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (ICAEW CFAB) - our globally recognised stand-alone qualification, which also makes up the certificate level of the ACA. Throughout the programme apprentices develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours required by the standard and which are essential for a career in accountancy.

The employer, along with the tuition provider of their choice, assess each student's performance based on an on-programme and an end-point assessment. Once all elements of the apprenticeship have been successfully completed, the apprentice qualifies as an Accounting Technician.

Assessment overview

Students undertaking ICAEW’s Level 4 Accounting Technician Apprenticeship are assessed through an on-programme and an end-point assessment. 

Students complete the on-programme assessment as they progress through the apprenticeship. This consists of six exams, which make up ICAEW’s Certificate Level of the ACA qualification - ICAEW CFAB. In addition, students are required to maintain a training file and have quarterly progress reviews with their employer or tuition provider. 

Once they have completed this element and the employer verifies that they are provisionally competent, students are able to attempt the end-point assessment. This is made up of a Portfolio and a Reflective Statement, as well as a Role Simulation exam. 

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On-programme assessment

ICAEW CFAB exams

During the apprenticeship, students need to pass six exams that cover the knowledge required by the Level 4 trailblazer standard. These modules, which make up the ICAEW CFAB qualification, are outlined below, along with a short description of the knowledge and the skills that the apprentices gain while studying for them:

  • Accounting: preparing and maintaining financial records, accounting records and financial statements.
  • Assurance: understanding the concept, process and need for assurance and internal controls.
  • Business and Finance: learning about business objectives, functions and structures, as well as the role of finance and governance.
  • Law: understanding company law, insolvency law and the impact of civil and criminal law on business and professional services.
  • Management Information: decision making on costing, pricing, budgeting, forecasting and performance management.
  • Principles of Taxation: understanding objectives and types of tax, as well as their ethics and administration.


The exams can be taken in any order, at any time throughout the year. For more information about what these modules involve, please visit the ICAEW CFAB web page.

Training file

Students keep records of their professional development throughout their apprenticeship using a training file. This enables them to demonstrate that they have become competent in the required knowledge, skills and behaviours. Students are able to do this using either ICAEW’s online training file or their employers’ own accredited system. 

How fast a student progresses through this process is flexible and is managed by the employer. In the quarterly reviews, the student will be provided with feedback on the steps they have achieved and support with any further development they may need. 

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End-point assessment

After a student has completed the on-programme assessment and spent a minimum of 12 months on their apprenticeship programme, the employer will assess whether they are ready to progress to the end-point assessment.

Students are required to successfully pass both elements of the end-point assessment:  

  • a Portfolio and Reflective Statement; and 
  • a Role Simulation exam.

Portfolio and Reflective Statement

These demonstrate the student’s competence in the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to be a Level 4 Accounting Technician. 

The training file that students maintain during the on-programme assessment will contribute to the portfolio and reflective statement. Students need to summarise relevant examples from their training file, and, once complete, the portfolio and reflective statement will be submitted to ICAEW for assessment. 

Role Simulation Exam

The role simulation is a two and a half hour, invigilated exam which tests the knowledge, skills and behaviours that a student will have developed during their apprenticeship. 

There are three sessions for the end-point assessment, held in December, March and June.  

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Designatory letters

During the apprenticeship, or at the successful completion of the programme, Level 4 apprentices are eligible to apply for our new designation, the ICAEW Business and Finance Professional (BFP). Becoming a BFP shows commitment to the profession and to continuous professional development, clearly demonstrated by the use of the relevant letters. 

Find out what is involved here.

Employers can also choose to provide their staff with the BFP designation, showing their commitment to staff development. This also provides them with an opportunity to create a structured career development path within their business that aligns with their training needs and plans. 

To find out more, visit the relevant area.