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ACA training agreement FAQs

Frequently asked questions about ACA training agreement.

All answers are accurate as of November 2018, unless otherwise stated.

I am an ACA student Can I use the ACA letters after my name?
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No. You cannot use the designatory letters ACA after your name until you are admitted to membership as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. ICAEW treats any inappropriate use of the ACA designation as a very serious offence.

What is an ACA training agreement?
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It is a formal, written agreement between a student and an employer that is specific to your ACA training. It outlines the support you will receive from your employer while you study and what is expected from you in return.

Your training agreement is likely to cover;

For more information please refer to the Training Agreement: Overview

What is required to become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant?
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If you are based outside the UK, please go ACA training in other countries for more information.

There are four essential elements of the ACA qualification that need to be successfully completed to be eligible for ICAEW membership. These are: the 15 examinations, practical work experience (PWE), professional development ladders (PD) and ethics and professional scepticism (ELP).

In addition, students must complete a training agreement for a minimum of three years and undergo regular appraisal/progress reviews during that time with your employer. When you have completed these elements on your training file and your employer has completed the final sign off, you will be invited to ICAEW membership after your training records have been processed.

How many years can I reduce and extend a training agreement by?
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Most students must have a minimum of a three year training agreement (unless you have registered through the AAT-ACA Fast Track route or meet requirements for a reduction in the length of a training agreement). The length of a training agreement shall be determined in accordance with the ACA student regulations and by agreement between the student and authorised training employer which is to provide the approved training. The maximum period of time a student may enter into a training agreement is five years, unless the student is training under a strategic degree or other programme offered in partnership with an ICAEW Partner in Learning.

Do I have to complete all of my training agreement at one organisation?
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ICAEW encourages students to stay with their employer for the duration of their training agreement where possible. If you change employer part way through, they must be an ICAEW authorised training employer (ATE)for your ACA training to continue.

In addition, any new employer could ask you to complete additional practical work experience or training to demonstrate your skills and also to help them recover any training costs. A training agreement at any new employer would need to be for a minimum of three months and include at least 65 days of practical work experience.

If I complete all four elements of the ACA (exams, TWE, IPD and STE) prior to the end of my training agreement, am I required to stay with my employer until the end of my training agreement?
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You cannot apply for ICAEW membership until you have fully completed your ACA training agreement. ICAEW encourages students to stay with their employer for the duration of their training agreement, if this is not possible then you will be required to re-register into another training agreement to complete the remaining time. Please be advised that if this is under three months then you will be required to register for a minimum of three months and obtain at least 65 practical work experience days.

I am changing employer part way through my ACA training agreement, what do I have to do?
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Ensure that your training file is up to date and all entries have been confirmed by your employer before they cancel the training agreement. Please be advised that your practical work experience entries need to be recorded until the date the training agreement is cancelled.

Do I need to get any forms or sign offs completed before I leave if I change employer part way through my ACA training agreement?
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You will need to ensure that your employer has confirmed/provided feedback for all entries on your training file.

Remember your new employer cannot sign off any work experience you gained while you were working at your previous employer, so you must get everything signed before you leave. You should therefore always make sure that your records are accurate and up to date before you consider moving to a new employer.

If I change employers half way through my training agreement, how is this recorded?
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The following things need to happen:

  1. The employer you are leaving must cancel the training agreement they have with you.
  2. You will need to complete a re-registration form with your new employer (who must be an ICAEW authorised training employer).
I have switched employer during my training agreement and have not done the Professional Development Ladders and ethics learning programme so far. Do I need to get those stages signed off by my new employer or previous employer?
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Your new employer can only sign off development and ethical behavior evidenced by them ie, at your new place of work. So you will need to complete all the Professional Development Ladders and the ethics learning programme requirements with your new employer. But remember, you are not losing development; you just have to demonstrate it to your new employer. If you have the skills, then you should quickly be able to demonstrate them, so it should not delay the completion.

Should my ACA training agreement be extended if I can’t sit the Case Study exam before the end of my training agreement?
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ICAEW regulations state that the Case Study exam cannot be sat until you are in the final 12 months of a training agreement. However, students can have completed their training agreement before sitting the Case Study. So, in this case, you do not need to extend your training agreement.

If you have not completed your practical work experience (PWE) within your training agreement, you would need to extend the agreement to ensure you accumulated enough PWE to meet requirements.

If I’ve finished my three year training but not finished all the ACA examinations, do I need to extend my training agreement?
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If you have completed your training agreement, you will not be required to extend your agreement in order to complete the examinations. You are able to sit the remaining examinations as an independent student.

I have not yet completed my training agreement, but have now completed my 450 PWE days, my Professional Development Ladders and the ethics learning programme. Can I submit my training file before the end of my three year training agreement?
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You will be unable to submit your training file for final approval until the end date of your training agreement. You are required to complete a minimum 3 year training agreement and obtain at least 450 practical work experience days.

Who is eligible to complete an ACA training agreement in two years?
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Some individuals with previous professional qualifications (such as AAT, ACCA etc) may be eligible. For more details, please see Join us as a member of another body

What documentation do I need to provide ICAEW to demonstrate that I am eligible for membership?
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You will need to prove to ICAEW that you have successfully completed all the required components of the ACA.

  • ICAEW will have records of your exam history and will be aware of when you have successfully completed all the relevant exams.
  • Please ensure that your training file has been signed off and Audit Qualification tab (if applicable)

How do I access my training file?
You are able to access your training file by going to your dashboard, there will be a link which takes you to the training file. Alternatively you can login to the ICAEW website then change the URL to www.icaew.com/trainingfile.
My training file says that it has been more than 12 months since my end date and I cannot add any anything, how do I add practical work experience (PWE)?
Please call/email the student support team and request the manual forms to complete your training file.
My training file says that I have the relevant amount of days, however have not recorded all periods of practical work experience. What does this mean?
This will usually mean that you have not recorded practical work experience until the end date of your training agreement, please be advised that if you have re-registered into a new agreement midway through your training make sure that you have recorded up until the previous agreement was cancelled as well.