The ACA will open doors to limitless opportunities in all areas of accountancy, business and finance anywhere in the world. ICAEW Chartered Accountants work at the highest levels as finance directors, CEOs and partners of some of the world’s largest organisations.
Becoming a member of ICAEW is straightforward. The most important thing to remember is to keep your training records up to date. You will be doing this throughout the duration of your ACA training agreement, so it’s all very manageable. This will mean your online training file is current when the expected end date of your training agreement arrives and it will be easy for us to check and verify your records once you have submitted them at the end of your training agreement.
The information below outlines what you need to do when you come to the end of your training and answers some of the frequently asked questions we receive.
Use of the ACA letters
As an ACA student you are not eligible to use the ACA letters after your name, refer to yourself as 'qualified', 'chartered', an 'ICAEW member / ICAEW Chartered Accountant' etc.
You can only use these terms when you have completed all of the following:
- successfully completed all elements of the ACA; and
- submitted your training file to your employer for final sign-off; and
- your employer has signed off your training file; and
- your file has been verified by ICAEW; and
- you have been invited to apply for your ICAEW membership; and
- you have joined ICAEW membership and paid the required admission and annual subscription fee.
If you have not been confirmed as an ICAEW member, you are not allowed to use any the ACA letters or use any of these terms. ICAEW takes any misuse of these terms very seriously.
When do I become eligible for membership?
You will be invited to join ICAEW as a member when you have:
- passed or received credits for all of the ACA exams;>
- completed your practical work experience requirements (a minimum of 450 days unless you were eligible for 300 days);
- completed all professional development steps;
- completed your ethics and professional scepticism requirements which includes achieving a minimum of 70% at the ethics assessment*;
- completed your training agreement with an ICAEW authorised training employer or principal; and
- completed and submitted your online training file with the final sign off.
You have up to 12 months to apply and become an ICAEW member from your eligibility date; this includes any queries we have when we verify your records. If you apply after this time, you will incur a late application fee and we will request additional information from you. Your eligibility or qualification date is the latter of:
- the date you were notified you passed the last of your ACA exams; or
- the date you were awarded the ethics assessment; or
- the date your training agreement was completed (including any extension).
*Please note that from 1 January 2019, all ACA students must achieve a minimum of 70% within the ethics assessment. This means, that at the end of your training agreement, you will only be able to submit your training file for final sign off when you have achieved 70% or more at the assessment, completed all professional development steps, successfully passed all exams (or gained credit) and achieved 450 days' practical work experience.
How do I submit my training records?
Submit your online training records
It’s never been easier to submit your training records; just log in to your online training file to complete your records and submit them to your employer or principal for the final sign off straight away.
When you have submitted your training records and we have verified them, you will receive your invitation to join ICAEW as a member. This invitation is sent to you by email. To ensure you receive this email and continue to receive updates from us, please make sure your contact details are up to date. You can check and update them via your online training file.
You have up to 12 months to apply and become an ICAEW member from your eligibility date; this includes any queries we have when we verify your records. If you apply after this time, you will incur a late application fee and we will request additional information from you. We recommend that you allow sufficient time for your records to be verified and for any queries to be raised to ensure that your records are signed off and verified within the 12-month period. Please note that we receive a high volume of records from August to January each year, so the verification process can take more than 12 weeks.
How does the process work?
When the end date of your training agreement arrives, you will need to submit your training records to us. Please do ensure that your records are up to date and that your employer or principal has signed them off before you send them to us.
You can submit your training records to us online. See the question above 'How do I submit my training records' which provides more detail on submitting your file.
Here is an overview of the process step-by-step:
- Submit your completed training records to us.
- We will send you an email to acknowledge receipt of your training records and we will start to verify them. Please note that the process takes a minimum of 7-10 working days. If we need to verify anything with you, we will contact you.
- When your records are verified, we will send you an invitation to become an ICAEW member. You will receive this by email.
- Once you receive this email you can become a member straight away, you just need to complete a short online form and pay your membership and admission fees (see ‘Cost of membership’ below).If you prefer to pay using a different method, other options are available.
- You will now receive an email to confirm you are an ICAEW member and your payment has been received.
- Congratulations, you can now call yourself an ICAEW Chartered Accountant and can use the ACA designatory letters after your name. As an ICAEW member you will have access to a wide range of events, technical information, career support, networking opportunities and much more.
Cost of membership
Please see the 2024 membership joining fees listed below.
To join ICAEW, there is a one-off admission fee and an annual membership.
Admission fee (one-off cost)
Membership fee (annual cost)
Total for 2024
1 January-30 June 2024
£600 – UK*
£300 – outside UK
£1,050 – UK
£750 – non-UK
1 July-31 December 2024
£600 – UK*
£300 – outside UK
£825 – UK
£525 – non-UK
*Includes the Isle Of Man and the Channel Islands.
Please note: ICAEW membership runs on an annual basis from 1 January to 31 December each year. A half rate membership fee is available for new members joining from 1 July onwards. The admission fee is a one-off fee payable upon joining and is therefore not prorated.
When should I submit my training records?
You can submit your training records when the end date of your training agreement arrives.
We recommend that you submit your training records as early as possible to allow time for your records to be verified. You have a period of 12 months, from your eligibility date, to become a member. This includes time to resolve any questions or queries we may have when we verify your records.
Submit your online training records
It's never been easier to submit your training records; simply log in to your online training file, ensure you have completed all the tabs within the file (which includes achieving 70% or more at the ethics assessment) and your employer or principal has signed your records off. You can then submit your records straight away.
How long does the process take?
When you submit your training records, it can take about 7-10 working days, or longer at peak times (January-August).
You have 12 months from your eligibility date, to become a member. If you apply after this time, your application will be categorised as ‘delayed’ and you will incur a £100 (+ VAT) additional charge. We will also request some additional information from you. Please note that this 12-month period also includes the time it takes us to verify your records and to deal with any queries we may have.
We recommend that you submit your training records as early as possible to allow time for your records to be verified.
How do I apply for ICAEW membership?
Once you receive your invitation to membership by email you can become a member straight away. You just need to complete a short online form and pay your membership and admission fees. If you prefer to pay using a different method, other options are available.
You will receive a confirmation email of ICAEW admission. Congratulations you can now start to use the ACA designatory letters and call yourself an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.
Your ICAEW membership certificate will be posted out to you about 4-6 weeks after joining ICAEW. Please make sure your contact details are up to date, so you receive your certificate. You can update your details via your ICAEW account (top right hand of any ICAEW web page).
After joining ICAEW membership – what happens next?
- Once you have applied for your ICAEW membership and paid the required admission and annual subscription fee, you can then start to use the ACA letters, say you are 'qualified', an 'ICAEW member / ICAEW Chartered Accountant' etc.
- To remain an ICAEW Chartered Accountant in the future, you will need to renew and pay your annual subscription fee each year. This is due by 1 January of each year. The annual subscription fee covers you from 1 January-31 December of each year.
- Within about 24 hours of joining ICAEW membership, your name will appear on the online ICAEW Member Register (unless you have asked for your name to be removed). You can find the Member Register at https://find.icaew.com/
- You have worked hard to become recognised as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant, so do feel free to share your success on your social media channels.
- We will post your ICAEW membership certificate to you about 8 weeks after you have become an ICAEW member. To ensure this arrives at the correct location – please check / update your contact details in your ICAEW account – access this from the person icon at the top right of any ICAEW webpage.
Your ICAEW membership certificate will be posted out to you about 8 weeks after joining ICAEW membership. Please make sure your contact details are up to date, so we can post it to the correct address. Check/update your details in your ICAEW account (access via the person icon in the top right of any ICAEW web page).
Within about 48 hours of joining into membership, your name will appear on our Register of Chartered Accountants (unless you have requested it not to be shown). You can find the Register at icaew.com/find
Benefits of membership
When you become an ICAEW member, you will be able to call yourself an ICAEW Chartered Accountant and use the globally respected ACA designatory letters after your name.
Stand out and stay ahead with ICAEW membership
This is no ordinary achievement, and your premium qualification sets you apart as a member of a highly influential and respected professional body which connects you to a wider global community of financial experts. This means you’re well placed to pursue the most interesting and rewarding opportunities at every stage of your career.
As your professional body we will:
- Help you to take advantage of a career full of opportunity, mobility and flexibility.
- Create opportunities for you to meet, build connections and share ideas with like-minded professionals, wherever you are in the world.
- Maintain your respected status within the profession, as a member of a progressive, influential and internationally-regarded professional body.
Delayed applications for ICAEW membership
You have a 12-month window to join ICAEW as a member from your eligibility date*. This timeframe includes submitting your training records to ICAEW, your training records being checked and verified and any queries we may have, receiving your email invitation to join as a member, completing a short online membership application form and paying your admission and membership fees.
Any application you make after your 12-month deadline will need to be via the delayed application process. This incurs extra costs and extra paperwork including references as shown below.
Extra documents required
Please complete and submit the following information to email@example.com:
- your up-to-date CV;
- completed Continuing Professional Development (CPD) records form (Word 36KB/2 pages), submit one sheet per year and include where applicable the relevant courses that you have attended;
- two references**; and
- a covering letter detailing why your application is delayed.
* Eligibility - the regulations (43) of ICAEW state that a student must apply for membership within 12 months from the date of eligibility. Eligible in this case refers to the later of:
- the date you received notification of your last exam (typically the end of the month after which you took your exams); or
- the date you were awarded the ethics assessment; or
- the end date of your training agreement.
** Referees - one of your referees must be a current ICAEW member who has known you for at least the last two years in a professional capacity. Your current employer should be one of your referees. Please ensure that the referees comment on your fitness for ICAEW membership, including whether, to their knowledge, there are any criminal, disciplinary, ethical or any other matters that might affect your application. If your employer cannot comment on your fitness for membership, please arrange for a third reference accordingly from an ICAEW member. References are only valid for 3 months.
- Once you have submitted your application documents to firstname.lastname@example.org, we will review them.
- If we have any queries we will get back to you by email.
- Once we have verified your application, we will contact you for the £100 (+VAT) delayed application admin fee.
- Once this is paid, you will be invited to join ICAEW as a member.
- You will need to join into ICAEW membership using the link in the email. There is a short form to complete and the admission and annual membership fees to pay at that point.
- Once you have done this, you will become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant and can start to use the ACA letters, call yourself ‘qualified’ / an ICAEW Chartered Accountant / ICAEW member.
See the earlier section for information about receiving your membership certificate.
Post-qualification and CPD requirements
When you qualify as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant you are required to maintain and develop your expertise and professional skills throughout your career. This is known as continuing professional development (CPD). You will need to keep a record of your skills development activities each year.
All ICAEW members are required to make an annual CPD declaration that confirms their CPD status. You should keep evidence of your CPD activities as we may ask to see this evidence at any point during your career.
You will also need to comply with the ICAEW Code of Ethics.
To help you develop your technical and professional skills, our Academy of Professional Development offers a comprehensive curriculum of courses and programmes to support you throughout your career.
Read more on our Academy of Professional Development.
Signing audit reports
Individuals who wish to sign audit reports are required under the Companies Act 2006 to hold an appropriate qualification for audit.
Read more on the Audit Qualification.
If you are planning to engage in public practice in the UK or the rest of the EEA, you need to hold an ICAEW practising certificate and comply with our Professional Indemnity Insurance and Practice Assurance Regulations. You are eligible to apply for a practising certificate once you have been a member for more than two years.
Once you have been a member for 10 years, you are eligible for fellowship of ICAEW. This means you will then be able to use the letters FCA instead of ACA. The FCA designation is recognised globally. It enhances your credentials and demonstrates your commitment to the profession.
Read more on fellowship.
If you have any enquiries in relation to post qualification please contact us on +44(0)1908 248 250.
New members' ceremony
All new members are invited to a New Members’ Ceremony at the Chartered Accountants’ Hall in London.
We host three events per year, and they are free to attend and celebrate your achievements together with your friends and family.
This is a fantastic occasion to meet your fellow new members and the ICAEW President will personally congratulate and welcome each new member on the stage. The formal presentations are followed by a drinks reception with canapés, live music from a string quartet and a chance to explore the historic building. A professional photographer will also be on hand to take pictures of you and your family.
Our dedicated student support team is on hand to help and advise you throughout your training.