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Level 4 Accounting Technician Apprenticeship: student guide

You have taken the first steps towards becoming an ICAEW Chartered Accountant with the Level 4 Accounting Technician Apprenticeship through the ACA.

This accounting apprenticeship will help you to develop knowledge, skills and behaviours needed within an entry-level role in accountancy and will enable you to qualify as a Level 4 Accounting Technician. You will develop your knowledge, skills and behaviours, required by the apprenticeship standard, through a combination of off-the-job training and practical experience in the workplace. Your apprenticeship will involve completing the first stage of the ACA qualification with additional apprenticeship-specific requirements over 18-24 months. Here is all the information you need.

If you are studying the Level 4 apprenticeship through ICAEW CFAB, view the student guide

Your journey

The Level 4 Accounting Technician Apprenticeship involves progressing through and completing six stages.

Level 4 Accounting Technician apprenticeship journey 

1) Key documents

You will be given the following documents:

  • employment contract; and
  • commitment statement and apprenticeship agreement.

Once you, your employer and training provider have signed the commitment statement and apprenticeship agreement, your training provider will register you as an apprentice with the education and skills funding agency (ESFA).

Your employer will also give you a training agreement, this relates to the ACA element of the apprenticeship. It will confirm the start and end date and length of time of your training agreement, as well as outlining the support your employer will provide.

Support from your employer Support from your training provider Support from us
 Your employer will provide financial support and cover the costs for your training throughout your apprenticeship. Studying for the ACA means your employer will support you professionally, helping you to develop the skills needed to become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.  Your training provider will support and guide you in developing the knowledge, skills and behaviours necessary for achieving the Level 4 Accounting Technician Apprenticeship. They should be your first port of call for any apprenticeship-specific queries.   We provide a variety of resources as you progress through the first stage of the ACA qualification, including exam resources, student benefits, how to guides, webinars and more. Our dedicated student support team is also on hand to help you with your ACA-specific enquiries, call +44 (0)1908 248 250 or email.

2) Register as a student

It’s really important that you register with us as a student and correctly select the type of student you’re registering as. This means we can provide you with the relevant information that you’ll need during your apprenticeship and ensures that you are awarded your apprenticeship certificate.

Please note that, in order to study for the ACA you will need to meet our minimum entry requirements. It is also a government requirement that before you attempt your end-point assessment, you will be asked to demonstrate that you have achieved Level 2 or above GCSE Maths and English (or equivalent). You may need to take an additional Functional Skills assessment, if you have not met this requirement. Your training provider will arrange this for you.

Apprenticeship-specific information

Remember to have your 10-digit unique learner number (ULN) and your nine-digit employer’s reference number (ERN) to hand before you register. Your training provider will give you these numbers. They are apprenticeship-specific and you will be asked to provide these details during the registration process. Please note that the ERN, sometimes referred to as an EDRS, is different to your employer’s ICAEW authorised training employer number. You may also locate your ULN on certificates issued by other exam or qualification-awarding bodies. If you don’t provide these numbers when you register, that’s OK, just remember to tell us before applying for your end-point assessment. You will be able to do this via the apprenticeship portal within your ICAEW online training file.

3) On-programme assessment

During the on-programme assessment, you will need to study for the six ACA Certificate Level exams. You will develop knowledge, skills and behaviours, important for any finance or business role and undertake off-the-job training. Quarterly progress review meetings will also be held with your employer or training provider to discuss your skills development progress. They will confirm when these meetings are to take place. These meetings, along with the six-monthly reviews with your employer, will help to identify any further training you need and whether you’re ready to move on to the end-point assessment. The duration of the on-programme assessment stage of the apprenticeship is flexible and depends on your progress.

Throughout this time, you will also maintain and update your ICAEW online training file, gain practical work experience, and develop your ethical and professional development skills as part of the ACA. These elements are explained in detail within the ACA student guide.

4) Gateway

Your employer will confirm when you’re ready to move on to the end-point assessment; this is known as the gateway review.

5) End-point assessment

The end-point assessment consists of two parts:

Portfolio and reflective statement

The portfolio and reflective statement demonstrates your competence in the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to be an ICAEW Accounting Technician. It is an opportunity for you to show how you have developed competence throughout your apprenticeship and to think about anything you would have done differently, as well as what you have learned through the process.

Role simulation exam

This is a 2.5 hour long, invigilated exam which will test the knowledge, skills and behaviours you have developed during your apprenticeship.

From March 2021, the Role Simulation exam will be computer-based and available only as a remotely invigilated exam. For more information on technical specifications, how to prepare for your remote exams and FAQ's.

6) Certification

Once you have successfully completed both elements of the end-point assessment, we will notify ESFA. You will then receive your apprenticeship certificate from the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA).

Your apprenticeship will provide a variety of options open to you to progress your career.

Gain professional recognition

As an ICAEW Accounting Technician, you can take yourself further by becoming an ICAEW Business and Finance Professional (BFP). By becoming a BFP you will gain recognition from ICAEW, a world-leading professional membership organisation, and have the right to use the BFP designatory letters. You will also have access to professional development resources and continued support from us, such as our invaluable helplines. 

Continue your journey onto becoming an ICAEW Chartered Accountant

Once you have completed your Level 4 apprenticeship, you will automatically be categorised as a standard ACA student. You can continue your journey as either a standard ACA student or as a Level 7 Accountancy Professional Apprenticeship student. If you go on to begin the Level 7 Accountancy Professional apprenticeship, you can update your registration online. You should first select ‘ACA – student in training agreement or an ACA apprenticeship’. Click on ‘View qualifications’ and then select ‘Level 7 apprenticeship’.

Student support helpline

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