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Your professional development responsibilities as an ACA student

Hints and tips designed to help you record and document your professional development.

Hints and tips when recording your professional development

While studying for the ACA, you are required to demonstrate competence across seven professional skill areas throughout your training. These areas are also known as the ICAEW professional development ladders, and include 52 individual skills.

The full set of ladders is presented within the professional development section of your online training file. They must be completed incrementally by adding an example to each skill within your file and obtaining feedback from the person or people appointed to review ICAEW training records within your organisation. Once feedback has been obtained, you must upload their comments to the employer feedback boxes. If you are unsure who is responsible for reviewing records at your organisation, please ask a member of your HR team or contact our student support helpline.

If you do not have a professional development tab within your online training file, your employer already implements an accredited professional development training programme, so you will follow your employer's internal competency framework instead.

Documenting your professional development - hints and tips

  1. When documenting the professional development skills you have gained within your training file, your examples should be specific, clear and relevant to the question being asked. Follow the STAR approach to give your answer structure and detail. Aim for one or two sentences for each of the letters S, T, A and R.
    Situation – Provide some context to your example. What was the engagement or project?
    Task – Specify your personal role within the situation.
    Action – Describe what you did, and crucially, how you did it.
    Result – Justify why you performed the skill well. What was the positive outcome?
  2. Step back from your answer. Is it clear to somebody who wasn’t involved? Does the example show clear competence in the skill in question? What more might a reviewer need to know? Add and adapt as required.
  3. Finally, ensure your progress through the professional development ladders is always reasonable in relation to how long you have been training. These skills are not just for qualified accountants. They start to develop from the moment you begin working.