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How does the AAT to ACA route work?

This page provides you with an overview of how the route works and how your staff can make the most of their AAT qualification and training to fast-track their way into ICAEW Chartered Accountancy.

AAT members and those who have completed the AAT Level 4 can claim exemptions for some of the 15 ACA exams and up to one year’s worth of work experience – sitting fewer exams and qualifying faster.

If you have Level 3 AAT trainees, you can take steps now to put them onto the Fast Track route later. 

What can be fast-tracked?

There are two elements of the ACA training that eligible trainees could "skip" to qualify faster, provided that they have completed these through their AAT qualification.

  1. Exams - via Credit for Prior Learning
  2. Work experience - through claiming up to 12 months' prior work experience

Below you can see how and if they can do so.

1) Exams - Credit for Prior Learning

Those with the Level 4 AAT qualification could gain credit for up to five modules of the first stage of the ACA, also known as the Certificate Level.

The eligible modules are inside the dotted squares.



The checking and claiming process can be done online on our website.

2) Work Experience

In order for trainees to claim the one year of work experience, they need to have completed this with an ICAEW Authorised Training Employer. An Authorised Training Employer (ATE) is essentially any organisation that has gained the right to train ICAEW students. 

See what applies, depending on your status as an employer.

If you are not an ATE:

  • AAT-qualified or AAT members - if they completed their training with a different employer, who was an ATE, they might be eligible to claim prior work experience
  • Your current and future Level 4 AAT trainees - by becoming an ATE, any work experience they undertake could count towards the ACA requirement.
  • Your current Level 3 AAT trainees - become an ATE early on, so their Level 4 AAT training counts towards the ACA requirement.

If you become an ATE, any of your existing or future AAT trainees will very likely be able to take advantage of this benefit.

If you are an ATE:

  • AAT-qualified or AAT members - if they completed their training with you, or an organisation that was an ATE, they could be eligible to claim prior work experience.
  • Your existing and future AAT trainees - They could be eligible to claim up to 12 months' prior work experience.

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