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Your students must complete a minimum of 450 days of practical work experience, which typically takes between three and five years to complete.

What is practical work experience?

Practical work experience is the undertaking of real-life work of a financial, business or commercial nature. 

ACA students are required to undertake a minimum of 450 days of practical work experience as part of their training agreement. Students should gain experience in one or more of the following areas:

  • Accounting
  • Taxation
  • Financial Management
  • Insolvency
  • Information Technology
  • Audit or assurance (you do not have to offer audit work experience to offer ACA training)

If your student's experience is in one area, you will need to ensure that you are able to offer them an in-depth understanding of that area. You can also offer students work experience in more than one area. For example, you may want to put them on a rotational programme or offer them secondments

How much work experience does my student need to complete?

Students should complete, and show evidence of, at least 450 days of practical work experience. This excludes exam days, holidays, training, illness, and office administration. A full day is considered to be 7 hours. 

Part-time working

Training may be undertaken on a part-time basis at our discretion. Part-time contracts will impact the length of a training agreement. For example:

Working days (per week) Typical training agreement length
5 3 years
4 4 years 
3 5 years

Credit for prior work experience

Some students may be eligible to gain recognition for work experience completed before the start of their training agreement with you. Students may be able to apply for up to 12 months credit for prior work experience providing they meet the required criteria.

Recording practical work experience

You and your student must meet at least every six months for the duration of the training agreement for a six-monthly review. Part of the review should be spent agreeing the number of practical work experience days accrued in the previous six months.  

Employer responsibilities

As the employer, you will need to:

  • ensure an accurate timesheet (or similar record) is maintained throughout the training agreement; and
  • review your student's training file at least every six months and approve practical work experience days.

Student responsibilities

Your student will need to:

  • keep a timesheet (or similar record) to record relevant work experience;
  • log the number of relevant days worked within their training file every six months;
  • confirm the accuracy of days with their employer during the six-monthly reviews and enter the reviewer's name within the reviewer field; and
  • continue logging days to the end of the training agreement, even after the 450 days requirement is met. 

Recording audit experience for the Audit Qualification

Any student working for a registered auditor who is authorised to offer adequate training may be able to log time towards the UK Audit Qualification while they train.

If this applies to your students, you will need to:

  • ensure they have a log of the nature of the audit work undertaken, the name of the entities and their audit experience and development during each period, as they will need to add this to their training file;
  • ensure they have calculated the number of days' experience accrued ahead of six-monthly reviews. You will need to discuss and approve the number of days at each six-monthly review; and
  • sign off the audit work experience logged in their training file. 

It is important that your students record the number of audit days accrued at each six-monthly review with you. If your students don’t claim their audit experience within six months of the end of their training agreement, they will lose it.

Have a question?

If you need any support or have a question on ACA training, please contact us.

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