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ICAEW Chartered Accountants are known for their professionalism and expertise. The professional development ladders will prepare your trainees to handle a variety of different situations they will encounter throughout their career.

What are ICAEW's professional development ladders?

ACA students are required to demonstrate competence across seven professional skills areas (otherwise known as ladders) throughout their training. Each area or ladder contains six to eight steps, each representing a skill. Students will develop these skills within the exams and the workplace and will need to record their progress with each skill within their training file. 

There are 52 specific skills across seven categories:

  1. Ethics and professionalism
  2. Communication
  3. Teamwork
  4. Decision making
  5. Problem solving
  6. Adding value
  7. Technical competence

Your students will either follow the ICAEW professional development ladders or, where applicable, follow your internal professional development programme providing this has been accredited by us.

Recording professional development

Students must demonstrate their competence across the seven professional skills areas and keep track of their progress with each skill within their online training file.

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 reviewing your student's progress through the professional development ladders. 

Employer responsibilities

As the employer, you will need to:

  • monitor your student's progress through the professional development ladders and review this during six-monthly reviews; and
  • provide the student with timely feedback on each skill and ensure your student records this feedback in their online training file. 

Student responsibilities

Students following the ICAEW professional development ladders will need to:

  • demonstrate competence across each skill area;
  • log a specific example for each skill in their training file using examples from their experience in the workplace. When logging examples, your students should be adopting a Situation, Task, Action and Result (STAR) method; and
  • log your feedback on each example in their training file. This feedback should be documented in full sentences. 

Getting your professional development scheme accredited

Employers may be able to get their professional development scheme accredited by us where the programme follows the overarching skills identified within our professional development ladders. This means their students will follow your internal scheme rather than the ICAEW professional development ladders.

If you would like your professional development scheme accredited, we can discuss this with you at your authorisations review.

Have a question?

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

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