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Eye on the prize: taking the fast track route to chartered accountancy

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Creating a plan for your future can be a very exciting time, but even better is knowing that it won’t take long to reach your goal.

With great benefits, flexibility and opportunity, the AAT-ACA fast track route can be a rewarding journey when establishing your career as an accountant.

After completing AAT’s Professional Diploma in Accounting, you can become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant in as little as two years.

The AAT-ACA Fast Track route builds on the skills and experience you have already gained. It’s the next step and will give you the skills to think strategically, problem-solve and manage risks, all while maintaining the highest standards.

It’s a popular choice that attracts ambitious individuals. In fact, AAT-ACA Fast Track students regularly feature in our annual International Prizegiving Ceremony, which celebrates those who have achieved the highest marks at the ACA exams. Chloe Eldridge ACA won multiple prizes for her exam results.

Chloe’s journey to chartered accountancy

After finishing her A-levels, Chloe wasn’t sure what to do next. “I didn’t want to commit financially to a university degree, so I began looking into the accountancy profession as I knew that you could enter it straight from school”.

At eighteen, Chloe entered the world of work. She started with a small local accountancy firm, during which she completed the AAT Qualification.

A year and a half later she joined Saffery Champness as a Trainee Chartered Accountant. While working there, she began ICAEW’s ACA qualification. Because she had already studied with AAT, she had a good grounding for the ACA and had four exemptions from the qualification.

New opportunities

“I chose the ACA because it really opens doors; you can go anywhere in the finance world. It’s a very prestigious qualification, so when you come in and say I’m a chartered accountant people know you mean business”.

Throughout her career, Chloe has never felt at a disadvantage compared to the graduates, as the fact she had started working straight from school put her at a good level.

“I just went for it,” Chloe says, “ I knew the ACA would offer opportunities for the future and that my employer would support me through the process.”

As part of the ACA, Chloe completed 450 days of work experience. “The work experience has really helped me in my exams as I can apply real life situations I have encountered to the questions.”

“With exams like Financial Accounting and Reporting and Audit and Assurance, I can apply what I’ve read to work, and I can also apply what I’ve been doing at work to the exams.” This is one of the key benefits of studying the ACA, as being able to apply real-world situations in exams gives students a deeper understanding of what they are learning.

Invaluable training

“The exams are not easy, however the courses and the on the job training are invaluable”. Chloe’s employer provides plenty of support to make it as stress-free as possible to balance work and studying. “Study is given priority as the exam date approaches,” Chloe says, “so my workload is eased and we are given study leave to attend the course and revise”.

“When I found out that I was a multiple prize winner I was in shock. The exams were hard and I was over the moon to have passed them, let alone win two prizes on top of that.”

Next steps

Chloe has plenty of ambition for the future, and the skills she has developed throughout the ACA qualification will allow her to progress to senior-level roles.

“I love what I’m doing,” she says, “hopefully I can eventually reach Audit Partner level. After that, I’d maybe become an executive in the City. That’s the thing, the qualification opens up so many doors.”

For more information about starting your fast track route to accountancy, ICAEW offer plenty of useful information to help you start your journey.

ICAEW is a world leading professional membership organisation that promotes, develops and supports over 178,500 chartered accountants and students worldwide. We provide qualifications and professional development, share our knowledge, insight and technical expertise, and protect the quality and integrity of the accountancy and finance profession..

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