Why you should seriously consider moving on to ICAEW’s ACA after AAT

This content is sponsored by ICAEW.

ICAEW and AAT have collaborated to offer a Fast Track route to allow you to progress at an accelerated pace after completing your Level 4 AAT. 

With the potential to gain credits for prior learning and count some work experience towards the ACA, this route could see you fully qualifying in as little as two years after your AAT. 

The ACA is a great option after you have completed your Level 4 AAT. You can also begin to prepare for it if you’re at Level 3 AAT. 

Why the ACA?

Moving on to ICAEW’s ACA qualification to become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant will open up a breadth of opportunities to you. Here are five reasons why the ACA could be the right qualification for you:

  • You’ll be fully supported as an ACA student, all the way into membership and beyond.
  • ACA students have a high first-time pass rate across all exams
  • The ACA provides high-level business skills that organisations need now and in the future
  • 83 of the FTSE 100 companies have an ICAEW Chartered Accountant on their board

As an ICAEW Chartered Accountant, you will be part of a global network, opening up opportunities to develop and choose different career paths.

AAT to ACA real-life experience 

We spoke to AAT graduate, Phoebe Cranmer, who will qualify as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant this year, about why she decided to continue on to the ACA and the support and benefits that have been afforded to her.

Why did you decide to continue onto the ACA after AAT?

I always had the intention to continue my studies because I knew how many opportunities it would bring. Being AAT qualified gave me many options but I knew once I completed my ACA I would have a Master’s level qualification and the world would be my oyster. There’s always the need for a chartered accountant!

What opportunities will completing the ACA open up to you?

Qualifying as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant will mean I’m able to explore many career paths or progress further within the accountancy practice where I work. This will result in more responsibility, a pay rise and a higher amount of credibility. 

Is your employer supporting your studies?

My employer has supported me from AAT Level 3 and is continuing to do so as I begin my final Chartered Accountancy exams. My studying is fully funded by my employers as are my travel and food expenses for study days.

Most of my studying takes place in Leeds with a great training provider so I get to have a taste of city life before going back to my home town Grimsby. Most employees at my firm have worked their way up from AAT so I always have my colleagues to help me if I have any questions, as well as being able to ask the teachers and other students. 

When will you be fully qualified? 

I began in July 2015 and will be qualifying this year (2020). I started working for Forrester Boyd straight from A-Levels after choosing to get started working rather than going to university. This is a decision I have never regretted as I was still able to visit my friends at university and I had the money to be able to do it. 

I have had a lot of support from other members of the team to progress and gain more responsibility. I now train other employees and have good relationships with the clients.

What are the main differences between AAT and ACA?

The exams do step up in terms of difficulty but having AAT gave me the base knowledge that I needed for the ACA qualification. I was also able to carry across my revision and exam skills that I had developed at AAT.

The AAT exams are quite specific, ACA exams set you up for real-life scenarios so towards the end of studying for the ACA qualification it is very much about the application of knowledge rather than the knowledge alone.

What support is available as an ACA student?

ICAEW provide a huge amount of support to the students in terms of the study materials and resources, student societies and awards. They even have a charity (CABA) that supports the wellbeing of students and the whole Chartered Accountant community if you were to ever need it.

The helplines are always there for support and even the magazines I receive in the post are helpful and they give you a sense of community by reminding you that you are part of a professional body. 

How you can get ready for the ACA 

If you are working while studying with AAT, preferably at Level 3 or Level 4, and your organisation is not yet authorised by ICAEW to offer ACA training, speak to your employer about getting authorised. 

If you are not currently employed then you can apply for a training vacancy.

In summary 

  • Qualifying as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant can open up a vast range of career opportunities and benefits for you.
  • Take the AAT-ACA Fast-Track route to accelerate your learning.
  • If you’re working, you can study part-time and your employer will often fund your training.
  • There is an enormous amount of support available to you when training with ICAEW and after you qualify.

Further reading:

This content is sponsored by ICAEW.

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..

Related articles