It’s fun to study the Y-M-A-C-A…is a song which has never been written, but really should be. Eager to get ahead in accounting and aim for top positions and top dollar? The ACA is one of the professional qualifications available that could help you with your mission. Let’s learn more…

What’s the ACA?

The ACA is a professional qualification devised and awarded by the ICAEW – the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. The ICAEW is a professional body for accountants that supports educational and works to maintain the excellence and integrity of its 138,000 members.

What will it involve?

The qualification itself is made up of the technical work experience you gain with your employer and 15 exams…

You’ll cover core concepts in accountancy and learn how to apply this knowledge in practice, as well as technical integration skills.

You need to take the ACA whilst you are working in a full-time job, so be prepared for some intense work-study-life time management for the duration of the course. It’s not easy, but you should receive lots of support from your colleagues. It’s a matter of establishing a routine. It takes three to five years for the majority of people to earn their ACA qualification (it’s reported that most people will do it in three years).

What will it enable me to do?

The ACA qualification will enable you to become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. Once qualified, you will be one flexible bean! The ACA is recognised all over the world, and you will be armed with your chartered accounting skills you should be able to move into pretty much any type of business you wish in any accounting discipline. If you want to become a partner or senior manager in a firm then the ACA could be one way to help you do that.

There’s often also the bonus of notable pay rises once you qualify. Always music to our ears!

How do I get the ACA?

The ACA is open to both school leavers and graduates from any degree discipline, and you could go for it even if you’ve already obtained a professional qualification. There’s the AAT-ACA Fast Track for example, which is designed to boost AAT graduates straight into ACA study.

You need to be working with a firm in accounting, business or finance in order to study for the ACA. This is because you need to accrue professional work experience as you go to meet all the necessary requirements to pass. Employers need to be registered with the ICAEW as suitable to help you with your training.

The ICAEW and your employer will have a training agreement which means that your employer will pay for your study fees and give you guidance and support to help you succeed in your ACA exams. Sounds like a good arrangement, doesn’t it?!

You can find out lots more about ACA study routes here.