Feeling like you’ll never become a pro-accountant? It’s time to change that ‘I can’t’ to I-CAS! This professional body of accountants could provide just the qualifications you need to get you to the top of your accounting game…

What is ICAS?

ICAS is a professional body for chartered accountants that provides educational support and regulation for its 20,000 members.

The main professional qualifications it provides are the CA (Chartered Accountant) Qualification and the ICAS Tax Professional (ITP) qualification.

What do they involve?

The CA Qualification

This qualification is broken down into three levels:

  • Level 1 is the Test of Competence in which you’ll learn all the basics and technical skills in business law, business management, finance and financial accounting.
  • Level 2 is the Test of Professional Skills, which is all about learning how to apply your technical knowledge and working with clients.
  • Level 3 is the Test of Professional Expertise, in which you will combine all the skills and knowledge you have gained from the past two levels and apply them to a real-life case study.

You will also have to take a Business Ethics module and obtain a minimum of 450 days work experience.

The ITP qualification

This qualification is all about giving tax professionals the skills and technical knowledge they need to work with a variety of different clients. It can be taken as a standalone qualification or as a dual qualification with the CA.

As a standalone qualification, the ITP is split into three different levels.

  • Level 1 introduces  the key principle of the UK tax system whilst providing the basics in accounting and law required for a tax professional.
  • Level 2 provides teaching of the taxation of individuals, companies and indirect taxation (such as VAT and Custom Duties).
  • Level 3 is all about applying the skills and knowledge from the prior levels to practical situations. Phew!

As a dual qualification with the CA, the ITP is split into two levels. These are much the same as Level 1 and Level 2 of the standalone ITP and they combine with accountancy qualifications. You know what they say: two birds, one stone!

What will they enable me to do?

The CA Qualification will enable you to become a Chartered Accountant. This title is really worth its weight in gold in the accountancy world! The CA qualification is recognised all over the globe – now that’s a lot of open doors! Not only does being a CA give you flexibility in terms of location, it also means that you can go into pretty much any type of business you like, and in any accounting discipline at that. If you’re a high-flier, the CA will unlock those highest roles in the business.

The ITP qualification is highly regarded by employers, and will help you to work with a wide variety of clients throughout your career in tax. You will also be awarded the designatory letters ‘ITP’ – fancy!

How do I get these qualifications?

In order to get the CA Qualification, you will need to enter into a training contract with an ICAS authorised employer. Many of these employers will require that you have a university degree or equivalent. However, the ACA is open to both school leavers and graduates, so this may be an option if you haven’t gone down the university route.

Your employer will have a training agreement with ICAS, which means that your employer will pay for your CA Qualification and give you any support and guidance that you might need along the way – how very kind!

When it comes to the ITP qualification, there are no formal entry requirements in order to enroll on the course and take the exams. However, you will need to demonstrate two years of tax work experience to get the qualification in full (so don’t think you can do it just for the fun of it!).

Unlike the CA, you don’t need to have an employer and can be enrolled on the ITP as an individual. However, if you are employed, your employer may consider wholly or partially supporting you through the cost of the qualification.

You can find out more about ICAS, the CA Qualification and the ITP qualification here.