How to become a Chartered Accountant (CA)
You can become a Chartered Accountant (or CA for short) by choosing from a range of ICAS training routes, which includes options for school leavers, graduates, professionals and apprentices.
To study with ICAS you don’t need to have a degree or any previous accountancy or finance experience, and you’ll earn a competitive salary whilst you train.
The route you take to our qualification depends upon your current circumstances. Choose one from the list below or read on to learn more about this extraordinary career, and the many reasons why you should choose ICAS.
- School-leaver route
- Graduate entry for university graduates
- Professional entry for experienced finance professionals
- Accountancy Professional apprenticeships
What is ICAS?
As the global professional body for CAs, we educate, examine and lead, enabling excellence whilst always working for the wider public good.
We were formed by Royal Charter in 1854, have trained a lot of CAs since then, and in any given year thousands more students are working with us to achieve the ‘chartered’ goal.
All 22,000 of our members have earned our globally prestigious CA designation of Chartered Accountant, a qualification that’s shaped an international business community spanning industries and continents, packed with local heroes and corporate leaders.
What is a Chartered Accountant (CA)?
A Chartered Accountant (CA) has trained with ICAS to reach the highest professional level, undertaken our programme of expert tuition, rigorous training and examinations in accountancy and business, whilst committing to a process of continuous professional development.
As we explain below, thanks to the broad scope of our syllabus, ICAS CAs are employed at the highest levels, not only as accountants, but in a range of business-related roles.
And in the UK, only those who have qualified with ICAS can use the professional designation of ‘CA’ after their name – an identifier that carries real weight throughout the international business community.
Why become a Chartered Accountant (CA)?
Qualify to become a Chartered Accountant (CA) with ICAS and you won’t be restricted to working for accountancy firms. The wealth of skills and expertise you obtain will present a variety of impressive career opportunities.
You could go on to work at the highest levels of accountancy, finance and business, at a charity, government body or cutting-edge tech firm. And for those with an entrepreneurial streak, it provides the key skills to start and manage a successful business.
Furthermore, from training to qualification, as an ICAS CA you can expect a competitive salary in a profession with a bright and stable future.
Young Chartered Accountants reveal why they chose to study with ICAS and what makes them proud to be CAs:
The ICAS Chartered Accountant (CA) qualification
Your career may present a variety of complex and unpredictable situations, but we’ve designed our qualification to help you formulate and communicate professional solutions no matter what comes along.
Through a mix of study, and the minimum 450 days of relevant practical experience gained with your employer, you’ll gain technical expertise in finance and accounting, alongside broader business skills in management, analysis, communication, presentation and ethics.
And whilst our CA syllabus is rich in heritage, we’ve ensured that it continues to be highly relevant in today’s fast-changing world, reinforcing its position as the “gold standard” in accountancy education.
Why study to become a Chartered Accountant with ICAS?
ICAS students know they’re working toward an extraordinary career, because our advanced syllabus delivers technical expertise in everything from finance and accounting to broader business talents, instilling pretty much every skill you’ll need to succeed.
Our CA designation is internationally renowned and valued, so you won’t be restricted to employment within the UK. In fact, thanks to our reciprocal agreements with a range of global accounting bodies, as an ICAS Chartered Accountant, you could work anywhere in the world.
Study with ICAS and, no matter where you end up, we’ll be with you every step of the way. That’s because we’re committed to supporting and enhancing your professional development through a huge range of member benefits – from a dedicated news service, to networking events and mentoring opportunities – providing access to professional guidance and delivering the support necessary to maintain your knowledge and progress your career.
View our Become a CA brochure
Our Become a CA brochure provides more information on ICAS, why you should become a Chartered Accountant, and details the training steps required to begin an extraordinary career in business and beyond.
Where to apply for an ICAS CA training agreement
If you’re a school-leaver or graduate looking at how to become a Chartered Accountant, then signing a training agreement with an ICAS-authorised employer is your first step.
You’ll gain the practical workplace experience that’s vital for a CA’s success, take occasional time out to study with us, and earn a competitive salary.
We have training vacancies and study centres across the UK, from London to Aberdeen, and strive to ensure that standards of teaching and support are consistently high throughout, so you’ll always receive the first-class ICAS experience.
Visit our dedicated job site Becomeaca.org.uk to see the interesting range of firms you can work and train with, from small local companies to large corporations.
Study for a joint CA and CTA qualification
Students wishing to become a Chartered Accountant and specialise in tax can take advantage of the strategic partnership between ICAS and the Chartered Institute of Tax (CIOT), which offers an exam route to dual membership of both bodies. The joint programme delivers two prestigious qualifications, in accountancy and tax – the CA of Chartered Accountant and the CTA of Chartered Tax Accountant – with the opportunity to focus on one of three areas of tax:
- Owner-managed businesses
- Major corporates
- Indirect taxation
An additional benefit of combining the two routes is that it allows students to fast-track their studies, and reduce their overall costs, achieving their designatory letters in as little as three or three and a half years.
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