Test of Relevant Expertise (TRE) pathways route

CIPFA members who have at least seven years of continuous membership post-qualification of CIPFA can become a CA through completion of a competency based self-assessment consisting of five questions that use a holistic, attribute-based model set as outcomes.

In addition to this, you must also present evidence from work experience which demonstrates the professional skills that are essential to the profession. Applicants must have professional sponsors who can substantiate the evidence of work experience provided.

Are you eligible?

  • You must be a full member of Good Standing with CIPFA.
  • You must have at least SEVEN years' post qualification experience (excluding career and maternity/paternity breaks).
  • You must have been admitted to CIPFA via the standard entry route on the basis of the normal qualification requirements for CIPFA including its final examination.
  • Must have completed the Full UK Qualification ("bye-law 4") through CIPFA's approved examination route.
  • You must provide two sponsors who are either members of ICAS, CIPFA or a body with a reciprocal membership with ICAS (ICEAW, CAI, CPA Canada, CAANZ, HKICPA, SAICA).
  • You must have maintained the membership with CIPFA since the point of qualifying.

Steps to becoming a CA through the TRE route:

  1. Register your interest
  2. When the application window is open, submit your application pack and make payment of £1055.20. On receipt of payment you will be sent a candidate number.
  3. Upload your five reflective essays for examination using your unique candidate number.
  4. Your application pack will be assessed and your essay questions will be marked
  5. If successful, you are eligible to be admitted to ICAS membership. On admission, you can use the ‘CA’ designation and have full access to ICAS services.

For further information and for full application details, please refer to the Test of Relevant Expertise (TRE) route FAQs.

Reflective Essay questions

Test of Relevant Expertise pathways route applicants are asked to submit five short reflective essays based on their professional experience. The 2018 essay questions are available now. These can be completed prior to the application window opening.

Application Pack

Your completed application pack must include:

  1. Your completed application form
  2. Your primary sponsor's completed form (who verifies your entire application pack, including the answers to your reflective essays)
  3. Your secondary sponsor's completed form
  4. A CV of no more than four sides of A4
  5. Confirmation of Good Standing
  6. Confirmation of completion of the full UK qualification route

To receive your confirmation letter of Good Standing and confirmation of your qualification route, please email membership@cipfa.org quoting 'ICAS Pathways'.

You must also:

  • Make a payment of £1,055.20. On receipt of your payment, you will be sent a candidate number. Please note that it can take up to 5 working days for your candidate number to be released.
  • Upload your five reflective essays for examination using your unique candidate number.
Key dates for TRE pathways

Essay question release date

Application Pack Submission Window

Five Reflective Essays Submission window

Diet date


1 December 2017

2 April – 26 April 2018

4 May- 18 May 2018*

May 2018

29 June 2018

1 August 2018



December 2018


*Please note that there will be a week between the closing of the Application Submission Window and applicants receiving their Turnitin login to submit the five Reflective Essay Questions.

Register your interest and we will keep you up-to-date with next steps and deadline dates.

Find out more on the Test of Relevant Expertise (TRE) route FAQs page.


  • Admission to membership
  • Test of Professional Expertise

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