Association of Chartered Accountants (ACA held by ICAEW)
This used to be preferred accounting qualification of the big 4 (EY, KPMG, PWC or Deloite), financial services and practice firms not too long ago, this was quietly seen as the best accounting qualification to have and even now I believe most of the FTSE 100 CEO’s which come from accounting are ACA qualified.
I only say used to be preferred because the Big 4 are starting to loosen up on which qualification they require students to study; however, make no mistake about it, this does have a prestige to it and is still seen as a badge of honour. There are some roles (usually high paying) that will still demand an ACA candidate with big 4 experience.
I just learned that ACA was actually initially only for accountants working in practice and was then later opened up to accountants in industry.
The qualification does have a slight tilt towards auditing/tax and does get slightly tricky if you’re not in a training contract, to become a fully chartered accountant, you have to pass exams and meet work experience targets which need to be signed off by an approved employer; it’s a common requirement for all bodies but where ACA is quite tricky is “you will also need to be in the final year of your training agreement, before you can sit the Case Study exam.” i.e. if you’re a self-study student or are with an employer not registered as an approved trainer, you won’t be able to sit this exam, let alone get your experience signed off.
ACA has 15 exams which from July 2019 will all Computer based exams (CBE), below is a split out of the levels and exams.