Everything you need to know about the ICAS qualification

Everything you need to know about the ICAS qualification

The costs, timings and routes into becoming an ICAS-certified CA

The history of ICAS

ICAS was the first ever professional body for accountants, established in 1854. Since then it has grown into a global community of CAs; ICAS members work in more than 100 countries. With over 21,000 members working in the UK and internationally, it has a truly global reach.

Almost two-thirds of the ICAS membership work in business; many leading some of the UK’s and the world’s great companies. The others work in accountancy practices ranging from the Big Four in the City to the small practitioner in rural areas of the country. The institute currently has around 3,000 students striving to become the next generation of CAs under the tutelage of expert staff and members.

ICAS qualification

 No other Institute, training body or membership organisation in the UK can use the designation ‘CA’ – it is an exclusive privilege for ICAS members. The CA qualification is one of the most highly regarded professional accounting qualifications, known for its credibility and prestige in the wider business community. ICAS remains the only accountancy institute to develop, deliver and examine their qualification ensuring the CA badge remains the gold standard of accountancy qualifications.

 Minimum qualifications

There are five different routes to becoming a CA:

To become a CA, you must meet ICAS’ entry requirements and enter into a training contract with an ICAS authorised employer. There is an exciting and diverse range of firms to work with from public practice to business and industry.

What’s involved

 ICAS provides a rigorous professional qualification, combining expert tuition, relevant practical experience, and unrivalled support and guidance.

The CA qualification is broken down into five sections:

  1. Test of Competence (TC): teaches you the basic and technical skills in selected business and accounting subjects.
  2. Test of Professional Skills (TPS): this is about applying your technical knowledge, communication skills and working with your clients.
  3. Test of Professional Expertise (TPE): combining your knowledge and skills from the previous levels, you will work on a multi-disciplinary case study.
  4. Business Ethics: in addition to including ethics within the three levels, Business Ethics forms a stand-alone subject and assessment.
  5. Relevant Practical Experience: to qualify as a CA, students must complete a minimum of 450 days’ relevant practical experience.

Exemptions are available from some or all of the TC subjects. There are generally no exemptions available for TPS, TPE and Business Ethics.

Timings

It generally takes up to three years to qualify as a CA, with the training involving a combination of relevant practical experience and exams.

ICAS Costs of training

Employers typically become ICAS authorised training offices and will cover most of the cost of the qualification.  The authorisation process is free of charge to the employer and brings many benefits to streamline training CA students.  ICAS arrange all tuition, provision of course materials, application for exemptions and exams enrolment.  For a single exemption application there is a charge of £60 and cost per exam are £85 in year 1, £152 in year 2, and the final exams are £122 and £304 respectively.  There is a single one-off fee for the registration of a training agreement and this is £620.  All prices exclude VAT.

 

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