Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)

The ACA qualification from the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) is considered to be a premium, gold standard accountancy qualification that qualifies you as a chartered accountant. ICAEW Chartered Accountants are always in demand and the ACA Qualification equips students to perform at the highest levels of accountancy, business and finance. The majority of ACA trainees work in accounting practice and the ACA qualification has a strong practice subject focus (audit, taxation) as well as covering other key technical accounting areas.

An increasing number of students are now training in other sectors too. Once qualified, ICAEW Chartered Accountants work in all sectors, from accounting practices to commercial organisations, financial institutions, not for profit organisations and the public sector.

The University of South Wales is recognised as an ICAEW Partner in Learning, working with ICAEW in the professional development of students. The University has a rich history of providing first class tuition for professional accountancy courses. We have been awarded PQ Magazine's 'Public Sector Accountancy College of the Year' three times, and our students have won multiple awards, including awards for the highest marks in Wales. 

The Professional Accounting course information brochure provides further details on part-time fees, timetables and the next available entry points.

To qualify as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant students are required to complete:

  • 15 examinations
  • 450 days of technical work experience, which you gain by obtaining a training contract with an appropriate employer
  • Professional development (delivered through ICAEW or your employer)
  • Ethics and professional scepticism programme (delivered through ICAEW)

The ACA Qualification comprises three examination levels – Certificate, Professional and Advanced.

Certificate Level

The ICAEW Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (CFAB) qualification is available upon completion of the Certificate Level, and is an excellent qualification in its own right for non-financial managers - see the  ICAEW Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (CFAB) flyer for more details. Details of course structure and timetabling are here.  Our Certificate Level/CFAB tuition is provided through USW's Commercial Services team, on a block tuition basis. For further information, including start dates and timetable, please email 

Professional Level

  • Audit and Assurance
  • Tax Compliance
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting
  • Financial Management
  • Business Planning: Taxation
  • Business Strategy

Advanced Level

  • Corporate Reporting
  • Strategic Business Management
  • Case Study

At the Advanced Level students are required to study a number of technical areas, which are then examined together in the Corporate Reporting and Strategic Business Management papers. These papers aim to simulate real-life business and accounting practice environments, and the concept is taken further with a final case study examination.



How you will study (Professional and Advanced Level)

Professional and Advanced level papers will generally be taught for one day per week, with a block revision period at the end of each paper.


Typical tuition lengths:

Professional Level papers – 11-14 weeks plus revision block
Advanced Level – 18 weeks plus revision block

Knowledge is built up and exam question practice is undertaken week on week. Students build skills gradually and sustainably, and are not absent from their work place for long periods of time (which is particularly important for smaller accounting practices)

Our Professional Accounting and Finance course information brochure provides further details on part-time fees, timetables and the next available entry points.


Students will attend workshops which will contain lecture, tutorial and question practice elements.


Professional Level: 

Modules are assessed by computer based exams. Each exam is 2.5 hours long, with the exception of the Financial Accounting and Reporting paper which is assessed by a three hour exam.

Advanced Level:
Consists of two technical integration papers and a case study:

  • Technical integration papers are 3.5 hours long
  • Case Study will be four hours long



Our Accounting teaching team includes 10 qualified accountants and a qualified solicitor, who have significant industry and accounting practice experience, as well as significant experience of teaching professional accountancy qualifications. Question practice reinforces technical knowledge and exam technique each and every week on all of our programmes. The learning environment here is friendly and supportive, and we are able to offer an exceptional level of pastoral support.

Dr Jared Davies– Academic Manager (Professional and Postgraduate Accounting)
Alison Jones – Programme Leader

Study resources

Our tuition fees include the provision of a wide range of ICAEW published materials per paper, including study manuals, question banks, course exams, unseen questions and mock exams. Progress tests and mock examinations for each paper reinforce exam technique skills. Our tuition sessions can be recorded and replayed by students for the duration of the teaching year. Student performance reports for sponsoring employers are available.


The most popular entry route to the qualification is a good undergraduate honours degree (1st or 2:1), but entry is also available to people with no qualifications, A-level school leavers, AAT graduates, apprentices, and members of other Chartered bodies. Trainees are ultimately required to enter a training contract with an approved employer.

Completion of the AAT qualification gives exemption from up to 5 of the ACA exams.

You must apply for student membership and exemptions (where applicable) with ICAEW before joining the course. Visit for more information.


Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
ICAEW membership *
Students will be required to pay separately for ICAEW student membership, exemption and external examination fees. For the latest information, visit:

UK and EU students

Applications for ICAEW Professional and Advanced Levels should be made directly through our MyUSW online portal. Please state which paper(s) you wish to study in the Personal Statement section of the application form. To apply for Certificate Level modules, please contact Alison Jones, Course Leader, directly at:


International students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU

Apply now 

Admissions statement

ACA students enjoy early responsibility and excellent career progression. Many ACA students double their salary during training. Salaries for newly qualified ICAEW Chartered Accountants are on a par with careers in law and banking and many become partners or financial directors early in their careers, leading to a greater variety of opportunities.

ICAEW Chartered Accountants work at the highest levels of some of the world’s largest organisations; 80% of UK FTSE 100 companies have an ICAEW Chartered Accountant on their board.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.