October 17, 2023
10 min read

The Road To Becoming A Chartered Accountant: Exploring ICAEW's Role

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A Chartered Accountant is often referred to as the "guardian of financial integrity" in the business and financial communities. This broad range of expertise supports both their professional and moral success since it covers a wide range of sectors, from enterprises to governments.

The work of CA makes them the most sought-after experts in the business sector today since it has a significant impact on economic growth, stability, and sustainability. Recent data shows that the demand for CAs is anticipated to increase to 4% worldwide by the years 2022–2032. If you are interested in the accounting field and want to become a professional then becoming a CA is the first step in your journey. 

So in the article, let us cover what ICAEW is and how you can become a CA too. 

What Is ICAEW?

The initials ICAEW stand for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. It was founded in London, England, on May 11th, 1880, under the name "The Institute of Accountants in London." Its name was changed to reflect the group's wide reach in 1882.

The ICAEW has been charged with creating and upholding high professional and ethical standards for its members as one of the most renowned and long-standing accounting organizations in the world.  ICAEW developed the Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA) qualification, which became one of the most prestigious qualifications in the accounting profession. It has continuously updated its qualification programs to meet the changing needs of the profession.

How The ICAEW Works

ICAEW is an English and Welsh regulatory body for chartered accountants and a professional member organization. Here are some of the important works done by ICAEW.

Education and Training

ICAEW provides education and training programs to individuals aspiring to become Chartered Accountants (CAs). This includes academic qualifications, such as the ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant) qualification. The ACA qualification involves passing a series of rigorous examinations covering various aspects of accounting, finance, and business, as well as gaining practical work experience.


Individuals who successfully complete the ACA qualification and meet the organization's ethical and professional requirements can become members of ICAEW and use the title "Chartered Accountant" (CA). ICAEW has various categories of membership, including student, affiliate, and full member, each with its own criteria and benefits.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

For its members to remain current on market trends, the ICAEW mandates that they attend CPD (Continuing Professional Development) events. Seminars, courses, and other educational opportunities are available to members so that they can improve their knowledge and abilities.

Governing Body

The ICAEW serves as a regulating organization, making sure that its members follow high moral and professional standards. To look into and deal with any violations of its Code of Ethics and other professional standards by its members, it has disciplinary procedures in place.

Support and Resources

ICAEW provides many resources, including publications, research, and technical guidance, to assist its members in their professional work. It offers access to networking opportunities, events, and forums where members can connect and share knowledge.

Advocacy and Influence

ICAEW actively engages with government bodies, regulatory authorities, and other stakeholders to advocate for policies and standards that promote the interests of the accounting and finance profession. It contributes to the development of accounting standards and best practices.

International Recognition:

Types of ICAEW Membership:

There are 3 types of membership that ICAEW provides for individuals. 

Student Membership: This category is for individuals who are in the process of completing the ACA qualification and gaining practical work experience. Student members have access to study resources and support to help them pass the ACA exams.

Affiliate Membership: Affiliate members have completed the ACA qualification but may not yet have fulfilled all the practical experience requirements. This membership category allows individuals to use the ACA designation and access resources for career development.

Full Membership (Chartered Accountant): Full membership is granted to individuals who have successfully completed the ACA qualification, met the practical experience requirements, and demonstrated their commitment to ICAEW's Code of Ethics and professional standards. Chartered Accountants (CAs) have the highest level of ICAEW membership and enjoy the full benefits of the institute.

ICAEW Membership And Its Benefits

ICAEW offers different categories of membership and currently, there are over 1,66,000 ICAEW members worldwide. Here's an overview of ICAEW membership and how it can be helpful:

Professional Recognition: ICAEW membership is a prestigious designation widely recognized and respected in accounting and finance. It demonstrates a high level of competence, ethics, and commitment to professional standards.

Career Advancement: Being an ICAEW member can open doors to a wide range of career opportunities. CAEW's ACA qualification is recognized and respected in over 147 countries, making it a valuable credential for international careers. Many employers prefer or require their finance and accounting professionals to hold the ACA qualification and ICAEW membership.

Access to Resources: To assist their job and professional growth, members have access to a plethora of resources, including technical advice, research, publications, and online tools.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD): Members of the ICAEW are urged to participate in CPD programs in order to stay current on industry trends and maintain their professional competence. The institute offers a number of possibilities for CPD.

Networking Opportunities: ICAEW organizes events, seminars, and conferences where members can connect with peers, share knowledge, and build professional networks.

International Recognition: ICAEW qualifications and membership are highly regarded internationally, which can be advantageous for those seeking career opportunities abroad.

Steps To Become A Chartered Accountant

CA certification requires education, training, and meeting the requirements of the ICAEW. Here are the steps to become a CA with ICAEW:

Step 1: Educational Qualifications

You typically need a strong educational background, including A-levels or equivalent qualifications, to start the journey toward becoming a CA. Ensure that you meet the entry requirements for the ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant) qualification, which is the primary qualification for CAs in ICAEW.

Step 2: Enroll as an ACA Student

Register as a student with ICAEW by enrolling in the ACA qualification program. You can do this through an ICAEW-authorized training employer or through an ICAEW-registered tuition provider if you choose to self-study.

Step 3: Choose a Training Route

Decide whether you want to train with an ICAEW-authorized training employer or study with an ICAEW-registered tuition provider if you plan to self-study.

Step 4: Complete the ACA Examinations

The ACA qualification consists of a series of examinations and practical experience requirements. Applicants must pass 15 exams, divided into three levels: Certificate, Professional, and Advanced. Among the topics covered in the exams are accounting, auditing, taxation, financial management, and corporate strategy.

Step 5: Gain Practical Experience

Alongside your studies, you must gain practical work experience through an ICAEW-authorized training employer. This experience is essential and is typically undertaken over a minimum period of three years. You will work in various areas of accounting and finance to develop practical skills and apply your knowledge.

Step 6: Ethics and Professional Development Module

As part of your ACA training, you must complete an Ethics and Professional Development module to ensure you understand and can apply ethical principles in your work.

Step 7: Pass the Case Study Examination

The final examination for the ACA qualification is the Case Study examination. It evaluates your capacity to put your skills and knowledge to use in practical situations. The achievement of Passing this test is a major accomplishment in becoming a recognized CA. 

Step 8: Apply for Full Membership

Once you have successfully completed all the ACA exams, gained the required practical experience, and completed the Ethics and Professional Development module, you can apply for full membership with ICAEW and use the Chartered Accountant (CA) designation.

Benefits Of Becoming A Chartered Accountant

Accounting and finance professionals are recognized as highly respected professionals. The CA designation is synonymous with expertise, competence, and integrity.

The CA status is respected worldwide, opening up doors to work and grow your career in different countries. So, if you want to explore new horizons, being a CA can make that happen status often leads to better career prospects and opportunities globally for advancement.

CAs possess a wide range of skills, including financial analysis, audit, taxation, strategic planning, and risk management. This versatility makes them valuable assets in various sectors and industries.  Many organizations prefer or require CAs for senior positions in finance, accounting, and management due to their comprehensive knowledge and skills. Further, CAs are held to high ethical standards. This commitment to ethical behavior enhances their credibility and trustworthiness, which is critical in financial and business matters.

CAs tend to earn competitive salaries with an average salary being £36,045 per year due to their specialized skills and expertise. The financial rewards often increase with experience and seniority. Many CAs use their financial knowledge to start their own businesses or consult for others. The CA designation provides a solid foundation for entrepreneurial endeavors.

And it is true that CAs are the unicorns of the job market. They're in high demand across various industries and sectors, which means you've got solid job security, even in economic downturns. SO becoming a CA is a golden ticket that allows you to earn well, experience life fully, and give back doubly to the community. 


Although ICAEW is headquartered in England and Wales, it has a global presence, and its credentials are accepted all over the world. To advance worldwide standards and mobility for chartered accountants, it collaborates with other international accounting groups.

Known for its dedication to excellence, professionalism, and ethical behavior, ICAEW is still regarded as the top professional association for chartered accountants today. The organization's history demonstrates its continual commitment to improving the accounting profession and looking out for the interests of its members and the larger financial community.

ICAEW serves as a body that promotes the instruction, professional growth, and regulation of chartered accountants in England and Wales, ensuring that they uphold the highest standards of competence and integrity in their work.