ACA Exams

The ACA qualification is no easy ride. The exams are like nothing else you will have encountered before. They are difficult and time-pressured, coupled with the fact that you are combining your studies with full time work in the office. We don't want to put you off. Far from it, but you have to be 100% certain that this qualification is for you.

The ACA qualification comprises three stages: the Certificate Level, the Professional Level, and the Advanced Level. Certificate Level exams are held throughout the year. Exams are held in March, June, September and December for the Professional Stage, and in July and November for the Advanced Stage.

Certificate and Professional Levels

The Certificate Level comprises six papers which introduce you to the core concepts underpinning accountancy, and these are examined by a 90 minute computer based assessment. The Professional Level also comprises six papers which build upon the Certificate Level and demonstrate how you can build on your knowledge in practice. The Professional Level modules are all examined by traditional written exam.

The Certificate Level and Professional Level modules complement each other and are frequently taught at the same time. There are obvious pairings of modules - the first four papers (Accounting, Assurance, Financial Accounting and Audit & Assurance) form the Early Hurdle and you would then sit the remaining eight papers in batches of four as given below: ;






Audit & assurance

Financial accounting & reporting


Principles of taxation

Business Planning

Tax Compliance

Business & finance

Management information

Business strategy

Financial management


You may be eligible for exemptions from some of the papers, but we would still want you to attend the courses to ensure your knowledge is maintained. The whole point of these exams is to give you knowledge and skills that equip you for the real world. Your studies will complement your work in the office, and your work in the office will compliment your studies.


Advanced Stage

The Advanced Stage comprises two technical integration papers and a case study. It is here that you really focus on putting theory into practice, as you will be asked to come up with practical real life solutions to genuine problems using a multi-disciplinary approach.  You will need to exercise professional judgement, whilst demonstrating business awareness and strong technical skills.

Success at the Advanced Stage is not just about classroom learning.  The experience you gain in the office is also critical, as you will be applying your classroom learning to the practical issues facing businesses. 

The first of the two technical papers is Corporate Reporting, covering financial and corporate reporting and accounting, audit and assurance, taxation, law and ethics.

The second paper is Strategic Business Management and this concentrates on demonstrating your understanding, planning skills and ability to give advice.

The Case Study tests your professional skills in the context of a specific business issue, often incorporating multiple areas of the syllabus.

Further details of the exact contents of each subject can be found at


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