Common FAQs about studying Chartered Accountancy

Getting professional experience as a Chartered student

It’s the unique combination of education and practical experience that makes the Chartered qualification different. If you’re thinking about studying with us this year, but are unsure about how you’d go about getting the experience you need, we’ve put together some answers to the most frequently asked questions.

How much practical experience do I need to get to qualify as a Chartered Accountant?

This depends on your starting position. You will need three years if you are an accredited masters or postgraduate student, three-and-a-half years as a degree graduate and four years if you’re joining us from Accounting Technicians.

I’ve heard that for Chartered Accountants Ireland, you need a training contract. Do I have to enter into one?

You don’t have to enter into a training contract and there is no training contract for students under our Flexible Route. You need to get the same amount and type of experience as all Chartered Accountancy students, but you are free to choose your employer and job sector, and modify these as your circumstances change. Your experience does not have to be continuous, and you can gain your experience in more than one company. If you qualify through the Flexible Route, your Chartered qualification will be recognised the same as someone who went through a training contract – there is no distinction made.

My manager has questions about their role in helping me get my experience

You will need a mentor to supervise your experience. This can be a Chartered Accountants Ireland member or any IFAC accountant that works with you. And if you don’t have access to a mentor where you work, we can assign you someone. If your manager or HR department have questions, we’ll be happy to talk to them about any aspect of this, and we’ve also got information for employers on our website.

Can I get credit for prior work experience?

Yes, we will consider recognition of relevant prior work experience on a case-by-case basis. Naturally, certain conditions will apply and it will be necessary to detail your experience, and have it verified by your employer(s). It is important to note that prior experience must be comparable to the kind of experience that will be undertaken during your training.

You can apply to have your prior experience checked after you have enrolled on the programme.

My current role can’t provide me with any accounting experience of the kind I’ll need to generate in order to qualify – any ideas?

That’s not a problem. The Flexible Route allows you to start your professional education, and then gain your relevant accounting experience at a later date. You don’t have to be working in an accountancy environment to enrol with us and start your exams. In order to qualify, you’ll need to record the same amount of practical experience as every other Chartered student. Chances are that once you start your Chartered studies you’re going to be an attractive prospect for employers and many students quickly migrate to accounting-related roles. These roles are not restricted to the finance industry either – there are Chartered trainees in IT, telecoms, manufacturing, retail, and engineering companies.

Our Training Support Unit are on hand to assist you with any queries you have in this area, and can work with you (and your company) to find a solution to any problems you have around gaining experience.

I’ve heard that studying Chartered Accountancy is all about audit but I don’t work in audit, and I don’t see my future career involving audit.

That’s no problem. While students will need to exhibit experience across financial reporting and regular exposure to books of accounts, there is no specific requirement to generate audit experience. Chartered Business Route students may not be working in audit, and they won’t be required to do so either.

Many of our members often remark that an ability to understand audit and speak as an equal with external auditors sets them apart in the profession and has given them a real competitive edge. On that basis, you’ll have exposure to audit through your education, and you can choose the audit elective in your FAE.

Pleas get in touch by email if you have any questions.

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