ICAEW.com works better with JavaScript enabled.

Who is it for / eligibility criteria

The Pathways to Membership scheme allows fully qualified members from certain professional bodies to apply for ICAEW membership based on their experience. Eligible applicants complete an Examination of Experience.

This is a series of questions which assess your experience, achievements, skills and expertise and is completed in your own time. Each application must be supported by an eligible sponsor.

Who's it for

  • Individuals around the world – looking to develop and accelerate your career.
  • Accountancy firms – helps with succession planning allowing you to plan for the future and retain the chartered status of your firm.
  • Organisations – wanting to ensure their top finance teams are recognised as a world-class team of chartered accountants.

Benefits

  • Awarded based on your experience – there is an Examination of Experience to complete which you complete in your own time.
  • Successful individuals who join ICAEW through Pathways are entitled to use the ACA designation after their name and are entitled to full ICAEW member benefits.
  • Supports your succession planning and talent retention plans.
  • Simplifies administration by removing the need to be regulated by more than one accountancy body.
  • ICAEW membership gives you access to a worldwide community of professionals, excellent technical expertise, ongoing career support and development opportunities plus a huge variety of products, services and events.

Eligibility criteria – applicants

Applicants can apply for ICAEW membership through Pathways if they meet the full eligibility criteria. To be eligible to apply, applicants must be able to fully meet all of the six elements of the eligibility criteria.

1)You must be a current and fully qualified member holding full membership from one of the bodies below:

* Individuals who joined HKICPA as members from the Association of International Accountants (AIA) before 01 June 2008 are not eligible to apply for Pathways.

If you are a student or part-qualified member of one of these bodies – you are not eligible to apply for Pathways, as you are not a fully qualified member.

2) AND you must have at least five years of full membership (completed in full by the relevant submission deadline) of that professional body as a fully qualified member.

Any time you spent as a student or part-qualified member cannot be counted towards the five year requirement as you would not have been fully qualified during that time – this must be confirmed on your letter of good standing.

3) AND you must have gained membership of that professional body through the normal education and training route (as opposed to through any kind of reciprocal membership agreement or full or advanced credit / exemption arrangement) – this must be confirmed on your letter of good standing.

4) AND as a fully qualified current member, you are compliant with the continuing professional development (CPD) requirements of your professional body – this must be confirmed on your letter of good standing.

5) AND that you are a member in good standing with a good disciplinary record and no outstanding complaints against you – this must be confirmed on your letter of good standing.

6) AND your application is supported by an eligible sponsor. This must be an individual who holds current membership of a professional body that is a full IFAC member body and who knows you, and who is in good standing, is compliant with the CPD requirements of that body and who has a good disciplinary record with no complaints outstanding against them. For full sponsor requirements, please see sponsor criteria.

Letter of good standing

As part of your Pathways application, you must provide a letter of good standing from the professional body that entitles you to apply for Pathways (see list of eligible member bodies above). This letter must be issued and dated within the three months immediately before the Pathways deadline date that you are submitting at. This letter from your professional body must confirm all of the following to be valid:

  • That you are a member of that body
  • The date and year you were admitted into membership
  • That membership has been gained by the normal education and training route (you may need to ask them for transcripts to evidence this)
  • That you have a good disciplinary record with no outstanding complaints against you, or advise us of the details of any disciplinary record or outstanding complaint(s)
  • That you are fully compliant with the continuing professional development (CPD) requirements of that body
  • That this professional body knows of no ethical or other reason why you should not be admitted to ICAEW

Your application will be invalid if you are unable to provide a letter of good standing. It must confirm all of the items shown in the list above. This letter must be submitted with your completed application. It must be issued and dated within the three months immediately before the Pathways deadline date that you are submitting at.

Practising certificate (PC) requirements

To understand if you need to apply for an ICAEW practising certificate (PC) with your Pathways application.

Audit qualification (AQ) requirements

If you need / wish to sign audit reports in the UK, you may need to apply for the Audit Qualification (AQ) with your Pathways application.

Sponsor criteria

You cannot use multiple sponsors to support your application. One individual must be able to meet all of the requirements to serve as sponsor. If you do not have a suitable sponsor, your application will not be valid.

Examination of Experience

Eligible applicants need to complete an Examination of Experience. This is a series of questions which assess your past achievements, planning and analytical skills, professional judgement, quality of thought and awareness of current technical issues. You complete these in your own time and submit your completed Examination of Experience and application by the specified submission deadline dates.

Start your application

To apply for Pathways, eligible applicants need to have an ICAEW candidate/student registration number. It is your responsibility to ensure you meet the full eligibility criteria (including having a suitable sponsor). If you do not meet the full eligibility criteria, please do not register as a candidate. Candidate registration is only for those who meet the full eligibility Pathways criteria. 

If you meet the required eligibility criteria for Pathways, and intend to submit an application, you need to have an ICAEW candidate/student number. Gaining an ICAEW candidate number does not commit you submitting and application at the next session, but it does show your intent to apply at some point in the near future. Submitting a Pathways application includes paying the £260 exam admission fee (per attempt). This fee is non-refundable in all circumstances.