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The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)

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Institution Profile

Accountancy is an integral part of all modern businesses and can provide a satisfying and varied profession for any bright graduate. In order to succeed, it is a basic requirement to gain a professional qualification such as the ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant), from ICAEW.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales

ICAEW was established in 1880 and incorporated by Royal Charter when local societies of accountants in the UK cities of London, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield came together. As a Chartered body, ICAEW operates primarily in the public interest.

One of the oldest and most established professional accountancy body in the world, early ICAEW presidents went on to form today's 'Big 4' accounting firms: Arthur Cooper (1883-4), William Welch Deloitte (1888-9), Edwin Waterhouse (1892-4), Ernest Cooper (1899-1902) and William Peat (1906-8).

The ICAEW Chartered Accountant

ICAEW chartered accountants are well-rounded business professionals who are able to provide advice which allows people to do business with confidence. Qualifying to be an accountant is not just about being proficient in numbers. On top of financial reporting, tax, audting, forensic accounting, insolvency and corporate finance, chartered accountants are also expected to have a solid foundation in economics, management, marketing, finance and information systems. ICAEW chartered accountants assume the role of business advisers, making high-level strategic decisions.

Regardless of your clarity in your career path, accountancy and the ACA is an ideal starting point for any successful career in business. ICAEW members work in over 160 countries worldwide, and you might be surprised to learn that more than half of qualified ACAs hold designations as finance directors, business analysts, chief executive officers or in senior management positions.

Internationally recognised as the premier business and financial qualification, the ACA demonstrates outstanding achievements. 84% of the 100 most highly capitalised UK companies listed on the London Stock Exchange include an ICAEW Chartered Accountant and notable ICAEW members in Malaysia include Tan Sri Hassan Marican, past President and CEO of Petronas; Dato' Mohd Bakke Salleh, President and CEO of Sime Darby Group; and Tan Sri Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes, CEO of Air Asia.

A significant number of ACAs train and work in the public sector across all levels as well as in commercial organisations. ICAEW members also play a key role in smaller businesses, often using their skills to start up their own company. The ability to plan for finance growth is vital to the development of exciting new products and services.

How to become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant

To become an ICAEW chartered accountant, you need to complete the ACA qualification and be accepted as a member of the ICAEW.The ACA is recognised worldwide as one of the leading financial and business qualifications and represents being an Associate of the ICAEW.

Typically, it will take a graduate three years to complete an ACA training agreement, which includes passing the ICAEW examinations and technical experience requirements. It is a challenging qualification but it is also definitely a worthwhile investment for you. Once qualified, your ACA will be recognised worldwide as a sign of quality and professionalism. ICAEW members achieve partner or financial director status early in their careers, paving the way for greater rewards and influence as their career progresses.

For Malaysia, there is CFAB for school leavers, a Sunway-TES programme which is a stepping stone to the ACA.


The Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA) qualification is a business and finance qualification that brings together technical knowledge, practical application, work experience and best practice. It develops a solid foundation in accounting principles, business operations, profitable performance, market competitiveness and business awareness, alongside communications skills and understanding of the legal implications of business transactions.

Professional ethics underpins the work of an ACA and is a key element in your development. Ethical awareness will be developed throughout your training and membership of ICAEW.

The Institute is constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of the business world. The training and support that the ICAEW offers build the qualities employees need and will get your career off to a great start.

Currently, ICAEW trains 17,000 students across the world and 600 in Malaysia. If you decide to train to become an ICAEW chartered accountant, you will be joining an elite group of future leaders who will enter a rewarding profession that has a global impact in all areas of business and a well deserved reputation of high standards, variety and integrity.

Since 2004, the ACA has been available in Malaysia after ICAEW formalised its partnership with Sunway- TES in Malaysia. Sunway-TES delivers training for the ICAEW qualification in Malaysia, and the first batch of locally-trained ACAs graduated in 2008, with an impressive five world prize winners.

Training to be an ACA

Training for the ACA usually takes between three to five years, depending on prior qualifications or entry route to the qualification.

Students will first seek employment with one of our Authorised Training Employer (ATE) and sign a training agreement with their employer, which requires them to complete a minimum of 450 days of technical work experience in addition to the required exams.

Globally, there are more than 2,200 Authorised Training Employers (ATEs), including well-known names such as the Big 4 accountancy firms (Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KMPG, PwC), American Express, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Nomura.

There are 35 Authorised Training Employers (ATEs) in Malaysia, including the top accounting firms (PwC, Ernst & Young, KPMG, Deloitte, BDO and Grant Thornton), GLCs (Petronas, Sime Darby, and Boustead), banks (Maybank and CIMB) and regulators (Bursa and Securities Commission).

The qualification comprises two stages: the Professional Stage and the Advanced Stage. The Professional Stage consists of knowledge modules which provide an introduction to the core concepts underpinning accountancy, and the application modules which demonstrate how this knowledge can be put into practice. The Advanced Stage consists of two integrated technical exams, requiring the student to apply their financial reporting, taxation, audit and assurance and ethics knowledge, and a case study.

ICAEW also has agreements with several other professional accountancy bodies across the world, including offering credits for prior learning for the ACA qualification. Examples of such agreements are the Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) signed with the Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA), Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP), which set out details on how accountants qualified with those bodies may be exempt from some training and exam requirements for the ICAEW's ACA qualification.

Upon graduating, students are qualified to become members of the ICAEW and to use the designatory letters ACA after their name. After more than ten years as a member, members can apply for a Fellowship of the ICAEW, which allows the use of the designatory letters FCA.


The Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (CFAB) will give you practical and essential knowledge in the fundamentals of finance, accounting and business, and is the gateway to a career in any industry or financial arena. Following the launch of the CFAB in UK, Sunway College The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales formulated a specially-designed innovative programme for school leavers, which is a feeder into the ICAEW and provides school leavers with an accelerated route to the ACA qualification. The Sunway CFAB requires 5 As in SPM or equivalent. It is a 18 months full time programme which includes a 3 months internship in one of ICAEW Authorised Training Employer.

Tuition is offered through Sunway University College in Malaysia. It can also be studied via distance learning.

Why choose the ACA?

  • Many ACA trainees can double their salary during their training agreement. Salaries for newly qualified ACAs compare favourably with careers in law general management and banking.
  • Being 'ICAEW chartered' means you are recognised as being at the top of your profession. It shows you have industry specific skills and experience, not just academic and theoretical knowledge.
  • Recent independent surveys show that ACAs can command higher salaries throughout their careers when compared with those holding other accountancy qualifications.
  • Achieve partner or financial director status early in their careers. A significant benefit of the ACA is the structured training provided through a training agreement.

Training occurs in your day to day job and in preparation for exams through professional tuition providers, typically paid for by your employer, in full or partially depending on the ATE. Employers value graduates and school / college leavers with potential to learn and a track record which demonstrates excellent employability skills.

The Future for Accountancy

This is an extremely interesting and challenging time to be embarking on a career as a chartered accountant. People making financial decisions need knowledge and guidance based on the highest technical and ethical standards, and an ICAEW chartered accountant will be able to provide that better than anyone and an ICAEW chartered accountant will be able to provide such expertise.

Recent Developments

In 2010, many of the world's economies shifted from recession to recovery and it was also a year in which the long-term legacies of the financial crisis started to crystallise. On the positive side, there has been a renewed demand for leadership and business skills, and for better financial management, particularly in the public sector. So despite the pressures to retain clients and keep fees steady, good advice is recognised as one of the necessary outlays in hard times.

Scrutiny of the profession has increased in the last few years. Governments and regulators, particularly in the UK and Europe, have turned the regulatory spotlight to auditors and their role in the crisis. Further changes are expected in the future.

Against this challenging backdrop, ICAEW membership rose to over 136,000 and the number of ACAs in training also increased to a 19-year high.

Key Personnel

Ms. Loh Wei Yuen

Head of Malaysia, The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)

Ms. Loh graduated from University College London in Biochemical Engineering in 1987 and qualified as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in 1991.

When she returned to Malaysia in 1993, she worked as a management consultant in one of the Big 4 companies where her work included corportisation and privatisation, advisory, mergers and acquisitions and financial feasibility studies.

Prior to her role in ICAEW, she had over 10 years' of experience in the education industry having held the position of Director of Corporate Affairs with a private higher education institution.

Contact Details

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)

Malaysia Office Level 2,
Chulan Tower, 3 Jalan Conlay,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Wilayah Persekutuan


Tel: +6 03 2171 6022
Fax: +6 03 2171 6025
Website: http://www.studymalaysia.com/icaew
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