ACA Professional Training Scheme

ACA Professional Training Scheme

Job description

Our ACA professional training scheme supports you right through to qualify as a Chartered Accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

A school leaver with three good A-levels (or equivalent) in any subjects. This route takes up to five years through to ICAEW membership.

More details of the entry requirements are given under the ‘Apply’ section.

Our graduates and school leavers come from a range of backgrounds and have studied the full spectrum of subjects including arts, social sciences, sciences and engineering – not just maths! Our work benefits from different perspectives that people from different backgrounds bring. Whether you join us as a graduate or as a school leaver you will benefit from a highly successful and well supported scheme designed to help you succeed all the way.

What you’ll do
Alongside your qualification you’ll work with clients from across government. You’ll start out working as a team member supporting our core financial audits, building up over time to work on bigger audits and more complex work, taking more of a lead role as you develop your skills and confidence. While working mainly on financial audits you’ll also have the opportunity to be involved in a range of our other work – including support for Parliament, investigations and our larger value for money studies of major government projects and programmes, which result in high profile reports to Parliament that often make the headlines.

Where you’ll go
Don’t expect to spend a lot of your time at your desk. Our trainees get involved in all kinds of projects that get them out in the field to all kinds of places across the UK, and sometime even further afield. You’ll get to work out on clients’ premises where you can see how businesses really work and how they can improve.

The impact you’ll make
Right from the start, you’ll contribute to work that matters. Whatever you work on it all serves to help hold government to account for the way it uses public money and helps to promote improvements in public service delivery. The scope of our impact is huge – from health to education to justice to overseas development to the BBC and Bank of England – and much more.

Our recommendations and reports on good practice help government improve public services, and our work led to:

  • Audited savings of £734 million in 2016
  • £7.5bn saved since 2010
  • £16 savings for every £1 spent on running the NAO

Your Rewards

  • Along with work that just means more, you’ll benefit from a sociable, collaborative working culture, with support from others who have been there before you
  • Very competitive pay and benefits
  • Starting salary for School Leavers is over £23,000 (London) and over £18,000 (Newcastle). Annual pay increases plus increases for passing key stages of the qualification
  • 30 days of annual leave (including bank holidays), flexible working, and generous family leave
  • Fully funded ACA qualification and ICAEW membership subscriptions
  • Access to the excellent civil service pension scheme

Along with work that just means more, you’ll benefit from a sociable, collaborative working culture, with support from others who have been there before you.

What we’re looking for

School Leaver Trainees need to meet the following criteria:

  • 300 UCAS points or equivalent from your top three A-level grades (or equivalent). General Studies does not count. If you have 280 UCAS points (or equivalent) you may be eligible to apply based on the context of your educational and personal circumstances – please email for further details.
  • Please note from 2017 onwards the UCAS Tariff points are changing, you will require a minimum of 120 UCAS points or equivalent from your top three A level grades (or equivalent).
  • You must be a UK, Commonwealth, EEA or Swiss national to comply with Civil Service nationality rules and must hold a valid work permit. We are not able to sponsor work visas.

The NAO is an equal opportunities employer. We aim to reflect the diversity of the public we serve. We are committed to a fair and objective selection process free from discrimination on the basis of the following characteristics: disability, age, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation. Visit our main website to find out more about our commitment to diversity and equal opportunities.

What we are looking for

We will provide you with:-

  • First-class tuition with a high quality external professional training provider
  • 25 weeks’ paid study leave in block release to maximise your success
  • Exam pass rates that are well above the national average
  • A fully funded accountancy qualification and professional membership subscriptions (ICAEW)
  • Opportunities to develop a wide range of technical and professional as well as management and leadership skills to equip you for a fantastic career
  • Work in teams with other colleagues committed to collaboration, quality, and success
  • An excellent system of support from NAO colleagues all the way through
  • An NAO ‘buddy’ from our more experienced trainees, who will be on hand to answer any questions you have during those first few months
  • Relevant and varied work experience with challenges you can rise to and learn from
  • Opportunities to take responsibility early in your career

Your development and career
We’ll give you everything you need to rise to challenges and be at your best, including the time and support you need to get your ACA qualification, with generous paid study leave and support.

Our learning and development offering is excellent, combining: formal training courses on aspects of accounting and auditing as well as management and leadership skills; learning through our work; and learning from other colleagues.

Our annual LearnFest week combines presentations, workshops and seminars on a whole host of topics (you could also deliver one if you wish).

Looking further ahead we run talent programmes which identify, support and develop those with the potential to reach our most senior levels.

The more you develop, the more options will open up for you in terms of career development and progression. All across the NAO you’ll find people in leadership positions who started with us as trainees.

All this is within the context of a friendly, supportive and highly professional organisation with clear values which are: Independent, Authoritative, Collaborative and Fair.


Additional job details

LocationLondon, Newcastle upon Tyne

Competitive salary

To stay safe in your job search we recommend that you visit SAFERjobs, a non-profit, joint industry and law enforcement organisation working to combat job scams. Visit the SAFERjobs website for information on common scams and to get free, expert advice for a safer job search.