Problems with the ICAEW Training contract (Pakistan)


I am writing this in response to the answer by and ICAEW staff in the discussion "ACA vs ACCA" : , where certain benefits have been discussed regarding the ACA qualification over ACCA.

In the discussion "ACA vs ACCA"  Suzanne Heath has stated that it takes 3 years to complete the ACA qualification on average. ACA qualification also focuses on development of ethics throughout the training period. Also the training is formalised and highly regulated which is one of the distinguishing features of ACA over ACCA. I have no doubt over the quality of the ACA qualification but I would like to highlight some severe problems faced by ICAEW students in Pakistan.  

I myself am an ACCA finalist who will be attempting my final exam in Dec 2011. I recently registered with the ICAEW as an independent student and have been awarded exemptions for 10 Professional stage exam papers. I live in Pakistan and I am also facing a similar problem as any other student in my country.

From now on I will be paying the annual subscription fee, but there is no response from any of the approved training organisations registered with the ICAEW I have applied to, although I have an excellent academic record and 6 months experience in an audit firm as an ACCA Trainee. It is considered to be a miracle if someone gets the ICAEW training contract in Pakistan unless you personally know the senior partner at that firm or one of its big clients, but even if we get this contract, the firms pay us way less than the minimum wage in Pakistan i.e the minimum wage is Rs.8000/mnth whereas the firms here don't pay you more than Rs.6500/mnth. To top it all off one of the big 4 (Ernst & Young) pays its ICAEW trainees Rs.5000/mnth for the entire 3.5 year term of the contract. Just to put things in perspective, a house maid earns more than twice this amount.

I think that after putting so much time, money and effort into the ACA qualification, not being able to get a training contract that pays you almost half the minimum wage for 3.5 years of your life is a tragedy. How can this be a sign of proper regulation and high regard of ethics by ICAEW?

After considering all these facts I will be 27 years old (making it 7 years to qualify) till I finally give the case study exam and qualify as an ACA and start making money which I won't be embarrassed for me to tell people about. And that is only if I am lucky enough to even get this training contract with an approved training organisation.

I believe that it should be ICAEW's responsibility to make sure that all these students who invested so much in the ACA qualification at the very least get the training contract.

Please, don't mind my harsh language but it is what it is and I would be interested to know what I should do in this scenario and what are ICAEW's efforts regarding these problems faced by its students.


  • Hi Faisal

    First of all - thanks for getting in touch with us and I'm sorry you are experiencing difficulties. Allow me to explain a few things and offer some assistance as below:

    Every year a significant number of ACCA finalists and affiliates in Pakistan register with ICAEW to study to become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. I am pleased to say that many (over 40%) are successful in getting a training contract immediately.

    However a combination of the high volume of registrations and the current economic climate means that finding a placement is not always easy. We continue to invest in growing the number of authorised employers who train ACA students, particularly in the small-medium practices and business sector, and would urge you to consider the benefits of training outside of the larger firms in order to get the relevant experience. You should also consider looking at employment that will further develop your professional skills and, if this employer is not currently registered as an authorised training employer then you could talk to them/suggest that they apply for registration as an authorised training employer. This is a straightforward process and will not cost them anything.

    Details of the scheme can be found under the 'potential employers' tab at or go to the direct link here

    You may also wish to consider suspending your ICAEW student registration until you have found suitable employment. By doing this you will not lose any exemptions already awarded to you and you can re-register as an ICAEW student at any time. You can contact the student support team for this

    Regarding your second point the ICAEW does not stipulate salary levels. However if a student felt that they had a specific issue in this regard they should contact us directly.

    ICAEW wants to attract the very best talent and I can assure you that we are working very hard to help support all of our students into membership.

    Once again, thanks for your earlier information and I hope I have managed to answer your queries and offer some help.

  • Hi Suzanne, 

    I am pleased to hear from you and your suggestions have been very helpful and comforting. I will certainly consider the options you have mentioned about the training contract and suspending my student status if need be.

    Thank you for your support,


  • @ Muhammad Zubair Rafi

    If you become an ACA (ICAP) "Member", your ICAP articles will be counted as ICAEW articles. Therefore, all you need to do after that is pass the last 3 Advance stage exams of ICAEW and you will become an ICAEW member.

     @ bilal

    You are absolutely correct, I went to KPMG's HR department to inquire about getting the ICAEW training contract. Their representative told me that I first need to complete 3 years of ACCA articles at KPMG, then do a job for about 2 years there, and then request the partner on a personal level to give me ICAEW training contract.



    I don't understand why these issues are not being dealt with. What is the whole point of giving an approved training employer status to an organisation if they will simply discourage the qualification itself. Most of the ICAEW ATE's in Pakistan simply refuse to give ICAEW articles.

    I believe ICAEW should analyse the number of students and see how many of their ATEs are actually training these students (Although, I think they already do).

    A new strategy to help ICAEW students in Pakistan for working towards their membership needs to be designed and implemented.


  • Hi Mujtaba

    Please visit visit our website regarding questions are exemptions. You can also get more information about ACCA students wanting to progress to ICAEW in Pakistan.

  • Hi!!

    This is in addition to the problem of getting training contact from icaew approved training employer, the telenor is an approved tarining employer as per th list of approved training employer but when i contacted them they replied with the answer that they are not the approved employer for icaew and they do not provide with any such training. Kindly look into this matter