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Accountancy | Advisory | Audit | Tax

ACA accounting apprenticeship​s

With our ACA accounting apprenticeships you can become a brilliant Chartered Accountant (ACA).

ACA apprenticeships are open to graduates with any degree. You’ll earn while you learn, working whilst studying, and we’ll support you all the way.

Why do an ACA accounting apprenticeship with us?

  • You’ll earn while you learn

  • We fund your training and professional qualifications

  • The work is really varied – no two days are the same

  • You’ll feel supported by your team and by a community of fellow graduates

  • We’re a large firm able to offer great career progression opportunities

  • You can live and work in the stunning South West

  • You’ll be guided by senior colleagues and supported by your own mentor

  • Our ACA pass rates are well above the national average

ACA accounting apprenticeships are level 7 qualifications, equivalent to a Master’s degree.

You’ll be supported through your ACA apprenticeship to achieve the Association of Chartered Accountants (ACA) qualification.

The ACA apprenticeship is a three-year programme that includes 450 days’ technical work experience, 15 exams and an accredited STEPs course of structured interpersonal development. The awarding body is the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) ladders.

What do I need to apply to do an ACA accounting apprenticeship?

  • A degree at 2:2 or above in any subject

  • 112 or more UCAS points

  • GCSE Maths and English at grade 4/grade C or above

  • You’ll need to enjoy working with numbers, but we’ll teach you everything you need to know – for now we’re looking for aptitude and a willingness to learn!
  • You’ll need great written and oral communication skills to build trusted relationships with clients

  • A sense of fun and a desire to succeed

Read more about the recruitment process for our ACA apprenticeships.

What will I be doing during my ACA apprenticeship?

As an ACA apprentice, it’s likely you’ll join us in one of our Audit teams, but some of our offices also have ACA trainees join in Business Advisory. We’re the largest independent chartered accountancy firm in the South West, so there are lots of opportunities to develop the career that’s right for you.

Two accountancy apprentices are looking at a computer screen together at work
Business Advisory
Help our clients prepare year-end accounts, management accounts, forecasts and projections. Get involved in areas such as company and business taxation, company secretarial matters and VAT returns.

You’ll typically work in a team at a client’s premises, so every day is different. You’ll be providing assurance services and professional advice, generally working in small teams of two or three.

Audits can last anything from a few days to a few weeks, and while the work can be challenging, it’s an invaluable grounding for your accountancy career.

Professional Practices

You’ll support law firms, doctors, and a range of other professionals. You’ll gain a great range of experience, including accounting, tax (partnership, company and personal), audit and preparing analysis, forecasts and projections.

Balancing client work with study for professional exams requires focus and dedication but it’s also the best way to learn. As an ACA accounting apprentice, you’ll quickly gain experience in many areas, guided by senior colleagues and supported and advised by your own mentor or student counsellor.

Once you’re qualified, we’ll support your continued development in your role or you can move into another team, such as corporate finance, digital tax or insolvency. 

You may opt to explore the opportunities in another office or even another country, as we’re a member of PKF International, which means we work with accountancy firms all around the world.

Throughout your ACA apprenticeship at PKF Francis Clark you’ll be supported in a nurturing environment, receive comprehensive training and invaluable exposure to a broad range of career-building client work.

Where might an ACA accounting apprenticeship take me?

Achieving your professional accountancy qualifications is a huge career milestone. By the time you complete your ACA accounting apprenticeship, you’ll typically be managing a portfolio of clients, with ongoing support from the senior colleagues. You may also be managing a small team of trainees.

Accountants can work in practice in an accounting firm, or in industry for a business. Working in practice gives you the opportunity to work with various clients from a range of industries. You’ll likely try out different specialisms such as audit, digital, insolvency or tax. Working in industry usually means that you work for one business, likely as part of an in-house finance team.

Practice offers a structured career progression from trainee through to senior roles. This can look something like progressing from an ACA accountancy apprenticeship to become an accountant, then senior, assistant manager, manager, senior manager, director and ultimately a partner.

But we know everyone wants different things. We want you to be you and to be happy, so we have regular career conversations to understand where you want to go. And we’ve mapped out career pathways at the firm so that it’s clear how to progress here.

PKF Francis Clark rank 28th on the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list for 2023, compiled by the Department for Education.

How does an apprenticeship work?

Your training programme

You’ll have a structured induction at the firm before starting your formal accountancy studies. This includes:

  • Meeting your new team and manager
  • Going to an induction event for introductory training and to meet our senior leaders and all the other new trainees
  • Functional onboarding within your department – getting to grips with the basics of the work you’ll be doing to set you up for success
  • A range of other training focused on cybersecurity, anti-money laundering and how to act commercially


Following your induction, your training will quickly start to build a breadth and depth of experience, and in addition there are opportunities to do a placement with another department.

You’ll alternate between studying with an independent training provider and working on-the-job. In between studies you are a working accountant. You’ll have regular reviews with your line manager and the training provider to ensure you are on track.

As an ACA accounting trainee, you’ll spend 20% of your time training in person with First Intuition, the award-winning accountancy training provider. This is often ‘block release’ where you train for several consecutive days at a time. Depending on your location, overnight stays may be required.

You are expected to do independent study in your own time. This varies by person but is typically at least 10 hours per week and can be a lot more, especially when you are revising for your professional examinations.

You’ll have a student counsellor, who is an experienced Chartered Accountant, to support you with feedback and advice. You’ll also have a buddy, a current trainee who’ll partner with you before you start and during the first few weeks. The buddy’s role is to welcome you, answer any questions and invite you along to work social events.

Chartered Accountant (or ACA) is a level seven qualification. It takes three years to complete, and the firm pays for your exams and training. You’ll be assessed by examination. For the latest syllabus see the Institute of Chartered Accountants In England and Wales (ICAEW) website.

Employee stories

ACA apprenticeships

Bristol Trainee accountant jobs, ACA (graduates)

We’ve always got new job opportunities in the pipeline.
You can email [email protected] outlining your experience and what you’re looking for and we’ll be in touch.
ACA apprentice beside a giant sunflower
Two colleagues walking together in a green space outside the PKF Francis Clark Exeter office
Colour kitchen area with three young professionals relaxed and talking together
Young professional smiling as he stands on a balcony with Sutton Harbour in Plymouth behind him

Our commitment to hybrid work means that our people have the option to work in any of our offices at any time, and to spend some time working at home (or wherever they want to work!). The exact details of what hybrid working looks like varies from person to person, depending on the exact operational needs of each role.

Our commitment to hybrid work means that our people have the option to work in any of our offices at any time, and to spend some time working at home (or wherever they want to work!). The exact details of what hybrid working looks like varies from person to person, depending on the exact operational needs of each role.

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