Difference between ICAS and ICAEW



Can some explain the difference between these two bodies and the exams. I know one is based in England and Wales and the other Scotland.

I was wondering why the Big 4 choose different bodies? For example KPMG only goes for ICAS.

On the KPMG website it says the following

" In our programme, you’ll be studying for a joint “ICAS” (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland) and “CIOT” (Chartered Institute of Taxation) qualification. "

So im assuming it def does not do ICAEW.

Im applying for a London role not one in Scotland so i just feel a bit confused as to what the difference is between them if anything at all.

Also doesnt Scotland have its own tax system? It has its own parliament at least.


ps Im a newbie to accounting/tax so excuse the ignorance while i go about learning it all within a week. :slight_smile:


I am not really sure of the difference either but would prefer to do the ACA as well so that put me off applying to E&Y too. But I did hear that a lot of students at E&Y are complaining that they don’t want to do ICAS. A former colleague of mine works for them and he reckons that a lot of students are failing ICAS and their applications have been down and so they are considering giving ppl a choice of which they want to do which is good news. Am gonna wait until next year to apply anyway so might see if anything has changed by then.


I think the only difference is the structure of the timing of the exams. At the end of the day they are pretty much the same qualification. ICAS was the first body of chartered accountants and so if you do ICAS you have a CA, no other institute can call themselves Ca, hence ICAEW uses ACA.
Its not unusual for some firms (EY) to prefer the ICAS syllabus and training so that is all they offer, even outside of Scotland.
Like I said though, they are near identical and any employer will probably have this view. I certainly would not let this put you off applying to a certain firm.


Thats interesting littlelegs, I’m starting at PwC next year doing ICAS, but that is in Edinburgh and perhaps all their offices south of the border use ICAEW.


Btw tax is not different for Scotland than England - that’s not one of the Scottish Parliament’s devolved powers.



I think everyone who trains at PwC in Scotland does ICAS yeah. If they did ICAEW I think they would have to go to Newcastle as the nearest location for classes and exams. I worked with a guy last summer who started ACA in England before moving to Edinburgh but obviously kept up with ACA program and had to travel to Newcastle a fair bit.