As part of our 4 year Apprenticeship programme, BDO will support you through a professional qualification as well as your Level 7 Accountancy/Taxation Professional Apprenticeship*, the equivalent of a Master’s Degree.

This means that on successful completion of your programme, you’ll complete your relevant qualification and have developed the skills and behaviours that you’ll require for your future success.

*Please note that the Level 7 Accountancy/Taxation Professional Apprenticeship covers: ACCA, CIMA, ICAEW and CIoT qualification pathways.

BDO is fully committed to the government initiative to increase learning and training through apprenticeship standards in the accountancy profession. Therefore, as part of your school leaver programme, you’ll sign up to these apprenticeship standards.

Onwards and upwards


Depending on the role you have applied to, you’ll start by studying an entry level qualification of either the CFAB, ATT or AAT. Once you have completed this you will go on to study towards the ACA, CTA, ACA/CTA joint qualification or ACCA.

Running alongside your professional training are a range of additional courses to progress your development. For example, these might help you write compelling reports or bring more professionalism to your presentations. It’s also important to remember that an accountancy qualification provides you with an excellent foundation for a business career in any field.

Trainees ordinarily find that certain business areas suit their interests and skills more than others. To help you make that choice, we’ve included details of the training programmes in this section.

The Association of Chartered Accountants (ACA), through the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), is regarded worldwide as a premier financial business qualification. The ACA is our main qualification for the Audit business area and is taken by most Tax trainees in the form of the ACA/CTA joint programme.

To achieve the ACA, you must complete a three year training agreement and complete the Institute exams which are made up of:

  • 15 exams, depending on your exemptions from University, this may be less.
  • A minimum of three years relevant practical work experience.
  • An online Ethics and Professional Scepticism module and assessment, which you will need to take complete.

All study is a blend of classroom, online lectures and distance learning, for greater flexibility.
Below we have outlined the typical path you would expect to take during your Apprenticeship Programme if studying for the ACA and Level 7 Apprenticeship.

Studying for it won’t be an easy ride, and you’ll need to be hard-working, committed and determined. But once achieved, your qualification will be recognised worldwide as a sign of quality and professionalism. And will offer you enviable professional success, an internationally-diverse business career and fantastic rewards.

1st Year

  • Work closely with managers to complete projects and administrative duties
  • Gain an understanding of how a small business works and how BDO positions itself to clients
  • Plenty of support from managers and senior managers
  • Compliance based project work on smaller businesses.

Qualifications

  • Complete first 6 exams for the Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (CFAB) qualifications
  • Assessment takes the form of coursework and practical tasks.

2nd Year

  • Look after larger clients
  • More independence – building your own professional relationships and network
  • Direct contact with clients
  • Still lots of support from managers and others.

Qualification

  • Complete 3 professional level exams.
  • Start working towards your Apprenticeship activities

3rd Year

  • More responsibility, autonomy and independence in the work you carry out
  • More interaction with even larger clients and attendance at meetings.

Qualification

  • Commence ACA training contract
  • Complete 3 professional level exams.
  • Complete your apprenticeship activities

4th Year

  • Get involved a wider variety of projects such as advisory work etc.
  • Diversify client interaction by providing them with other services BDO offers.

Qualification

  • Complete Advanced Level papers.
  • Complete case study and Advanced Level paper to finish ACA qualification.
  • Complete the Apprenticeship End Point Assessment

For more details, see the ICAEW website. Please be aware that qualifications and courses can be updated and are subject to change.

The joint programme is an excellent way to qualify as an Associate Chartered Accountants (ACA) and Chartered Tax Advisors (CTA) under a Level 7 apprenticeship. It means you complete fewer exams than sitting both separately.

The ACA/CTA Joint Programme gives you the opportunity to specialise in areas such as taxation of major corporates, owner-managed businesses or indirect tax depending on your area of the Tax business. You also have to study for the CIOT Ethics Computer Based Assessment which has to be passed before you enter for the CTA Case Study exams.  Membership of the CIOT is recognised as the gold standard for tax specialists.

The Association of Tax Technicians (ATT) and Chartered Tax Advisors (CTA) Pathway provides you with a streamlined and efficient route to becoming a qualified tax professional. You will develop an in-depth knowledge of specific technical matters across the broad range of taxation disciplines and is often seen as a key qualification for Tax practitioners. The combined pathway enables you to achieve membership of both professional institutions.

Study blends college and online tuition and distance learning, to allow for greater flexibility.

For more information, click here, please be aware that qualifications and courses can be updated and subject to change.

1st  Year

  • Company tax returns and computations. Personal tax returns. Being involved in projects within the Senior Accounting Officer department – working with clients, tax investigations, travelling to different sites etc.
  • Get involved in organising societies and events within the office such as away days, socials etc.

Qualifications

  • Commence ATT training contract
  • Need to take separate accounting, law and ethics e-learning papers, three written exams and online learning
  • One exam in Personal Tax.

2nd Year

  • Expand on work undertaken in 1st year – more involvement in reporting, creating them from scratch etc.
  • Delegate smaller computations to 1st year Apprentices.
  • Start tax investigations.

 Qualifications

  • Personal Tax exam
  • One optional paper
  • Start your apprenticeship activities

3rd Year

  • Advisory work – expanding senior accounting officer work
  • Get more involved in client meetings
  • Prepare communications to be sent to the client
  • Increase independence in work. Give guidance and training.

 Qualification

  • Complete your Awareness paper
  • Select one of five Advanced technical paper depending on which are most relevant to work being completed, then one more general ‘awareness level’ paper

4th Year

  • Scope for delegating and managing increases
  • Increased face-to-face contact with clients
  • Independent meetings on client site

Qualification

  • Complete final Advanced technical paper with the Application and Skills paper
  • Complete Apprentice End Point Assessment

The AAT Accounting Qualification is a globally recognised qualification, valued by leading employers and clients.

This qualification will start you on the path to a successful accounting and finance career. It is suitable whether you’re starting out, already working in finance, or looking to gain the skills to change career.

Through the three qualification levels, you’ll learn practical skills to add value on all projects in the workplace, from basic finance administration skills, preparing final accounts, through to complex management accounting tasks. The AAT can be completed as a standalone qualification or it can provide progression opportunities to further AAT qualifications and other professional accounting bodies such as the ACCA.

All study blends college, online tuition and self-study, for greater flexibility.

For more information, see www.aat.org.uk. Please be aware that qualifications and courses can be updated and are subject to change.

We try to make training as flexible and relevant as we can for all trainees. And we believe there’s no substitute for first-hand experience. Learning is a two-way process. We will work with you to develop your potential to be the best. But to get the most from the programme, you must be willing to move out of your comfort zone, reflect on your experiences and develop new and creative solutions.

Our learning management system, iLearn, is designed to be a one-stop-shop for all learning activities at the firm – covering both technical and client-facing skills. It combines simple and convenient virtual learning online with face-to-face training and development.

As well as offering you technical seminars and courses that build the specialist knowledge and practical skills you need for your business area, we’ll also train you in a range of personal, management, client service and client-winning skills. This supports our strategy of putting clients first and helping businesses succeed by developing fully-rounded and versatile individuals to work for us.

Later in your training, you’re likely to be involved in bids for new BDO work. Our experienced bid team will be ready to offer you advice on strategy, help you to develop key messages and differentiators, and coach you in putting together presentations to potential clients.

An excellent foundation for a business career

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