To qualify as an accountant you must pass the professional exams and also obtain appropriate work experience which AIA refers to as Initial Professional Development (IPD). Providing details of your work experience is an important part of your journey to become a qualified accountant and proves that you can apply your knowledge and skills in a practical work environment.
IPD is defined as work experience, gained by performing the work of a professional accountant under qualified supervision at progressive levels of responsibility. AIA creates world class accountants, and our IPD requirements play an essential part in this process. The IPD programme is designed to help you to recognise, develop and record the professional skills and competencies you acquire through your work experience. You need to acquire three years' relevant and supervised work experience, which you can gain before, during or after studying for the exams.
IPD provides a framework in which you develop your professional skills and competence in the work environment by:
AIA provides each student with an IPD Record which should be kept up-to-date as they progress through their work experience and log your progression. The IPD Record is designed to signpost students to obtain the required technical competency and professional skills, values and ethics.
AIA are here to make sure you reach your goal of becoming a qualified accountant as soon as possible, with the right skills, knowledge and experience. See the Frequently Asked Questions below, and if you have any queries please contact AIA Membership Services or review the guides provided on this page.
The diverse nature of accountancy work makes it possible to gain your experience in industry, commerce, public practice and the public sector. You can obtain experience in more than one sector and you may find that a variety of experience will benefit your career. The organisation in which you undertake your IPD can be any size and the type of work may vary from one employer to another; however your employer should be able to offer you a varied training environment and must facilitate access to guidance and support from a professionally qualified accountant.
IPD may be gained before, during study for, or on successful completion of, the AIA exams, or a combination of these. Whichever route you choose the IPD must be concluded within ten years of registration as an AIA student.
AIA accepts any work experience obtained during six months or more full-time employment as IPD. Part-time work experience may also be considered. In order for experience to count as IPD it must be certified by a professionally qualified accountant (an International Accountant, a member of an IFAC member body or a member of a statutorily recognised professional body).
Your supervisor should be a professionally qualified accountant. Where possible they should be your direct supervisor within your organisation.
All AIA students and graduates should complete and submit their IPD Declaration by 1 October each year. The declaration can be made online.
Once you have completed your three years’ IPD, you are eligible to apply for Associate membership. Achieving Associate membership means that you have completed your professional accountancy qualification and are a qualified professional accountant.