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CA Diary for Flexible Route/ Elevation Programme Students

Welcome to the Flexible Route/ Elevation Programme. Outlined on this webpage is information to assist students and mentors participating in the Flexible Route/Elevation programme.

 

The Elevation Route was rebranded on the 1st of July, 2014 and is now called the Flexible Route.  There has been no change to the requirements for competencies, mentoring or days served.  

 

What is the different between Flexible Route/Elevation and going into a training contract?

The key difference between the Flexible Route/Elevation Programme and other routes (e.g. contract) to becoming a Chartered Accountant is the manner in which relevant recognised experience is gained as there is no training contract in place. All routes are required to evidence a defined period of recognised experience. In the Flexible Route/Elevation you are allowed record experience as you attain it. You can decide to take your exams first or in conjuction with gaining relevant experience. As a registered Flexible Route/Elevation student you are allowed move positions to gain experience.

Recognised experience is a defined period of professional development, undertaken by a student in an appropriate related environment and is relevant to the work of a professional accountant. The experience should enable the student's development of professional competence to include professional behaviour and provide a means whereby the student will demonstrate an achievement of the required competencies in the workplace.

The Flexible Route/Elevation Programme facilitates:

  • You choosing the environment in which you wish to gain your experience: We will assess the organisation and work experience with you and your mentor when you are seeking to have the experience recognised

  • Flexibility to move between employers as your interest and needs change

  • Flexibility to complete all your examinations before gaining the required, recognised experience

The Experience

During the period of recognised experience, you must demonstrate:

  • The acquisition of competencies in Financial Accounting

  • The adoption of professional values

  • An awareness of the practicalities of the business environment

In addition you must demonstrate the development of your personal and interpersonal skills together with an in-depth level of experience in any one area such as Finance, Taxation, Auditing, Organisational and Strategic Business Management and Information Technology as required by Chartered Accountants Ireland at the point of admission to membership.

This experience needs to be recorded on a periodic basis in the Chartered Accountants Diary
of Professional Development and to be signed off by your Chartered Accountant mentor. This diary is an on-line tool in which all students can record their experience, and is regularly monitored by Chartered Accountants Ireland. Chartered Accountants Ireland's Training Support Unit will be able to advise you on the acceptability or otherwise of your experience to enable you to apply for membership.

Length of Experience

The amount of experience required is dependent on educational background:

  • Recognised Masters in Accounting: 3 years (627 days)

  • Undergraduate degree: 3.5 years (682 days)

  • AITI qualification: 4 years (796 days)

Recognising Prior Experience
It is possible to claim credit for prior recognised experience up to a maximum of 18 months. Students seeking such recognition must submit details on the application available on our website within 3 months of registering with Chartered Accountants Ireland. You are expected to complete your relevant experience within 8 years from the date at which you first register with us.

If you required an application form to apply for prior experience please download the application form or contact Training Support Unit.

Once the experience has been approved by Chartered Accountants Ireland it will be entered into the diary on your behalf.

Mentors

Mentors are persons who are responsible for guiding and assisting the students in the development of their competencies. In order to have your experience recognised, it must be signed off by a mentor on a six monthly basis. Mentors will be given access by the Training Support Unit.

Flexible Route/ Elevation students are required to get their mentors to complete and return a form called the Flexible Route Request for mentor approval. Click to download. Return the completed form to the Training Support Unit.

Ideally, as a Chartered Accountancy student, you will be mentored by a Chartered Accountant based at your employment. However, a mentor can be any accountant who is recognised by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).

Qualified accountants recognised by IFAC include ACCA, CPA and CIMA.

All Flexible Route students that join from Autumn 2011 are required to work with mentors that are at least three years qualified.

At the admission to membership stage, your application and experience must be endorsed and verified by a member of Chartered Accountants Ireland.

You are best placed to select your own mentor, but in instances where a suitable mentor cannot be identified, you should approach Chartered Accountants Ireland to discuss your options. Chartered Accountants Ireland provides mentor training from time to time.

Experience

On becoming a CA Trainee Member you will enter into a period of professional development through the Flexible Route/Elevation Programme launched in 2009.

During this period you will learn to apply the functional/technical knowledge to real-life situations; your broad-business skills will be developed and you will adopt the values and demeanour that befits a prospective member of the CA profession.

The guidelines which govern your period of professional development are set out in the document, Flexible Route/Elevation Programme Experience Requirements. This document is referred to as the guidelines. Click to download.

You will chronicle your Recognised Experience for Qualification (REQ) in your CA Diary of Professional Development, which is a web-based tool, and this diary will form part of your Admission to Membership application when you have recorded the required quantum of experience.

 

Some Frequently Asked Questions about your CA Diary

1. What is the CA Diary of Professional Development?

2. What is the purpose of maintaining the diary?

3. What is Competency?

4. What are the mandatory competencies?

5. How do I record my CA Diary entries?

6. How do I know when I have achieved an adequate level of competence?

7. How often should I make diary entries?

8. When will my diary be reviewed?

9. Is there guidance available for mentors to use the CA Diary?

10. Is there guidance available for students to use the CA Diary?

11. Are there sample entries available for Flexible/Elevation students and mentors to read and assist them create entries and lock entries?

12. Is there any further information available for mentors on how to carry out a review?

13. What do I record as company audit in my CA Diary?

14. When can I apply for Admission to membership?

15. Slides from talk to Flexible Route/Elevation Students February 2010

16. Is there a quick list of the competencies to assist trainees and mentors?

17. I switched from contract to Flexible Route/ Elevation. Where is the calendar?

18. How many entries do I need?

19. How many mentor reviews do I need?

20. My mentor cannot submit the final review. What do I need to check?

21. Who do I contact on Admission to Membership queries (invoice, deadlines)?

22. Is there a list of Ten Top Tips for Mentors?


1. What is the CA Diary?

The CA Diary is an electronic tool which will allow you to record the acquisition of skills, values and competencies during the period of your professional development.

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2. What is the purpose of maintaining the diary?

1. To assist you in planning your work activities

2. To help you to understand how you have applied your competencies in the workplace

3. To chronicle the acquisition of your skills and competencies

4. To help you reflect on the effectiveness with which you have applied your competencies in your work environment

5. To provide evidence to Chartered Accountant Ireland at the time of your application for admission to membership that you have acquired the requisite values, skills and competencies

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3. What is competency?

Competence is defined as 'being able to perform a certain work role to a defined standard with reference to real working environments.' (International Federation of Accountants - IFAC)
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4. What are the mandatory competencies?

All students must demonstrate the acquisition of competencies n Financial Accounting (FA 1- FA4), the broad Business Environment skills (CB1 - CB6), and throughout your period of training, the adoption of the professional values and the growth in your personal/interpersonal skills will be monitored (PV1 - PV7). Full definitions are provided in the guidelines.

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5. How do I record my CA Diary entries?

Each activity you perform is informed by a technical skill and invariably will require some personal/interpersonal input. When you complete a task, you will need to reflect on the skills and values that informed your actions in each work activity.

1. You should firstly enter the time period for which you are making the entry by using the date selection boxes (From/To) on the Diary Entry page. This will record the number of days you have evidenced.

2. Your CA Diary entry should be a short narrative that describes the tasks that you have been assigned over the time period for which you are making the entry.

3. You should then identify the specific functional competencies that were required to complete the tasks and the other competencies that informed the carrying out of the task.

4. Complete the entry by evaluating with which level of competency, in your opinion, you have carried out the assignment - understands, applies or integrates.

5. You must at all times respect your client's confidentiality by not naming them in your CA Diary.

6. In the Work Activity Field you are required to state the Company that you gained the experience in i.e. your employer.

7. The number of days served will calculate from the time period specified in the entry. The system doesn't count weekends as it assumes a normal working week.

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6. How do I know when I have achieved an adequate level of competence?

Along with identifying the functional and other competencies you will acquire during your period of professional development the Institute has also identified three levels of proficiency which may be generic to every assignment carried out by you. These levels of proficiency will serve to demonstrate your professional growth during your period under training. You should always indicate the levels of proficiency when recording your experience in the CA Diary. The three levels are Understands Applies and Integrates.

Set out below is a guidance to the interpretation of each of these levels. In the early stages of your professional development you are likely to perform tasks at the 'understand' level and to graduate to the 'integrates' level as you come towards the end of your training period.

Level One: Understand

Level Two: Apply

Level Three: Integrates

Student can grasp a clear understanding of the task assigned.

Becomes pro-active in managing routine tasks.

Identifies problems and resolves them.

Can carry out tasks that are established processes.

Carries out assignment with a lesser degree of supervision.

Demonstrates an in-depth technical knowledge in defined areas.

Works under supervision.

Can take instruction from seniors/line manager.

Performs as part of a team in planning and executing assignments.

Demonstrates clear managerial/ leadership skills. Demonstrates ability to manage an assignment/project to completion.

Collects, organises and analyses basic information using established criteria.

Assumes appropriate additional responsibility.

Generates ideas and is proactive in implementing.

Communicates verbally, and in writing to an in-house audience.

Communicates verbally in-house and prepares, for manager, written communication to clients.

Communicates concisely and effectively, verbally and in writing, both in-house and to clients.

When adding to your diary, please keep these competence levels in mind.

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7. How often should I make diary entries?

As part of the Flexible Route/Elevation Programme we understand that there maybe gaps in periods of experience. If you are unsure if your experience is relevant firstly check the guidelines and then speak to your mentor.
The more systematic and organised you are in recording your experience the quicker you will able to use the CA diary and work with your mentor to lock and review your experience.
Ideally, on completion of a work activity/ assignment you should reflect and be able to identify the competencies you have developed.
At a minimum, Chartered Accountants Ireland recommends that you make your diary entries at the end of every month if you are getting continuous experience. Or if there are gaps in your experience at the end of a work activity.

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8. When will my diary be reviewed?

It is intended that the Diary of Professional Development will facilitate the mentor in monitoring the experience gained by the student. It will also be of benefit to the student in that its review will provide regular opportunities for both parties to discuss the progress of the Flexible Route/Elevation Programme student's professional development during the course of the REQ.

It is anticipated that mentors will review, at a minimum, twice annually, the student's entries on the Diary and evidence their progress accordingly

When a qualified accountant agrees to mentor a student in the Flexible Route/Elevation programme both parties should agree a timetable of regular contact.

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9. Is there guidance available for mentors to use the CA Diary?

A power point presentation is available for download to guide you through the functionality of the CA Diary. It will show you how to run a report, carry out a review, lock & unlock entries.

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10. Is there guidance available for students to use the CA Diary?

A download is available for students on the functionally of the CA Diary. It is always important that you remember to save your entries as you work on your CA Diary.

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11. Are there sample entries available for Flexible Route/Elevation students and mentors to read and assist them create entries and lock entries?

Yes, information on content and sample entries that will assistance Flexible Route/Elevation students understand the type of information they have to provide and the level of detail needed in the entries are available to download in pdf.

Also mentors can use the information as a guide to the standard needed from Flexible Route/Elevation students before they lock entries as part of the mentor's review.

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12. Is there any further information available for mentors on how to carry out a review?

Yes, information for mentors on how to carry out a review and points of information they should be aware of is available to download in pdf.

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13. What do I record as company audit in my CA Diary?

Company audit work is any audit work carried out under the companies act for a limited company.
Other audit work is where an audit is carried out for another body which is not established under the companies acts. This could include such organisations as credit unions, semi state bodies (e.g. ESB), clubs or other businesses which have not been incorporated.

Audit experience gained in the Elevation programme can be recorded to reflect the competencies attained. The number of days audit will not be counted towards an auditing certificate. Audit certificates are not awarded to students qualifying through the Flexible Route/ Elevation route.

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14. When can I apply for Admission to membership?

In the Flexible Route/Elevation Programme you have eight years from the date of your registration to evidence your required Recognised Experience for Qualification (REQ) and pass all of your exams. Once you have all the requirements met you are eligibly to apply for associate membership of Chartered Accountants Ireland. HELP SHEET

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15. Slides from talk to Elevation Students February 2010

Click here to download

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16. Is there a quick list of the competencies to assist trainees and mentors?

Yes. Please download here. This list is to assist reviewing but always review the guidelines documents for the full definitions.

17. I switched from contract to Flexible Route/Elevation. Where is the calendar?

In Flexible Route/Elevation, you do not have a calendar section.  You are required to record your relevant work experience and not any leave of absences.  Do not create entries for study leave, annual leave or any type of absence.  
When you switch from contract we will carry across the contract period in the field called prior work experience and automaticallly add this to the new entries you create for your time period.  

18. How many entries do I need?

There is no set number of entries. What is important is you account for all of your training contract either through entries or in the Calendar. A rule of thumb of one a month is sufficient.

19. How many mentor reviews do I need?

You are required to have one review every six months. So the length of your contract will dicate the exact number. The system will automatically check that you have more than 5 before the Final review can be submitted.

20. My mentor cannot submit the final review. What do I need to check?

Check there are more than 5 mentor reviews, all the competency requirements are fulfiled and locked.

21. Who do I contact on Admission to Membership queries (invoice, deadlines)?

Sandy Grant DD telephone 01 637 7261 or sandy dot grant at charteredaccountants.ie

22.  Is there a list of Ten Top Tips for Mentors?

Yes, although you are required to read the guideline. Click on Ten Top Tips for Mentors

 

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Further queries should be directed to Hugh Carroll, Training Support Unit at 01 637 7325 or by e-mail