FAQs

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Initially we offer a forty month training contract. During this time, we expect you to qualify for ICAEW membership. If you do, you are likely to be offered a permanent position as an Audit Principal, though this depends on your job performance and the availability of posts.
Your contract states how many examination attempts you can make. If you fail to pass your exams within this number of attempts, or otherwise fail to complete the terms of your contract, your employment will be terminated. In exceptional circumstances (e.g. for reasons of ill-health or bereavement of a close relative) your contract may be extended by the period you need to complete your exams within the allowed number of attempts or to finish your approved work experience.
We appreciate some people will have narrowly missed our threshold of 300 UCAS points but still did remarkably well to achieve 280 points in the context of their educational and personal circumstances. Our use of the Rare Contextual Recruitment System enables us to identify people who’ve over-performed in their particular context and adjust our eligibility criteria accordingly.
In 2015 the government announced its support for blind recruitment as a way of combatting the potential for discrimination in recruitment and encouraged other organisations to follow its lead. The NAO’s commitment to diversity and inclusion meant we were supportive of these efforts and will remove names from the application screening process and then only provide first names to assessors and interviewers, taking the further step of removing information on universities and schools attended.
We aim to recruit people that we feel have the best chance of passing their accountancy examinations and there is a correlation between degree class (irrespective of degree discipline) and ‘A’ level results and subsequent performance in the ICAEW’s examinations. There is less correlation between postgraduate qualifications and examination performance.
In some exceptional cases we may be able to consider applications from candidates who do not meet our academic requirements, if the applicant can provide strong evidence of mitigating circumstances. If you believe you have a case for mitigating circumstances, when you apply you should include this information – and details of any supporting evidence you will be able to provide – in the Additional Information section of your application form. You will be asked to provide the supporting evidence if you are invited to the first stage interview.
We occasionally recruit Researchers to support our value for money studies. These posts, when they arise, are advertised on our website (www.nao.org.uk) and in the national press. The minimum criteria required for these positions are stated in the advertisement and job description, and may be different from those required for our graduate trainee scheme.
Provided you meet our nationality requirements we are interested in those who have the overseas equivalent of 300 UCAS points, and an upper second class degree. You might be asked to provide evidence of this if we are unable to translate your qualifications to the UK equivalent.
We will consider applications on a case by case basis.
  • If you have completed accountancy exams as part of your University degree, please submit an application and email us detailing the exams and grades achieved.
  • If you have part completed the ACA at another employer, please email us to confirm the name of the organisation, the exams you have completed and the scores you achieved, before submitting an application and we will confirm whether you will be eligible.
  • If you are unsure where you stand in the above, please contact us and we will confirm.
An aptitude for figure work is desirable but the mathematical knowledge you demonstrated at GCSE is likely to be sufficient. In some cases, particularly those who have not taken numerate degrees, your maths might be a bit rusty. For this reason, we ask everyone to complete a numerical test at Stage 1 assessment. How well you do is another indicator of your likely success in the accountancy exams, so if you do not achieve an acceptable score, your application will be rejected.
Yes, we have an approved training office in Newcastle.
Some of our audit clients are based in London and Newcastle, but others are based around the country. You will, therefore, be required to travel with your audit team and this will involve overnight stays away from home.