Under the new ‘seven year rule’ students now have seven years to complete the Professional level before results will expire. Previously, students were removed from the register if they had not completed the exams within 10 years of their initial registration date.

What is the seven year rule?

The rule means you have seven years to pass the exams at Professional level (P1, P2 and P3 and two of the options paper P4-P7). The time limit starts when you pass your first Professional level exam. If you don’t pass all the Professional level exams and reach affiliate status within seven years, you’ll lose any Professional level passes achieved more than seven years ago and you’ll need to re- take that ‘expired’ exam to complete the qualification.

Example Scenario:

If you passed your P1 exam in December 2010 it will be given an ‘expiry date’ of December 2017. If you have not completed all exams by December 2017 as your P1 exam expires then you will be required to re-take P1.

There are no time limits for passing the Foundation level exams as part of Foundations in Accountancy or for taking exams F1-F9 at the Fundamentals level of the ACCA Qualification.

Why is this rule in place?

We want to be fair and provide the same opportunities to all our students.  

We know employers value up-to-date knowledge and they tell us that a time limit is important. Prompt completion of the exams demonstrates a commitment to becoming a professional accountant. You may also find many employers will have their own company policies for completing the exams within a certain time limit.

How do I know if I'm affected?

The new seven year rule applies to everyone. However, students who were registered with a first eligible exam session in December 2015 or before, would also have been given a 10 year time limit upon registration to complete the qualification. These students won’t lose any results before their 10 year time limit is reached. After 10 years, any Professional level results which are at least seven years old would expire.

Check your myACCA account to find out when your Professional level results will expire – another reminder that you will lose any passes achieved at the Professional level if you passed them more than seven years ago. These exams will have to be re-taken.

Do you think you won’t be finished before your given last exam session? Get in touch at students@accaglobal.com

What do I need to do if I'm affected?

Take full advantage of the four sittings a year and speed your progress to membership 

If you need to find a learning provider to support you – use our find a tuition provider service to locate one in your area.

Don’t forget there is a wealth of resources to help you progress through the qualification.

Oxford Brookes degree and time limits

Oxford Brookes BSc degree in Applied Accounting must be completed within 10 years of achieving your first positive result on the ACCA Qualification otherwise your eligibility will be withdrawn. This rule hasn’t changed.

For more information visit the Oxford Brookes BSc section

UK and Ireland registered auditor status

We’ve made amendments to the time limits and the exemptions policy in regard to the audit qualification in line with The Financial Reporting Council and Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority's requirements.

Students who registered prior to 1 January 2016 and who were awarded exemptions from all papers in the Fundamentals level of the syllabus are required to complete the Professional level within five years if they want to apply for an ACCA practising certificate and audit qualification.

Similarly, for a UK practising certificate and audit qualification, students who first registered on or after 1 January 2010 and are eligible for exemption from all or part of the Fundamentals level based on a qualifications gained more than five years previously (at the date of initial registration as an ACCA student) will lose these exemptions and be required to complete the Fundamentals level exams.

Students who don’t meet this requirement won’t be able to apply for a practising certificate and audit qualification.

For all students registering from 1 January 2016 the rules are:

  • the Professional Level must be completed within five years from the date the member completed the Fundamentals Level, and
  • the Fundamentals Level must be completed within five years from the date the member became eligible to sit that part
  • exemptions can only be awarded on the basis of qualifications less than five years old at the time of award (if a member accepted exemptions from all or part of the Fundamentals Level on the basis of qualifications gained more than five years previously, the member will be required to pass those exempted papers by examination).

Students who don’t meet these requirements won’t be able to apply for a practising certificate and audit qualification.

Last updated: 5 Jun 2017