Time limits - important update

ACCA has a time limit rule for students to complete their Strategic Professional exams which means employers can be confident that students have relevant and up-to-date knowledge to enhance their organisations

What is the seven year rule?

The rule means you have seven years to pass the Strategic Professional exams once you pass your first Strategic Professional exam. If you don’t pass all the Strategic Professional exams and reach affiliate status within seven years, you’ll lose any Strategic Professional passes achieved after seven years.  These will need to be re-taken in order to complete the qualification.

Example Scenario:

If you passed your Advanced Financial Management exam in December 2013 it will be given an ‘expiry date’ of December 2020. If you have not completed all the Strategic Professional exams by December 2020 your Advanced Financial Management exam would expire and need to be re-taken.

There are no time limits for for passing any Foundations in Accountancy exams, nor any of the Applied Knowledge and Applied Skills exams as part 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 seven year rule applies to everyone. However, if your first eligible exam session was December 2015 or earlier, you were also given a 10 year time limit to complete the qualification, from the date you registered as a student.

If this applies to you, you won’t lose any results before this time limit is up. After your 10 year time limit is reached, you will lose any Strategic Professionals results that are seven years old, or older, and you will need to take these exams again.

Check your myACCA account to find out when your Strategic Professional results will expire. 

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

Impact of syllabus changes

All exam results and exemptions gained under the syllabus pre September 2018  will be converted to Strategic Professional passes and maintain their existing expiry dates.

Students who passed both P1 and P3 exams will receive a converted pass for the Strategic Business Leader exam. Converted passes will take on the expiry date of the latter of the two exams. 

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.

What should I do if I don't think I'll be finished before my given last session?

If difficult personal circumstances have prevented you from taking examinations, you can apply for an extension to the time limit.

We will consider each individual case carefully, but cannot guarantee that an extension to the time limit will be granted. We can only grant requests for extension under the most extenuating of circumstances such as critical illness or bereavement after long term care.

The maximum extension we can grant under any circumstances is one year (four exam sessions). We can only grant one request for extension per student.

Please be aware that expired results cannot be extended once they have expired and converted exemptions will not be extended.

How to make a request for extension

It’s important to make your request during the correct extension request window. This will depend on the expiry date of your exam.

Expiry date of your exam

Extension Request Window

March 2019

14 January 2019 – 28 January 2019

June 2019

15 April 2019 – 29 April 2019

September 2019

15 July 2019 – 29 April 2019

December 2019

14 October 2019 – 28 October 2019

To request an extension, please email students@accaglobal.com. Please make sure you attach any relevant supporting documents. We’ll consider your case carefully and let you know the outcome of your request.

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.

For more information visit the Oxford Brookes BSc section

University of London MSc time limits

Pass expiry dates will also apply for students studying the MSc in Professional Accountancy from University of London.  All modules of this course must be completed before or at the same session as an ACCA pass expiry date, otherwise they will be required to re-take the pass or passes which have expired.

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 for all of the Applied Knowledge and Applied Skills exams are required to complete the Strategic Professional exams 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 some of the Applied Knowledge and Applied Skills exams 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 Applied Knowledge and Applied Skills 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 Strategic Professional exams must be completed within five years from the date the member completed all the Applied Knowledge and Applied Skills exams, and
  • the Applied Knowledge and Applied Skills exams must be completed within five years from the date the member became eligible to sit those exams
  • 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 some of the Applied Knowledge and Applied Skills exams on the basis of qualifications gained more than five years previously, the member will be required to sit and pass those exempted exams.

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