CPAA Level 4 Diploma in Public Practice Accountancy and Taxation
The Association’s Level 4 Diploma in Public Practice Accountancy and Taxation is the perfect qualification for accountants working in public practice.
The Level 4 Diploma was designed by accountancy practitioners to cover the skills and knowledge needed by those working in a small-medium sized accountancy practice. The Level 4 Diploma follows on from the Association’s Level 3 Certificate in Introductory Public Practice Accounting. While there are no formal entry requirements, we recommend that learners have completed the Level 3 Certificate, have gained an equivalent qualification, or have at least three years’ experience in a relevant role (for example, a trainee accountant in an accountancy practice).
To start the Level 4 Diploma in Public Practice Accountancy and Taxation you'll need to purchase a certification pack from the CPAA. This includes everything you'll need to gain the qualification; access to textbooks covering 100% of the syllabus; the ability to sit all three exams; and, two resits for each exam should you have an unsuccessful attempt.
What does the Level 4 Diploma in Public Practice Accountancy and Taxation Cover?
The CPAA Level 4 Diploma in Public Practice Accountancy and Taxation is an accountancy/tax qualification designed for those who are already working in an accountancy practice, or those who have successfully gained a relevant bookkeeping or accountancy qualification.
The Diploma is pitched at Level 4, equivalent to first year of an undergraduate degree. While there are no formal entry requirements we strongly recommend that students have gained the CPAA’s Level 3 Certificate in Introductory Public Practice Accounting, an equivalent qualification or have gained at least three years experience working in a relevant role.
We feel that the qualification is ideal for those who work in, or aspire to work in, a small-medium sized accountancy practice as an accountant. It is an ideal qualification to build on foundational knowledge gained through prior study or experience.
To gain the qualification you'll need to pass three closed book, invigilated, objective based exams.
Why study the CPAA's Level 4 Diploma in Public Practice Accountancy and Taxation:
Gaining a qualification helps to demonstrate your knowledge. The CPAA has over four decades of experience working with, representing and training small to medium sized accountancy practices. Obtaining the Level 4 Diploma shows that you have what it takes to work as an accountant in a practice.
Once you start to study the Level 4 Diploma, you'll need to purchase a certification pack. This pack contains everything you need to gain the qualification, including comprehensive tuition support which covers 100% of the syllabus.
Remote On-Demand Exams
To gain the Level 4 Diploma you'll need to pass three exams. These can all be sat from any where (subject to meeting certain ICT requirements, which can be found on our remote invigilation partner's website here) and arranged for any time/date.
How many exams do I have to pass?
You will need to pass three exams to gain the qualification. These are; Preparation of Financial Statements for Clients (PFSC); Applied Taxation (AT); and, Ethics, Compliance and Risk in Public Practice (ECRP).
What is the format of the exams?
Each exam is an objective based test. You can expect to be asked questions with the following formats: multiple choice, drag and drop, single answer.
There are sixty marks available on each exam and you will need to gain at least 70% to pass the exam.
Our exams are all closed book.
All our exams are conducted remotely. During the exam you will log into the exam platform and connect with a remote invigilator. Exams can be taken on demand, subject to CPAA policies and availability.
Do I have to buy textbooks/tuition?
No. To undertake the qualification you will need to purchase a certification pack from the CPAA. These contain textbooks for each exam which cover 100% of the syllabus.
Some students prefer to gain additional support. We are happy to provide guidance on where you might be able to get additional help for your studies.
Is there a time limit?
Once you have purchased a certification pack you will have five years to complete the qualification. If you do not pass all three exams within five years, you will lose any passes you have gained and will have to purchase another certification pack and retake all exams.
Training Highly Competent and Ethical Accountants
What does the Level 4 Diploma in Public Practice Accountancy and Taxation Cover?
Each of the three exams has an associated unit specification which details the assessment criteria for the exam. These are broken down into Learning Objectives, which are high level areas of knowledge the exam assesses. Each Learning Objective is broken down into more specific Job Tasks. These are practical focused activities that the learner should be able to undertake in order to pass the exam.
The Learning Objectives each have weightings expressed as a percentage. These reflect the amount of marks on the exam that will be allocated to this Learning Objective. Students must obtain at least 70% of available marks on each of the three exams to gain the qualification.
Preparation of Financial Statements for Clients (PFSC)
Preparation of Financial Statements for Clients (PFSC) is designed to expand a student’s knowledge to enable them to prepare financial statements from a trial balance. The unit also covers year-end adjustments and the regulatory framework around the production of financial statements for different entities in the UK.
The production of financial statements is traditionally a differentiating service offered by accountants but not by bookkeepers. Being able to take accountancy records from trial balance to the production of compliant financial statements is an essential service offered by most accountancy practitioners.
Those practitioners who do not produce financial statements, but offer bookkeeping or taxation services, will benefit from having a robust understanding of the topics covered in PFSC.
The complete unit specification for PFSC can be found here.
Applied Taxation (AT)
Applied Taxation (AT) is designed to expand a student’s knowledge to enable them to support clients, within the context of working in a practice, meet their tax obligations in a number of common taxes including: income tax, national insurance, PAYE, VAT, corporation tax and capital gains tax.
Supporting clients meet their tax obligations is an important service offered by most practitioners. Small to medium sized practitioners are likely to encounter certain common taxes and associated schemes. In addition to providing an in-depth understanding of these taxes this qualification also covers schemes most practitioners will have dealings with including Construction Industry Scheme and common VAT schemes. Accountants with a robust understanding of these taxes and schemes are extremely sought after in small to medium sized practices.
The complete unit specification for AT can be found here.
Ethics, Compliance and Risk in Public Practice (ECRP)
Ethics, Compliance and Risk in Public Practice (ECRP) is designed to build the student’s knowledge of key ethical and compliance issues associated with an accountancy practice. The unit also develops the student’s understanding of risk and how to manage risk, within the context of accountancy/tax services in a practice setting.
This wide-ranging unit covers a variety of compliance and ethical issues encountered by practitioners, including Anti-Money Laundering (AML), data protection, and fraud. The unit prepares students to be able to approach these issues in a practical way and support a practice’s efforts to be compliant.
This unit also provides the student with a strong understanding of risk and risk management, within the context of a small to medium sized accountancy practice. The ability to identify, analysis and appropriately manage risk is an extremely important ability for a modern accountancy practitioner.
ECRP also provides the student with a strong knowledge base to enable them to provide various company secretarial services, including managing Companies House fillings and maintaining appropriate records for a company,
The complete unit specification for ECRP can be found here.
What are CPAA Certification Packs?
In order to undertake a CPAA qualification you must purchase a CPAA Certification Pack. Each qualification has its own Certification Pack. We recommend only pursuing one qualification at a time, and therefore only purchasing one Certification Pack at a time.
The Certification Pack for the Level 4 Diploma in Public Practice Accountancy and Taxation contains:
- Three comprehensive textbooks covering 100% of the syllabus for each of the three units
- An initial exam attempt for each unit
- Two resits for each unit, if your exam attempt is unsuccessful
Once you purchase a Certification Pack you will have five years to complete the qualification. If you do not complete the qualification within this timeframe we may be able to offer an extension as part of our reasonable adjustments policy, though if we are unable to do this you will lose any passes you have gained and will have to purchase a new Certification Pack and start over.
The Certification Pack allows you to take each exam a total of three times (one initial attempt and two resits). If you are unsuccessful on your third attempt you will need to purchase another Certification Pack and will lose all progress you have made towards the qualification.
You can find the Terms and Conditions for the Certification Packs, which includes important details about policies relating to students, here.
If you have any questions regarding our qualifications, please take a moment to view our FAQ's section. Here, you will find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions. This will help you quickly get the information you need and save you time.
Who is the Level 4 Diploma for?
The CPAA Level 4 Diploma in Public Practice Accountancy and Taxation is an accountancy/tax qualification designed for those with prior qualifications or experience. We recommend that students undertaking the Level 4 Diploma have completed the CPAA’s Level 3 Certificate, hold a similar qualification or have three years’ relevant work experience.
Job titles within a practice associated with the Level 4 Diploma include: trainee accountant, junior accountant, accountant.
How do I start the Level 4 Diploma?
What do I need to do to get the Level 4 Diploma?
You will need to pass three exams as detailed above.
How much does the qualification cost?
You will need to purchase a Certification Pack which cost £550. This provides everything you need to gain the qualification.
If you do not complete the qualification within five years from purchasing the Certification Pack you will need to purchase another Pack, unless a reasonable adjustment is made by CPAA.
Within the Certification Pack you will be able to take each exam three times. If you fail all three times, you will need to purchase another Certification Pack.
While not required you may wish to purchase third-party tuition, textbooks, or other resources. These may have additional costs associated with them.
Are there any prerequisites?
No. The CPAA Level 4 Diploma in Public Practice Accountancy and Taxation is open to anyone. Though the exam and tuition support are all delivered in English. We assume students have knowledge/skills covered in the CPAA's Level 3 Certificate.
Do you offer exemptions?
No we do not offer any exemptions. If you are interested in Membership of the CPAA you may qualify if you already have relevant qualifications.
Can I take the qualification outside of the UK?
No our qualifications are only available to UK residents.
Will this qualification get me job?
Our qualifications are designed for those working or aspiring to work in small-medium sized accountancy practices. The market for UK accountancy/bookkeeping/tax qualifications is diverse. We encourage prospective students to fully research jobs they are interested in and to check the required qualifications. We are always able to offer independent advice on qualifications and careers in accountancy – email firstname.lastname@example.org.