Level 7 Accountancy Professional Apprenticeship

Levy-funded apprenticeships are not only a cost-effective way of upskilling existing staff – they also bring fresh talent into your organisation, future-proof skills pipelines and broaden the diversity of your workforce. As an approved and established apprenticeship training provider, CIPFA offers the levy-funded Level 7 Accountancy Professional Apprenticeship, including study for the CIPFA Professional Accountancy Qualification, in England.

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Contact us

Our next CIPFA Level 7 Accountancy Professional Apprenticeship programme will begin in spring 2024. Enrolments will close on 31 January 2024.

Are you interested in studying with us? Ask us a question

Are you an employer? Ask us a question

Or send an email to our apprenticeships team: apprenticeships@cipfa.org

Download our Professional Accountancy Qualification brochure

About the apprenticeship

The CIPFA Level 7 Accountancy Professional Apprenticeship is for those aspiring to become future public finance leaders and to qualify as a Chartered Public Finance Accountant (CPFA). The skills and knowledge you develop as you move through the programme are fundamental to the roles of steward, enabler and innovator, and business partner – performed by finance professionals working across the public and private sectors. You will also learn key leadership skills.

It can lead to a diverse range of job roles, including financial accountant, management accountant, finance manager, financial analyst, finance business partner, external or internal auditor and more!

Supported and endorsed by the NHS Leadership Academy, the CIPFA Level 7 Accountancy Professional Apprenticeship will also include the option to study the Mary Seacole leadership programme, if you are part of the Leadership Academy.

"[CIPFA's] leaders and managers work highly effectively with employers. They design the curriculum for each apprentice to reflect precisely the needs of the sectors in which they work. As a result, apprentices gain detailed knowledge of public sector accounting and finance."
Ofsted report, 2021

From 2024, as part of our commitment with ICAEW, Level 7 Accountancy Professional Apprentices now have the option to qualify as dual CIPFA/ICAEW members by completing and passing one additional module and a statement of intent. Find out more about the CPFA and ACA accelerated route.


The CIPFA Level 7 Accountancy Professional Apprenticeship funding band has been approved at £21,000 to pay for the training of each apprentice. Employers in England can use their apprenticeship levy accounts to fund the training costs of new and existing employees.

Please note that some additional fees fall outside the levy.

Why choose a CIPFA apprenticeship?

  • we offer the only accounting apprenticeships designed exclusively for aspiring finance professionals working in public services
  • a learning experience which is designed to improve best practice and performance
  • expert tuition delivered by live web classes, taught by qualified and experienced trainers
  • apprentices gain valuable on-the-job experience and relevant professional award
  • Level 7 apprentices gain the internationally-recognised Chartered Public Finance Accountant (CPFA) designation
  • we ensure that high-level guidance and support are readily available to both employers and apprentices
  • learners benefit from regular assessments of progress and receive one-to-one support where appropriate
  • we're a proven online training provider and an internationally-recognised centre of excellence
  • our apprenticeships were recently awarded a "Good" provider grading by Ofsted

What does the apprenticeship cover?

The Level 7 Accountancy Professional Apprenticeship includes study for the CIPFA Professional Accountancy Qualification, which is made up of 12 mandatory units completed in four stages:

CIPFA Certificate in Management and Financial Accounting

  • Financial Accounting
  • Management Accounting

CIPFA Diploma in Financial Management and Audit

  • Audit and Assurance
  • Business Planning and Financial Management
  • Developing Strategy and Data Analysis

CIPFA Diploma in Governance, Risk and Taxation

  • Business Reporting
  • Governance and Risk Management
  • Tax and Law

CIPFA Diploma in Public Financial Management, Reporting and Business Change

  • Strategic Public Financial Management
  • Implementing Business Change
  • Public Sector Financial Reporting
  • Strategic Case Study (forms part of the end point assessment)

These units are part of our updated qualification syllabus. Find out more about the changes. If you began your apprenticeship before 2022, you will continue on your current programme.

If you have any queries, please contact apprenticeships@cipfa.org

What workplace skills will be developed?

In addition to the CIPFA qualification, apprentices will also gain valuable professional skills, including:

  • building relationships
  • business insight
  • communication
  • leadership
  • problem solving
  • decision making
  • continuous improvement
  • ethics and integrity
  • flexibility
  • professional scepticism

End point assessment

After completing the first 11 units listed above, apprentices will complete an end point assessment, which comprises a strategic case study exam and a project report. The strategic case study exam requires apprentices to apply the knowledge you have gained from the preceding 11 units to a specific scenario. The project report involves answering four questions relating to your work experience portfolio.

Entry requirements

The Level 7 Accountancy Apprenticeship is an academically rigorous programme. Apprentices should be aged 18 and over. Our minimum entry requirements are three GCSEs, grades A-C (or grades 4 and up), and two A-Levels, grades A-C, or accepted equivalent (subjects must include Maths and English at either level).

Scottish, Northern and Southern Ireland equivalents also accepted. BTEC and SCOTVEC national certificates are also accepted. The minimum vocational requirement is NVQ/GNVQ level 3, or Scottish equivalent.

Students who do not meet the academic requirements may still study if they are 21 or over, have their employer's support and have met the equivalent learning and skills to be able to access the demands of the qualification, either formally or through on the job experience. They must also have over three years of relevant work experience.

But note one important exception - UK students who follow the audit pathway (CIPFA Diploma in Public Financial Management, Reporting and Advanced Audit (UK)) and are working for a CIPFA-approved training employer and who do not meet the academic requirements may still study if they are 21 or over, have their employer's support and have seven years of relevant work experience. This ruling is defined by the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.

Study modes

The classroom sessions are delivered online by CIPFA trainers. Face-to-face options are also available, depending on your location. Other study modes include e-learning, workshops, extensive written materials, mini projects, directed self-study and structured workplace tasks and learning activities.

How long will it take?

Full time apprentices will typically spend three and half years on-programme, but this may vary due to prior qualifications and relevant work experience. There will be a minimum off-the-job training requirement of at least 6 hours per week, as an average over the duration. Apprentices take two exams per sitting, in June and December (there are additional exams held in March and September for those who go off-programme or need to re-take an exam).

Please note the CIPFA Professional Accountancy Qualification can also be undertaken as an employer-funded or self-funded qualification. Contact us to learn more: students@cipfa.org

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