Routes to membership

2019 IFA 16For12 WebheaderWe recognise that there are many ways of acquiring knowledge and proving competence so we provide three flexible routes to membership. 

  • Through achievement of the IFA Direct programme or IFA qualifications.
  • Through achievement of other accountancy qualifications. 
  • Through recognition of your membership of other accountancy bodies where membership has been achieved through education. 

As part of your application it is a mandatory requirement to provide:

  • evidence of having completed an ethics course or training; and
  • having completed a minimum of three years’ work experience in the accountancy industry or a closely related field.  

Embedded students

As an embedded student you will be eligible for membership dependent on your qualifications meeting the membership criteria. To become an Associate member you will need to provide evidence of having completed a minimum of three years' work experience in accountancy or a closely related field.  

While you are gaining work experience you can become a Provisional Associate Member. Upon completion you can apply to use the IFA designations as well as practising certificate. 

If you have not previously undertaken ethics training you will be required to undertake and successfully complete the  IFA ethics assessment before taking up membership. 

By IFA Direct 

Administered in partnership with CU Coventry, IFA Direct provides a unique, flexible online way to study for those who want:

  • A direct route to IFA membership.
  • A direct route to career progression to obtain a practising certificate.
  • A direct route to professional development through CPD.

The online module approach provides a flexible and modern format. It allows you to study around other commitments regardless of where you are in the world and without having to be away from the workplace.

Further details of the programme can be found under the learning section. 

By IFA qualification

Students who have successfully completed the IFA level 4 and level 5 qualifications and have not yet applied for membership will have a transition period in which to make their membership application before the new membership criteria apply. 

IFA qualifications are no longer available for new students. If you are currently studying towards or have previously achieved IFA qualifications please contact the education team for your eligibility to become a member of the IFA at

Through other accountancy qualifications 

You can apply for membership based on your existing accounting, finance and/or taxation qualifications. 

Before applying for membership, your qualification should be at least up to and including level 6 covering the following key areas: 

  • Financial accounting 
  • Cost accounting 
  • Budgeting
  • Credit management and control
  • Principles of taxation 
  • Management accounting 
  • Financial reporting 
  • Financial management 
  • Law
  • Assurance
  • Advanced taxation

If you have taken a qualification programme which does not cover these areas we may not be able to offer you AFA or FFA. 

Through recognition of membership of a professional accountancy organisation 

Where your membership of another accountancy body has been achieved through qualifications this may be a route through to IFA membership. 

Any gaps can be filled by accessing the IFA Direct programme.