Associate Chartered Accountant

Graduate training contract (ACA)

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Applications for September 2024 are now open.

As a top 50 firm of Chartered Accountants we will give you a high degree of involvement with our clients and in depth responsibility from an early stage. You will gain an understanding of the different types of audit and accountancy work and how they compliment each other. At the end of the programme you will be a Chartered Accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

Work Assignments

Working together in small teams with other trainee accountants you can expect to enjoy a wide variety of assignments throughout your 3 year Training Contract. You may find yourself working on an audit of a large Owner-Managed Businesses, or working on the audit and accounts of a national charity. By your second year you will be leading audits on site at clients’ premises and by your third year you will be involved in the planning and review of other trainees’ work.


Your study for professional exams will be structured within a three-year training contract. ICAEW’s ACA qualification has 15 exams in total to sit across the three years balancing plenty of theory and technical learning for you. We feel it’s best to fully appreciate and understand the qualification when you are training to become an accountant and so we do not apply exemptions.  We will provide you with time off for professional training with the specialists BPP. Once qualified, you have the potential for a variety of different roles to suit your particular preferences and skills.

Types of Work

You will gain experience undertaking a variety of work within the audit and accounts teams. As a medium-sized firm, we have a large and varied client base, giving you experience of different types of accounts and audit needs such as sole traders, SMEs, owner managed businesses, family businesses, overseas owned businesses, LLPs & partnerships, schools, professional practices, charities & not-for-profit organisations and pension schemes.

How is our training contract structured?

Year 1

Welcome to the firm: Before your professional training begins, you will go through our induction programme where you will get to know the firm, your colleagues and the other graduates.

In house training: You will also be introduced to your nominated student counsellor who will be your mentor throughout the training contract and with whom you will have 6 monthly progress reviews. We will be available to give you as much support and guidance as you need throughout your time with us. In-house training: You will go through in-house training sessions on health and safety, money laundering, and dealing with clients. We will talk through what to expect from the training programme and what your first few months will hold in store.

To start you off: You will also get to talk about what you hope to get out of the programme and how we can best support you in your goals. To start you off: To ensure that you have the best start in your training, we fund you through a 2 week bookkeeping course. This will ensure that everyone has an understanding of the basics before you start your professional training with our chosen provider.

Professional Training: During your first year you will be working within the audit and accounts departments, spending around 6 months in each. Your training will be through a leading professional organisation, with additional training alongside this provided internally by Hillier Hopkins LLP.

Year 2

Managing your assignments: You will have the first year under your belt and will be taking on more responsibility. You will be managing your own assignments and carrying out your work with confidence. We will be on hand to guide you and to help you develop your softer skills, such as management, leadership and teamwork.

Completion of Professional Stage: Once you have passed the professional stage exams you will be part qualified and working towards taking your final exams.

Year 3

Honing your skills: You will be technically competent and will be putting into practice all the skills and knowledge you have gained. During this final stage, you will be improving your skills and getting as many tips as possible from other students and colleagues.

Final Exams: In the November of your third year you will be ready to take your final exams. By then you will have gained extensive hands-on experience, alongside your theoretical knowledge and understanding gained through your study.

The Future: Following successfully passing your final exams you will continue to complete your practical experience until the end of the training contract period. By the completion of the contract, we will ensure that you satisfy all the relevant criteria to qualify as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. Above this, we will also ensure your experience will prepare you to be confident in undertaking a successful career within the industry.

Where would you be based?

The position is based from our Watford office requiring travel to other offices and client premises.

What our students say

“I originally joined Hillier Hopkins as a work placement to get a feel as to whether the accounting and audit sector was where I wanted to work. During the year I gathered a wealth of experience and knew I was happy doing what I was doing, but more than anything, my confidence in my work and myself grew greatly. I chose to return as an ACA student after graduating because I knew that the professional and personal development I could gain from the company, due to their principles and supportive environment, is very rare to find. You are treated not as a number but as an individual, and that for me is of the utmost importance.” Clara De Santis, ACA Associate

Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA) vacancy at Hillier Hopkins

Want to apply?

Academic Requirements

  • GCSE English Language and Mathematics at Grade B or above
  • Good A Level Grades with a minimum of  120 UCAS points from 3 grades
  • An undergraduate expecting a degree result of 2:1 or above

Complete our online application form today!

Got a question? We here to talk if you have any questions about career opportunities at Hillier Hopkins. Contact Sandra Pereira, Learning & Development Manager on 01923 634251 or email