About IFA Direct Program
IFA Direct is administered in partnership with ATHE, a global awarding organisation regulated by Ofqual.
You can study more than one unit at a time over 4-6 week period and as they run continuously you can roll off one unit straight on to another meaning you never have to wait before starting a new subject. The whole programme can be undertaken is as little as 18 months or should you decide you want to take a study break this can be easily arranged with your centre.
Units provide challenging and relevant learning with flexible methods of assessment allowing tutors to select the most appropriate method for their learners.
Support throughout your study
IFA Direct is designed so that you can easily study around other commitments. It gives you the full support of an expert academic adviser and online materials which are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Personalised programme guidance
We will provide a bespoke learning plan and will support and guide you throughout your studies.
You will receive online tutorial support from an expert academic adviser. The number of hours of tuition is dependent upon the credit value and guided learning hours (GLH) for each individual unit.
For definitions of credit value and guided learning hours (GLH) please see Routes to IFA membership.
The units incorporate:
- online lectures
- online resources for example, ebooks, presentations, recorded webinars, handouts, case studies, quizzes, and articles
- personalised learning plans
- e-books and presentations
- tests to prepare you for the assessment
- supervised independent learning
- unit certification on successful completion
Throughout each unit you will also need to undertake some independent study. The number of hours you devote to self-study is dependent on the credit value of each individual unit but on average you need to devote 7 to 14 hours per week.
As everyone learns at a different rate there may be a variation in the actual time taken to complete a unit and the number of hours detailed per unit is only a guide.
Ethics is embedded within the syllabus to develop high ethical standards within IFA membership.
Access to IFA resources
You will also have access to:
- A downloadable PDF of Financial Accountant the IFA’s magazine – six times a year.
- Access to events to help you keep up to date with important issues in the accounting world and the opportunity to network with other professionals.
- Member-only technical resources area of the IFA website.
Routs to IFA Membership & Units
Studying on IFA Direct is ideal if you are looking for a route to IFA membership, gaining a practising certificate or want to invest in relevant continuing professional development.
You will develop your knowledge and skills and gain a broader and deeper understanding of key subjects relevant to accountants and tax advisers in, or supporting, small businesses.
Fast-track route to IFA membership
If you already hold an accounting or associated degree or have completed or part-completed a professional accounting qualification you may not be required to undertake all the units.
The units you need to complete to achieve Associate or Associate Tax Adviser status will be dependent on the units that form part of your degree or accountancy qualification.
Exemptions will be awarded based upon previous relevant qualifications i.e., if you have part-qualified with a professional body such as ACCA or AAT or have taken modules within a degree which are equivalent to the units provided within IFA Direct.
14 units, two routes to membership
Follow either of the following two routes to be eligible for IFA membership as an Associate Financial Accountant or a Tax Adviser. And, there’s the opportunity for UK-based members to gain an IFA practising certificate.
Associate AFA/MIPA route
Financial Accounting 1
Financial Accounting 2
Cost and Management Accounting
Law for Accounting
Financial and Management Control
Core Reporting for Strategic Business – Advanced
UK Taxation for Business and Individuals – Advanced
Detailed information on each unit syllabus is available on syllabus aims
Tax Adviser ATA route
Financial Accounting 1
Financial Accounting 2
Law for Accounting
UK Taxation for Business and Individuals – Advanced
Detailed information on each unit syllabus is available on syllabus aims.
This is the number of credits that will be awarded to a learner who has achieved each unit. The credits that you achieve accumulate and can be used towards completion of the full ATHE accountancy qualifications or can be transferred towards additional study for example a top-up degree.
Guided learning hours (GLH)
This is an estimate of the amount of time, on average, required to achieve a unit to the appropriate standard.
A route tailored for you
Once we receive your application form together with your certified qualification transcripts and certificates we will provide you with a tailored route to membership based upon your requirements and advise you of any exemptions you are eligible for.
UK Level-4 Units
The aim of this unit is to develop the financial reporting skills of those who manage or seek to manage the day-to-day finances and financial needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small and medium-sized practices (SMPs).
The unit will develop the learner’s ability to prepare financial statements according to the International Accounting Standard for Small and Medium-sized Entities (IFRS for SMEs) and to interpret financial statements prepared according to that standard.
Learners will develop the ability to prepare financial statements according to the International Accounting Standards for Small and Medium-sized Entities (IFRS for SMEs).
Learners will gain the knowledge and skills required to enable them to measure performance and assess the financial position of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small and medium-sized practices (SMPs).
The aim of this unit is to develop the knowledge and ability to identify and evaluate sources of finance, manage and improve working capital, prepare budgets for functional departments and understand the importance of budgetary control for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small and medium-sized practices (SMPs).
Learners will learn the skills to provide relevant information for short-term and long-term decision making, and costing and pricing whilst ensuring that employees are motivated to achieve individual objectives and the objectives of the business as a whole.
The aim of this unit is to enable learners to understand taxation as it affects individuals. The unit will focus on income tax, National Insurance (NI) contributions and capital gains tax.
The aim of the unit is for learners to consider the wider business environment. It will build on the work covered in the financial accounting units and consider the different forms of legal business ownership.
The unit will consider the needs of different business stakeholders and their impact on business decision making. and provide learners with an understanding of ethics in accounting and business and how these influence business decisions.
The aim of the unit is to develop an understanding of how English law impacts on business organisations and professional accountancy practices.
UK Level-5 Units
The aims of this unit are to ensure that learners have a sound understanding of the techniques of double entry accounting and can apply its principles in recording transactions, adjusting financial records and preparing non-complex financial statements.
On completion, learners will also be proficient in the use of double entry accounting techniques and the maintenance of accounting records. They will also develop the ability to identify and correct omissions and errors in accounting records and financial statements.
Learners will be able to specify the components of financial statements and prepare and review non-complex accounts for a range of different business structures including sole traders, partnerships and limited companies.
The unit aim is to develop the financial management skills for those who manage or seek to manage the performance, risk and financial decision-making needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small and medium-sized practices (SMPs).
The unit will give an understanding, application and analysis of the funding and management of capital within an organisation. In particular it will focus on the management and evaluation of investment appraisal decisions. Organisational performance, and recommendations for its improvement and growth, will also be analysed.
Learners will be able to apply investment appraisal techniques to investment decisions and make recommendations. They will also be able to use valuation models and cost of capital models to determine the value of an organisation and its capital structure cost and manage foreign exchange risk, credit and gearing. Learners will be able to apply techniques to evaluate and made recommendations for the management of performance, resources, capital structure and risk.
The aim of this unit is to develop the financial management skills of those who manage or seek to provide information for performance management, continuous improvement, budgetary and financial control and the management of internal risk in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small and medium-sized practices (SMPs).
Learners will be able to use analytical tools to evaluate performance and to make recommendations about continuous improvement in an organisation. Learners will also be able to use techniques to implement budgetary and financial control and evaluate and manage internal risk.
The aim of this unit is to enable learners to understand taxation as it affects small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small and medium-sized practices (SMPs). It provides learners with the skills to prepare basic tax computations and advise others of the effects of taxation and impact of tax on decision making.
The aim of this unit is to give learners an understanding of the assurance process in the accountancy industry. Learners will gain an insight into the internal controls and evidence gathering requirements when completing an assurance engagement in practice.
UK Level-7 Units
This unit will ensure that learners are able to examine corporate reporting from a number of perspectives, i.e. the preparer of corporate reports and from the perspective of a variety of different stakeholders such as finance providers.
Learners are required to have a cohesive understanding of the International Accounting Standards Board’s (IASB) Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting and to use the framework as a basis for judgement in applying International Financial Reporting Standards in corporate reports.
On completion of the unit, learners will also be proficient in the assessment and evaluation of the reporting decisions made by management and their implications for a range of stakeholders and entities. The unit also explores the professional and ethical responsibilities of the accountant to these stakeholders.
Learners will consider both the principles and practices of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and use these principles as a basis for the preparation of the financial statements of single entities and groups. By reflecting on the usefulness of corporate reports to stakeholders, including developments in narrative reporting such as integrated reporting, learners will be able to discuss the nature of the information that would help various stakeholders.
The aims of this unit are to ensure that learners have a detailed understanding of the techniques of the key aspects of taxation. It will extend the learner’s knowledge of the tax system, together with the ability to apply that knowledge to the issues commonly encountered by individuals and businesses in the UK. This knowledge will allow learners to interpret and analyse the information provided and communicate the outcomes in a manner appropriate to the intended audience.
The unit builds on previous taxation study and extends the knowledge of income tax, corporation tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax to encompass further overseas aspects of taxation, the taxation of trusts, and additional exemptions and reliefs.
The unit does not focus in detail on the numerical and computational aspects of taxation, but seeks to develop a learner’s ability to analyse, interpret and communicate taxation information. Computations and practical examples will be used to support explanations and client advice.
At the end of each unit you will get a set piece of written work to complete and submit online
Achieving a pass, merit or distinction
To achieve a pass you must successfully achieve the learning outcomes at the pass standard as set by the assessment criteria for the unit. The assessment criteria is detailed in the individual syllabus which you can find on the syllabus aims page.
To achieve a merit you must work to meet the pass standard and also demonstrate that you have achieved the additional criteria set for the unit as detailed in the individual syllabus.
To achieve a distinction you must work to meet the pass and merit standards and also demonstrate that you have achieved the additional criteria set for the unit as detailed in the individual syllabus.
Further details on the qualification grading structure and how overall grades are determined can be found in the qualification specifications available via the ATHE website.
You will receive final results 4-6 weeks from submission of your final assignment.
Before you apply to study please ensure you meet our eligibility criteria.
Minimum requirements for study
- 2 A level passes PLUS 5 GCSEs/vocational GCSEs/GCE/O level passes (grades 9-4/A-C) in five separate subjects including mathematics and English or equivalent; and/or
- Level 3 book-keeping or accounting qualification which includes the ATHE Level 3 Diploma in Accounting.
Learners must also have an appropriate standard of English to enable them to access relevant resources and complete the unit assignments.
Students whose first language is not English will need to provide evidence of having completed an English language qualification or may need to undertake the English language test IELTS and achieve a grade of 5.5 or above.
All study is online and requires a basic level of digital literacy in the following areas:
- using the internet
- using Microsoft Word and Excel
- unzipping documents
- using the centre’s online portal
It is important that you understand these areas to be able to study effectively and gain the maximum benefits from the programme.
Why You should Consider IFA Direct Program
Direct rout to Membership of IFA UK & IPA Australia
Pathways to higher Education