PwC UK, the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and
Wales (ICAEW) and Reading University have joined forces to create
an accountancy degree programme.

Henley Business School at the University of Reading is offering
the four-year accountancy degree programme which includes courses
in marketing, law, governance and ethics. In a similar way to PwC’s
traditional graduate intake, students will study towards the ACA,
the ICAEW professional qualification, while attaining a degree.

But the qualification will differ from the traditional six-year
route so students qualify five years after starting the degree, a
year after joining the firm.

Students will work within PwC’s assurance team on client
projects over three paid, work placements in the last years three
years of the programme. Tuition fees in these years will be set at
80% of the University’s standard undergraduate fee.

PwC UK said students can expect to earn at least £20,000 over
the course of work placements and successful graduates will be
offered a higher starting salary than other graduates, joining the
firm of up to £35,000 plus benefits.

“We see no shortage of talented students who want to perform at
this level, and we expect strong competition when recruitment opens
in September 2011,” PwC Chairman and Senior Partner Ian Powell,

The ICAEW said it is working hard to reach out to as wide and
diverse a range of students as possible.

“This programme will provide a compelling alternative to
pursuing a traditional university route to qualification. This new
programme will help ensure the profession of chartered accountancy
remains accessible to all,” ICAEW, Chief Executive Michael Izza

In January KPMG UK announced a six year
education and work programme. Its programme for A-level students
includes paid tuition fees for a business degree at Durham
University, an accountancy qualification and a starting annual
salary of £20,000.