Support Package for Professional Accountancy Qualifications

Who does the policy apply to?

This policy applies to all staff in UCL regardless of whether they work within Finance and Business Affairs (FBA) or elsewhere studying for professional accountancy qualifications.

For staff outside of FBA this must be approved by their line manager as part of an agreed development plan and discussed with the relevant School / Professional Services Finance Director.

When considering an application the School / Professional Services Finance Director will check that the applicant is:

  • A current employee of UCL
  • On an open ended contract with a funding end date which is at least 12 months in the future
  • That, in the case of a loan application, the applicant does not have a leaving date within the next 6 months.

Documents

The Policy

This policy applies to all staff in UCL regardless of whether they work within Finance and Business Affairs or elsewhere. For staff outside of FBA this must be approved by their line manager and School/Professional Services Finance Director as part of an agreed development plan.

When considering an application the School / Professional Services Finance Director will check that the applicant is:

  • A current employee of UCL confirmed in appointment (i.e. those who have successfully passed their probationary period)
  • On an open ended contract with a funding end date which is at least 12 months in the future 
  • That, in the case of a loan application, the applicant does not have a leaving date within the next 6 months

The following guidance provides clarification on the UCL Study Assistance Scheme (SAS) with particular reference to Professional Accountancy Qualifications (see note 1) and should be read in conjunction with, and as a supplement the SAS Scheme's Guidelines.

The additional guidance for Professional Accountancy qualifications is required for the following reasons:

  • Professional Accountancy examinations can be taken every six months
  • Papers can be taken individually and accumulated over several sittings
  • No reference is made in the UCL scheme for resits
  • The majority of study courses available include a full-time revision element

For the purposes of applying the UCL SAS to Professional Accountancy Qualifications it has been assumed that each stage is similar in content to one year's tuition in other programmes and that each stage consists of four papers.

The assistance available on a per paper basis is as follows:

For first attempt at each paper:

  • A grant to cover the cost of the course, revision course, question day and exam fees not to exceed £2,000
  • Study leave of up to three days per paper (see note 2)
  • The day of the examination(s)

If a second attempt at a paper is necessary the assistance available is limited to:

  • An interest free loan for the course and examination fees (see note 3)
  • Study leave of one day per paper (see note 2)
  • The day of the examination(s)

No assistance - either by way of grant, loan, study leave or examination leave - is available beyond the second attempt at an individual paper.

Individuals are expected to fund joining and annual membership fees personally.
Backdated applications will not be accepted.

All grants and loans will be reimbursed through iExpenses, once application has been approved and processed by Professional Service Finance.

Operational problems can sometimes occur when several members of staff studying for exams want the same time off. Leave applications for first attempts will be given priority over staff who are taking resits.

Individuals may be asked to provide evidence of attendance by their line manager or School/Professional Service Finance Director and if progress is deemed to be unsatisfactory, then study leave and/or financial support may be withdrawn. Organisational Development may check on individuals' progress with qualification providers.

If a member of staff fails an exam paper for a second time they will be required to have a formal review to discuss the situation with their line manager and School/Professional Services Finance Director.

On becoming a full member of either ACCA or CIMA, a market supplement of £3,000 becomes payable annually. Confirmation from the relevant body of admission to full membership must be presented to School/Professional Services Finance Director for this to become payable - passing of examinations is not classed as full membership.

The market supplement is payable whilst the individual remains in the post in which they were employed when they gained membership. This payment is not available to individuals who join UCL having already gained membership before joining UCL or those who have passed their examinations outside of UCL and become full members whilst at UCL.

Staff, who voluntarily leave UCL employment (i.e. resignation) within 12 months of attempting papers will be asked to repay the following:

  • The full contribution for any papers that have not been attempted
  • Half of the previous 12 months contribution for papers that have been attempted

In the case of termination of employment before the loan has been repaid, the outstanding balance will be recovered from the final salary payment. By applying for the loan, the borrower agrees to repay immediately any amount outstanding after such final salary recovery has been effected.

All of the above is subject to the approval of the Director of Finance and Business Affairs.

Updated: December 2015

Notes:

  1. Defined as a recognised CCAB qualification
  2. All study leave must be taken in advance of examinations and not be claimed retrospectively
  3. Loans are available for a maximum of 6 months and will be deducted in 6 equal monthly instalments through payroll. A new loan cannot be taken out until existing loans are repaid. Loan will become a taxable benefit if, when combined with a season ticket or any other loan, the total exceeds the upper limit for interest free loans as determined by HMRC.

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