ICSA qualifying programme - Law / Finance Professional route


There are many cross-overs between the expertise that lawyers and accountants have and the work that they do and that of company secretaries. If you've worked in law or finance and you are looking for a new challenge then becoming a company secretary could be a natural step. You can find out more about being a company secretary here.

If you've got a legal or finance background and have decided that becoming a company secretary is for you, then you might be eligible to take one of our two exemption routes through the ICSA qualifying programme. 

If you are a qualified lawyer who's a member of the Bar or Law Society for your jurisdiction, or an accountant who’s a member of one of the major accountancy bodies and have less than five years' appropriate post-qualifying experience, then you'll qualify to take this route, which entitles you to exemptions for up to four modules (dependent on your qualifications.)


To apply for the law or finance professional route, you must be a qualified lawyer or accountant with up to 5 years' related experience.

Qualified accountants must be a current member of one of the following major accountancy bodies:

  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI)
  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
  • Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).

Qualified lawyers must be a current member of the Bar or Law Society for your jurisdiction or compliant with the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Regulations.


Qualified lawyers can apply for exemptions in four of the eight modules of the ICSA qualifying programme: three at Stage One and one at Stage Two:

Exemptions availableRemaining modules
Financial Reporting and Analysis Corporate Governance
Applied Business Law Financial Decision Making
Corporate Law Corporate Secretarial Practice
Strategy in Practice Chartered Secretaries Case Study

Qualified accountants can apply for exemptions in four of the eight modules: two at Stage One and two at Stage Two.

Exemptions availableRemaining modules
Financial Reporting and Analysis Corporate Governance
Applied Business Law Corporate Law
Financial Decision Making Corporate Secretarial Practice
Strategy in Practice Chartered Secretaries Case Study


The following study options are available to all ICSA qualifying programme students, regardless of the route they take.

  1. Purchase tuition from one of our registered tuition providers. Our registered tuition providers offer different tuition options to suit your situation and your budget, including distance learning, face-to-face classes and blended learning. You can view all of our registered tuition providers here.
  2. Self study. If you’d prefer, you can simply buy the study text for each module and make your own way through the syllabus, without purchasing any tuition or study support.

Every ICSA registered student gets the following free study support, whether they purchase tuition or not:

  • Access to past papers, suggested answers and other study materials via MyICSA, the secure area of our website especially for ICSA students and members.
  • A comprehensive study skills book
  • Free exam techniques webinars.

You also have access to module-specific webinars and recordings, presented by the examiner of the module.

Please note: choosing to use a tuition provider will incur tuition fees to be paid direct to the provider, on top of your ICSA student fees.


All students must pay an initial registration fee, plus their subscription fee. Exams and exemptions are also paid for separately.

DescriptionUK and overseasReduced rate countries*
One-off registration £135 £75
Annual subscription (1 Aug–31 July) £185 £130
Half year subscription (1 Feb–31 July) £92.50 £65


DescriptionUK and overseasOverseas reduced rate*
Exam fee (per module) £225 £153
Resit fee (per module) £225 £153
Postponement fee (per module) £113 £77
Exemption fee (per module) £225 £153
Chartered secretaries case study fee £310 £235
Additional fees (no reduced fees available)
Professional diploma certification £62
Late exam entry (up to five days after closing date) £103
Extra late exam entry* (more than five days after closing date) £205
Exam entry change admin fee (applicable any time after entry processing) £30
Refund admin fee (applicable if refund granted) £57
Script report £82
Student transcript £30
Ex-student transcript £57
Replacement certificate £20


Apply Online

Complete your registration and start your ICSA qualifying programme journey through the Law/ Finance Professional exemption route.

Register for Law Professional route

Register for Finance Professional route

Students are required to follow the Student rules and regulations and follow the Code of professional ethics and conduct.

Paper Application

If you would prefer to send your application by post, please download, print and complete the following application forms. Submissions must include certified copies of academic or professional qualifications and transcripts or evidence of membership to relevant professional bodies.

As you are applying for exemptions, please submit certified copies of your academic/professional qualification and a transcript. These must be in English. If they weren't issued in English they should be:

  • translated by someone fluent in both languages, who is not related to you
  • certified as an accurate translation of the original by the translator.

Certified copies of the original document and translated document should be submitted.

You will also need to submit evidence of membership of a professional body.

Please note: exemptions are offered and confirmed only once your previous qualifications and experience have been assessed. You will be awarded the exemptions available to you on the date of registration as a student. An exemption fee is applicable for each module you are exempted from.


Registration includes a payment of the initial registration fee and the annual subscription fee.

You can pay in one of the following ways:

  • Cheque, made payable to ICSA; OR
  • Credit or debit card – Please contact the membership team on +44 (0)20 7580 4741

*Currently, ICSA offers overseas reduced rates to CSQS students living in, registered and sitting their examinations in a number of countries. Check which countries this applies to.


Once you've completed forms, please send them, with accompanying payment details, to:

Members & Students
Saffron House
6–10 Kirby Street

N.B. Those choosing to study with a registered tuition provider should register with ICSA before doing so with a tuition provider so that the modules you are required to sit have been confirmed.

If you have any questions, or would like to speak to someone about your route through the ICSA qualifying programme, please contact us

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