A whopping 176,000 accountancy trainees are still trying to get qualified five years after they started studying, according to the latest figures compiled by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC).

The accountancy bodies based in the UK and Ireland have just under 600,000 PQs studying their qualifications worldwide, and well over one in four (29.7%) still have their heads in revision texts half a decade after they began their accountancy journey. For those who studied accountancy at university or began with AAT it could be even longer.

The ACCA has just over 137,000 who are still part qualified after five years of paying student subs. That’s a massive 32% of all ACCA PQs.

CIMA has just over 35,000 students in the five-year bracket – just over 30% of all its trainees. CIPFA also has a substantial number of PQs still studying for their professional qualifications after five years. The FRC data shows 1,178 (or 24.88%) of CIPFA PQs in this group.

The CAI, ICAS and ICAEW all control students through training contracts, which normally run for three years, so the number of PQs still allowed to study with them is much lower. The ICAEW has just 5% of its students still studying five years after they started. CAI, the Irish Institute, have slightly more students in this position than their counterparts across the water, with 9.5%, but this figures in falling. In 2016, the CAI figure was 16%.