Accountancy degree or NVQ?

butters Registered Posts: 10 New contributor 🐸
Hi everyone, i'm in a bit of a quandary,

I was doing a science based degree and did two years, failed second year and not really keen to re-do the year.

My best friend is an accountant and the more he has been telling me the more I feel it's the career for me. The problem is I have been researching heavily but cannot decide which is best to me, to transfer to an accountancy degree or start employment and begin the AAT intermediate.

Regardless of the initial costs which has better job opportunities and which will lead to better wages? I figure if the uni route has better salary opportunities then I can sacrifice 3 years not working.

Any thoughts/advice would be appreciated, thanks in advance


  • sarahwilson
    sarahwilson Registered Posts: 567 Epic contributor 🐘
    I think the AAT is a much better route. I was looking into doing a degree but employers seem to want you to have an accounting qualification as well to take you on from what I could see.
  • Jan
    Jan Registered Posts: 654 Epic contributor 🐘
    Hi Butters,

    My thoughts are:-

    If you have already done 2 years of a degree I quess you are 20/21 yrs old? If you "sacrifice another 3 years" not working and do an accountancy degree (& pass each year this time!) you'll then be up against 18 year olds for trainee accountancy jobs, unless you're lucky and get a graduate placement. There are many who post on this site who have degrees and now find that they cannot get a job because they don't have the experience.

    If you get employment now and take the AAT route, which should take less than 3 years, you will have the experience and the qualifications to go on to ACCA/CIMA/ACA. You won't have 3 years of student debt either :thumbup:. It is also possible to do a Foundation Degree, and with an extra year top up to Hons.

    Which will lead to better salary opportunities is impossible to say without a crystal ball. Getting that first job and experience seems to be the problem most people have to overcome.

    Can I just ask, what attracts you to accountancy?
  • Shadow
    Shadow Registered Posts: 24 New contributor 🐸
    Hey Jan!

    That seems like great advice! Well done! Its helped me out aswell, thanks!

  • moneymotivated
    moneymotivated Registered Posts: 35 Regular contributor ⭐
    Yep completely agree with Jan

    If you want a decent career in accountancy then you will need ACA/ACCA/CIMA etc. The only way to get onto one of those courses is to either have a degree or have done AAT.

    Also experiance counts for a lot.

    For example afer completing my A-Levels I had applied to uni and literally had my bags packed ready to go. Then my school got a phone call from an accountancy agency about a job that has become available and my lecturer asked me if I was interested. I decided this was the route for me and am so so glad I done it.

    When (if!) I complete ACA which should be in March 2011 (roughly) I would of had over 6 years work experiance and no student debt.

    Whereas if you go to uni by the time you have finished ACA you would only have 3 years work experiance and a nice big student debt to pay off!

    I know what I'd prefer!!
  • atlan
    atlan Registered Posts: 21 New contributor 🐸

    I am new here but wanted to throw in my comments too if I may? :)

    I was lucky, my AAT got me into an accountancy practice who were absolutely brilliant and put me in different departments to gain experience (tax, management accounting, audit). Not only did it giveme the practical experience to help fly through my exams (all first time passes) because things weren't just words in a book, but it gave me the opportunity to decide which accounting route I wanted to go down! And that is priceless, especially as it all takes so long anyway, you don't want to take one route only to decide it may not be the right thing!!

    I hope you find your right road :thumbup1:
  • Shah
    Shah Registered Posts: 1 New contributor 🐸
    AAT do i have to do work experience and where do i get it?

    hello my question is im currently studying AAT, and i just want to know do i need workexperience and where can i get it, as i have applied to many places but they r not interested in giving me work experience :confused1:
  • moneymotivated
    moneymotivated Registered Posts: 35 Regular contributor ⭐
    Urm I think you need to submit 1 year's worth of work experiance in order to become an AAT member (once qualified).

    I am not too sure what happens if you were unemployed when studying the AAT?

    Sorry couldn't be much help.
  • funkystarfish
    funkystarfish Registered Posts: 2 New contributor 🐸
    I'm new to the forum, but this thread caught my attention as I am doing both an Accounting and Finance degree and AAT Intermediate/Technician at the same time.

    If you really want the university lifestyle and don't mind racking up the debt I would say that route is fantastic - especially now where most courses require a placement year. (I am on my placement year at present hence why I am also studying AAT) You get the whole uni vibe, but also get a years work experience, which is bcoming more of an issue now with so many graduates applying for Accountancy roles. (uni told me that 15% of ALL graduates go into Accounting in some way)

    One of my other friends didnt do placement but has gotten a place wit one of the big 4, she has exemptions frm a number of exams(ACCA), and hasn't had any accounting related experience, so a degree does count for something.

    The AAT route is great from the money point of view, and learning on the job is so beneficial. The only faults with the course that I have found are that they don't go into as much detail as the courses my university offers. (with regards to areas such as TAx)

    Also, I would recommend looking into exemtions at ICAEW/ACCA/ACA/CIMA that you will gain from either route, as these may help you choose which path to take.

    I think the uni rute has been good for me, i have met so many lovely people and had a great time, but I know I have been very lucky to fnd an employer to have me for only a year but still give me the opportunity to do AAT as well.
  • aatfree
    aatfree Registered Posts: 86 Regular contributor ⭐
    Yep completely agree with Jan

    If you want a decent career in accountancy then you will need ACA/ACCA/CIMA etc. The only way to get onto one of those courses is to either have a degree or have done AAT.

    I thought it was only ACA that had that requirement?
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