Institute of Financial Accountants

Hi,

Does anybody know about this institution?

I have been led to believe that after AAT, you can apply for Associate membership and have the letters AFA (Associate Financial Accountant). Is this correct?
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Comments

  • deanshepherddeanshepherd Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 1,809Registered
    That is true but what is the point?

    They have the same standing in IFAC as the AAT but nowhere near the recognition in the profession.

    I think some people join only to try and lose that word 'technician' for something sounding a little more credible.

    I believe our president is a member.
  • Thanks Dean.

    You are right in the logic. It does sound better to be known as an Associate Financial Accountant rather than an Accounting Technician. I think a lot of people don't feel comfortable about calling themselves an accountant after AAT and feel as if they have to wait at least a further 3 years before they can. Only by that time they are known as a Chartered Accountant. The AAT gives enough skills for a person to operate as an accountant under non chartered status but the letters don’t seem to credit the skills.

    If only the AAT or the CCAB’s created a middle ground for the recognition.
  • BluewednesdayBluewednesday Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 1,624Registered
    Surely you can only be a chartered accountant if you take a chartered qualification! Not by gaining AAT and waiting 3 years.

    Anyone can call themselves an accountant with no qualification whatsoever, the trouble is that AAT will never get that recognition unless people use the title and get it known.

    What do you mean by a 'middle ground of recognition', I would say that is what AAT is, a recognised accountancy qualification recognised by CCAB but not a chartered accountant - or have I misunderstood what you are saying?
  • Surely you can only be a chartered accountant if you take a chartered qualification! Not by gaining AAT and waiting 3 years.

    Anyone can call themselves an accountant with no qualification whatsoever, the trouble is that AAT will never get that recognition unless people use the title and get it known.

    What do you mean by a 'middle ground of recognition', I would say that is what AAT is, a recognised accountancy qualification recognised by CCAB but not a chartered accountant - or have I misunderstood what you are saying?

    You have misunderstood Blue.

    Between Technician and Chartered Accountant there is no middle ground i.e. qualified Accountant (un-chartered).

    The AAT makes you a qualified Accounting Technician and the CCAB’s make you a qualified Chartered Accountant. There seems to be nothing that makes you a qualified Accountant (un-chartered).

    I sometimes feel uneasy saying “I am an accountant” and most of the time I just say “I work in accounts”.

    For me personally, if I had the letters AFA, I would feel a lot easier about saying I am a Financial Accountant or I am a qualified Financial Accountant.

    I just feel as if the IFA give you the recognition you deserve with the skills you have learnt through the AAT.
  • NeilHNeilH Trusted Regular Posts: 547Registered
    Don Juan wrote: »
    I just feel as if the IFA give you the recognition you deserve with the skills you have learnt through the AAT.

    This depends on what you mean by recognition though, I would place money on there being more employers familar with and recognising AAT than IFA.

    I've seen posts on other forums from IFA members who firmly state that they are "accountants" and not "technicians". This despite the fact that associate membership of IFA is of similar educational content to AAT and the AAT has better standing in the profession.
  • Bookworm55Bookworm55 Trusted Regular Posts: 479Registered
    Between Technician and Chartered Accountant there is no middle ground i.e. qualified Accountant (un-chartered).

    There is no middle ground, true. I don't see that as a problem. It's more a case of 'accountant' not having a protected meaning so both Acc Technicians and Chartered Accs are part of the group 'accountants'.
    I sometimes feel uneasy saying “I am an accountant” and most of the time I just say “I work in accounts”.

    On the other hand, I do see what you're saying here and feel the same thing to quite a large extent. And that's speaking as someone who is both an AAT full member and almost has a degree in Accounting.
    (ps- that's 'almost' as in 'I've sat my last exam and am sitting around waiting for the results and graduation')
  • Paul24Paul24 Experienced Mentor Posts: 578Registered
    Surely if you have to use a title, the middle ground is part qualified accountant (??)

    I think the general jist is that you are an accountant on completion of a professional qualification, i.e ACCA, CIMA, ACA.

    You are an accounting technician on completion of AAT.

    You have a degree in accounts if you are a graduate.

    Any prospective employer is not going to go on what label you have attached to yourself, so as far as I can see it is only a way of trying to make your position sound 'better'.

    I do not understand the point of worrying about titles like this, as any opportunity where it will come up and mean something, it is irrelavant anyway.

    Why does it matter what you call yourself, if you have a skill set you can demonstrate?

    Am I missing a big point here?
  • Bookworm55Bookworm55 Trusted Regular Posts: 479Registered
    I do not understand the point of worrying about titles like this, as any opportunity where it will come up and mean something, it is irrelavant anyway.
    Why does it matter what you call yourself, if you have a skill set you can demonstrate?
    Am I missing a big point here?

    True. Titles mean very little, but some people like them.

    In a previous job I had the title 'Trainee Accounts Assistant', as I filled a vacancy left by the promotion of my predecessor into a new position in the company; 'Accounts Assistant'. He was just finishing the AAT and I was just about to start it. This was fine until the company expanded to the point where we needed a third person in our section. They took on another AAT-qualified person (I was only halfway through intermediate and couldn't do enough myself then), who got the title 'Accounts Assistant'. I was also given the title 'Accounts Assistant' (although my work didn't change), so there were three of us doing more or less the same thing with the same title. Makes sense, right? This irritated the other 'Accounts Assistant' who felt their position was being usurped and tried, unsuccessfully, to get their job title changed to 'Assistant Accountant' to 'reflect their seniority'.
  • Paul24Paul24 Experienced Mentor Posts: 578Registered
    Pointless vanity in my opinion.
  • This irritated the other 'Accounts Assistant' who felt their position was being usurped and tried, unsuccessfully, to get their job title changed to 'Assistant Accountant' to 'reflect their seniority'.

    I can see where he was coming from. A title should reflect a persons experience and knowledge as well as the duties of the role.

    To share the same job title and salary as a person who does not have an equal level of experience and knowledge can seem undermining.
  • Paul24Paul24 Experienced Mentor Posts: 578Registered
    So why is assistant accountant any different to accounts assistant? Pedantic.

    I agree that salary should be reflective of experience and knowledge, but I couldnt care what my job title is.
  • Bookworm55Bookworm55 Trusted Regular Posts: 479Registered
    To share the same job title and salary as a person who does not have an equal level of experience and knowledge can seem undermining.

    Actually, the salary was different. The 'old' accounts assistant was paid more than the 'new' accounts assistant who was paid more than me; which was primarily due to experience and length of service with that company. There were some differences in duties as well- so the salary difference was fair in principle.
    So why is assistant accountant any different to accounts assistant? Pedantic.

    Exactly, it was primarily vanity and misplaced pride. There's no more than hairsplitting between assistant accountant and accounts assistant.
  • T.C.T.C. Experienced Mentor Posts: 1,448Registered, Tutor
    Perhaps we should tell AAT that we all want to be known as "Accountants" and not "Accounting Technicians". They would save alot of confusion. Incidentally I finish my correspondence with Licensed Member of the Association of Accounting Technicians.
  • GlynisGlynis Trusted Regular Posts: 488Registered
    So what if an AAT qual is a technician! I will be soon and justifiably proud. I know it isn't as 'grand' as being able to call yourself a charterd accountant which is protected anyway but I can't wait to say I'm an accounting technician.

    Those that are 'ashamed' should resind their membership and do a qualification they are happy with.

    AAT stands for association of accounting TECHNICIANS be proud.
  • Paul24Paul24 Experienced Mentor Posts: 578Registered
    T.C. wrote: »
    Licensed Member of the Association of Accounting Technicians.

    Why?

    No one refers to it as that

    Why not just "NAME" MAAT
  • In my opinion an Accounts Assistant is a person who does purchase ledger, sales ledger etc. An Assistant Accountant is a person who assists with financial reporting, month end and preparation of year end accounts.

    I think we are moving off point a bit though.

    The point of this post is to assess if an AAT member should make use of the AFA / FFA accreditation until the ACCA qualification is attained.
  • deanshepherddeanshepherd Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 1,809Registered
    It can be a tricky one. For anyone working as an employee, in my opinion, it is a complete waste of time and if anything can be detrimental. When I was training to become an accountant I was very aware of the AAT as an organisation (as was my employer and the recruitment agency that placed me). I saw it as a natural progression on to a chartered qualification and wouldn't have dreamt of trying to sideshift onto a little known qualification. If I had done I think my employer might have questioned my motives.

    It is more of an issue for MIPs who, aside from being accounting technicians, may also be accountants qualified by experience. I myself am one of those and, although more than happy to describe myself as a technician to anyone in the profession (as they know what this means) I do not generally do so to prospective clients or members of the public unless they specifically ask what my qualifications are or, more commonly, am I chartered or certified?!

    For those MIPS, and presumably our president Catherine Chamberlain as well, I can fully understand the need to bolster the title accounting technician with something more professional.

    Compared with the alternatives the Institute of Financial Accountants is not actually too bad an organisation.

    Organisations like the ICPA and, more recently, the ACPA 'sell' their membership subscriptions by handing over a 'certified' title without ever having to sit an exam. They remind me of those 'buy your own degree' spam emails I get from america and I am a little disappointed to see an advert for the ACPA in Accounting Technician magazine every month.
  • I would always use the the accreditation along side the AAT one.

    i.e. Don Juan MAAT AFA
  • Paul24Paul24 Experienced Mentor Posts: 578Registered
    I cant get my head around this thread, maybe its just me :-)

    It is all perception.

    Accounts assistant - could be seen as a person who assists in accounts preparation

    Assistant Accountant - could be seen as an assistant to the accountant (anyone watch the office?) and could be a tea boy.

    Its just a title.........

    A vision technician still cleans windows.
  • Hasan.AhmetHasan.Ahmet Feels At Home Posts: 87Registered
    Ifa

    Dean Shepherd's diagnosis and assessment is absolutely spot on. Exactly my observation.
    I've never seen a job ad asking for IFA or AIA qualifications for that matter.
    They're though very worthy, appropriate, and useful for practice.
    At one time IFA and ICAEW were courting for merging in order to create a second tier accountants. Since we heard no more of it I presume it didn't come to anything.
    May be because they concluded that arrangement already exists in practice with AAT and IFA.
    Our focus should be on elevating the profile of AAT in the market place.
  • SevrenSevren Well-Known Posts: 101Registered
    We are what we pretend to be ! ;)
  • tripod333tripod333 Settling In Nicely Posts: 20Registered
    The AAT is clearly well established and respected in the profession. AAT is commonly asked for on the Reed website for Accounts Assistant and Assistant Accountant positions for Medium to Large businesses.
    But, for the smaller business and sole trader who might not know of the AAT,
    it seems odd having to explain to people what an Accounting Technician is.

    I imagine it would be difficult for a plumber to try to get business by not being able to describe himself as a plumber because he isn't fully qualified. "Er, I'm a water technician, I can do some plumbing work but not other plumbing work" ?

    It just seems like an unnecessary obstacle when meeting clients.
    We do accounts work, we should be described as accountants in some form or other.
  • tripod333 wrote: »
    The AAT is clearly well established and respected in the profession. AAT is commonly asked for on the Reed website for Accounts Assistant and Assistant Accountant positions for Medium to Large businesses.
    But, for the smaller business and sole trader who might not know of the AAT,
    it seems odd having to explain to people what an Accounting Technician is.

    I imagine it would be difficult for a plumber to try to get business by not being able to describe himself as a plumber because he isn't fully qualified. "Er, I'm a water technician, I can do some plumbing work but not other plumbing work" ?

    It just seems like an unnecessary obstacle when meeting clients.
    We do accounts work, we should be described as accountants in some form or other.

    Spot on! We want to be known as accountants and not technicians, plumbers and not water technicians, window cleaners and not vision technicians. LOL
  • Hasan.AhmetHasan.Ahmet Feels At Home Posts: 87Registered
    "It is more of an issue for MIPs who, aside from being accounting technicians, may also be accountants qualified by experience. I myself am one of those and, although more than happy to describe myself as a technician to anyone in the profession (as they know what this means) I do not generally do so to prospective clients or members of the public unless they specifically ask what my qualifications are or, more commonly, am I chartered or certified?!"

    The above comment is as good a description as you'll find of the state of affairs in existence. They may change in time.
    The last two comments too have their merits and are constructive. Yes, AFA can be of added value for MIPs.
    And, Yes the "Technician" may have it's drawbacks.
    If/when you feel it's is more appropriate and easier for others to understand use the title of AAT qualified accountant both in practice and in employment.
  • EmthiEmthi Feels At Home Posts: 53Registered
    Yes, we want

    Hi Accountants,

    How is this title - ASSOCIATION OF QUALIFIED ACCOUNTANTS.

    of course we all need some thing more than technicians
  • PGMPGM Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 1,954Registered
    Don Juan wrote: »
    I would always use the the accreditation along side the AAT one.

    i.e. Don Juan MAAT AFA

    How much does being part of AFA cost?

    It does start to get silly having so many letter after your name. Personnaly I wouldn't want two lots with neither being chartered...
  • It costs £85 for admission and £135 pa for subscription. There may be a deduction for ACA/ACCA/CIMA students as I haven't got that far yet.

    Personally, I would use AFA until I was eligible for ACA then drop AFA.
  • deanshepherddeanshepherd Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 1,809Registered
    In days past a number of members lobbyed for a change of name to the Association of Accounting Professionals. At the time I thought this was a good idea but now I think it probably goes against the AATs remit and may negatively affect it's position in the industry.

    The AAT is there to give professional status to people who work in the mid-tier of the profession. It gives credibility, recognition and status to people who work in accounts roles who, for whatever reason, do not have the inclination or opportunity to study for a chartered qualification OR it gives a route to entry for those that would not otherwise be given a chartered training contract.

    The problem really arose when members wanted to start their own practices and businesses and the MIP numbers grew to the stage where the AAT now not only represents employees of accountants but now also accountants in their own right.

    This creates a problem because there are now two distinct, and overlapping, types of members with very different needs.

    I believe that if the AAT does not fulfil all your needs as a professional body then there is no problem with joining a further professional body that does (hence why I am also a CIOT and ATT member).

    However, if the motive of joining a further body is solely to purchase a better title for yourself then I would suggest that you may have a confidence issue to address and the additional subscription fees may perhaps be better spent on some personal development courses.
  • tripod333tripod333 Settling In Nicely Posts: 20Registered
    However, if the motive of joining a further body is solely to purchase a better title for yourself then I would suggest that you may have a confidence issue to address and the additional subscription fees may perhaps be better spent on some personal development courses.


    I don't think myself and fellow members have confidence issues here.
    We are certainly confident enough that we can perform a significant portion of accountancy work without having to invest further time and money in a certified or chartered qualification.

    I don't believe it is unreasonable to desire a more accurate, self-explanatory title that represents our profession with more transparency to its non-members for the purpose of a marketing tool. It just shows good business sense.
  • deanshepherddeanshepherd Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 1,809Registered
    tripod333 wrote: »
    It just shows good business sense.

    I'm not sure paying an £85 joining fee then £135 per annum for a title that is not protected in any way actually is very good business sense.

    There is nothing to prevent an AAT member signing off their emails, letters etc. as Joe Bloggs MAAT - Financial Accountant.

    If you have the confidence that you are an accountant (a matter of fact rather than qualification) then you should not need to purchase additional letters to justify that to others.

    For example, I know my mechanic is a mechanic because he fixes my car. I don't know or care whether he has done his City & Guilds certificate or not. In fact, I would be a little wary if he started blathering about the various 'titles' he had accumulated rather than just telling me he had been in the business for 15 years.

    I think accountancy qualifications are similar in that they only mean anything to people in the industry and most people in the industry will have never even heard of the Institute of Financial Accountants let alone care whether you are a member.

    Therefore, you are doing so only for yourself (which is not necessarily a bad thing) but I think the money could be better spent elsewhere.

    I am not being judgemental. I too considered becoming a member of the IFA. I even considered becoming a member of the ICPA. But I when I took an honest look at the reasons why I was considering becoming a member of those bodies it came down to my own insecurities at the time and my lack of confidence that my AAT qualification was sufficient on it's own. I think I made the right decision to spend the money on a few extra training courses and have been quids in ever since.
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