Institute of Financial Accountants

Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones Registered Posts: 2 New contributor 🐸
I note looking at the Institute of Financial Accountants website that where previously AAT members could join the IFA on the basis of being AAT members (at level 4 NVQ) this is no longer the case, as the IFA have revised their examinations and consider them at a higher level.
While I do not consider the IFA to be as good a professional body as the AAT, and certainly it does not have the same standing in the profession it does appear that they are making significant progress to the determent of the AAT.
I remember in January 2008 the ICAEW did a report on the IFA activities where they stated that in the opinion of the ICAEW the accountancy profession is in levels. Level 1 The Chartered Bodies, Level 2 Financial Accountants, Level 3 Technicians, and Level 4 Book-keepers.
This would seem to be a step to achieving this, and maybe it’s time that the AAT upped its game.
Do any of the AAT elected council or secretariat have any comments to make?


  • deanshepherd
    deanshepherd Registered Posts: 1,809
    I am neither elected council or secretariat but I think the AAT is well-positioned where it is.

    As AAT is sponsored by most of the Chartered bodies it serves as a feeder organisation and a lower level of examined technical ability. It also provides access to an accounting career for those unable or unwilling to do chartered studies. How would changing that unique position benefit the AAT?

    The IFA, on the other hand, wants the same recognition as the chartered bodies for it's members yet doesn't have the same level of qualifying criteria (and wouldn't want to otherwise it's membership would considerably diminish).

    The IFA obviously have their own plan for expansion and growth and good luck to them but getting into a 'chartered vs certified' style competition with them seems entirely unnecessary to me.

    Just my two penneth..
  • Hasan.Ahmet
    Hasan.Ahmet Registered Posts: 87 💫 🐯 💫

    The vacuum the IFA moved in to fill was sticking out like a sore thump.
    I too am curious to hear from the AAT's elected council member. But don't forget
    there are quite a number of unelected council members simply appointed by the sponsoring
    bodies on what basis I personally don't know.
    May be there is a bigger picture but I personally think AAT leaves itself in a bit of dilemma with this sponsorship arrangement.
  • burg
    burg Moderator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,441
    Must say I tend to agree with Dean.

    The AAT has its own place in the market. You can also do the CAT qualification which is effectively the same but does not have the same standing!

    I think the AAT has exploited a gap in the accountancy market and has a high regard in practice and industry as a valued qualification. It is also increasing its standing at providing quality and value members in practice.

    As Dean also mentioned it provides a good route into an accountancy qualification for those not wanting to do Chartered and also as another route into a chartered qualification for those not wanting to go to University. Many AAT members go on to become full members of chartered bodies and obtaining there sponsorship cannot be easy as they are then associating themselves with the AAT. If they didn't think the AAT was valued then they would not sponsor

  • Bookworm55
    Bookworm55 Registered Posts: 479
    You can also do the CAT qualification which is effectively the same but does not have the same standing!

    I may have misinterpreted this, but I believe ACCA (who run CAT) were once sponsors of the AAT, but withdrew their support as they didn't like certain changes that had been made. ACCA set up the CAT programme as an alternative better suited to their needs.
    The vacuum the IFA moved in to fill was sticking out like a sore thump.

    A vacuum? Where? I don't see a vacuum between the AAT and the CCAB members. Instead, I see there is some overlap between the end of AAT and start of some of the others, particularly ICAEW and CIMA. As Dean implies, the ICAEW and CIMA have a vested interest in encouraging the brightest AAT members to continue to chartered status.

    I would go as far as to say that I don't see what niche the IFA is attempting to fill. Perhaps if it was more of an organisation for the "qualified by experience" crowd?
  • deanshepherd
    deanshepherd Registered Posts: 1,809
    Just a personal view, but I see ICPA as the IFA's immediate competitor.

    ICPA gives support and credibility to accountants qualified by experience, without examination.

    IFA gives support and credibility to accountants unable or unwilling to do chartered studies who don't like the word 'technician'.

    There is a market for IFA but I wouldn't describe it as a 'vacuum sticking out like a sore thumb'.

    I view AAT's competitors in a similar light to my own accountancy practice. I do not see any other firm as competition, my competition is people who want to do their own accounts and tax returns.

    Similarly, I don't think the AAT has any competitors in terms of professional bodies (CAT is insignificant), their competition is people who are unaware of the AAT or who choose not to study at all.
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