AAT NVQ vs Diploma - UCAS points wanted by employers?

Spaceghost Registered Posts: 1 New contributor ?

I am researching accounting to see if it is a viable career path for me and would like to ask some questions, I hope that is ok. I see some parallels between a career in accounting and law. My brother ended up with a third class degree in law and has found it impossible to find a training contract, which effectively means he will can't practice. I don't want to invest several years if I will end up in a similar situation.

I was first looking at job offers on various websites for training contracts and as I am sure you are aware, most of the big firms want applicants with at least a 2:1 and 280 UCAS points.

My concern is that my lack of motivation when I was younger through my A Levels and first degree could cause a big problem for me like my brother.

I am 25, I think I have around 180 UCAS points (CDE) and a BA (Hons) in Film Studies, which is shamefully a third class, and not a useful subject. I did continue on and do a MA (Merit) which I did much better in as I decided to pull my finger out but perhaps it is too little too late.

Now the AAT NVQ is worth 160 UCAS points but the Diploma is worth nothing as far as I can make out. I wonder whether these extra points may work in my favour if I continue training and seek out a contract. This means I would need to find a job in a financial role. At the moment I work in the family business which is a restaurant, I wonder if I can use these accounts for my NVQ rather than seeking out somewhere else.

Basically I would like to know, with my prior academic records, is it realistic for me to get anywhere in accounting, sure I can complete the AAT diploma or NVQ, but I would still need to find a job.

I am being optimistic and hoping that with the AAT (either path), I can demonstrate to the employers that I am not the same as I was when I was younger and have learnt from my mistakes. Hopefully once my foot is in the door and I have experience they may be more willing to invest in me should I wish to train for the ACCA or ACA.

I don't think I will ever find a job with one of the big multinationals but maybe smaller local firms will be less demanding about academic records as long as I show them I will do a good job.

I may try to find some work experience to see if I would enjoy accounting because I don't really know anything about it yet. My brain is swirling around trying to make sense of all the different professional organisations and their various qualifications.

I understand the economy is still recovering but if it takes me 3 years to finish, I hope by then it will be doing well again and accounting job prospects will be good.

For those of you that read everything, thank you for your patience. If you have any feedback or comments, positive or negative, please post them. I want to be optimistic but I am also cautious.


  • shawn michaels
    shawn michaels Registered Posts: 52 ? ? ?
    I think UCAS points for accountancy firms is always based on the best of 3 A-levels no matter whether you have a degree or AAT.
  • steveJ
    steveJ Registered Posts: 694
    Welcome Spaceghost,

    Im 26 and started the AAT last year, passed my foundation and am now working through the intermediate.

    I think if you put in enough effort with the AAT and also other bits and pieces to add to your CV, i think you could do anything. Im looking to start learning a new language this year which i believe will really excel my chances of higher job placements.

    I dont really know UCAS points as i didnt go to college or university.

    Anyways good luck and we're always here to give you a bit of encouragement.
  • RichardK
    RichardK Registered Posts: 107 ? ? ?
    Hi, Spaceghost,
    I think you will find the AAT Advanced level NVQ3 is worth 160 points and the Technician level NVQ4 is worth more. UCAS often refers to the NVQ3 level and not the NVQ4.

    Bear in mind that if you study with the AAT and pass the Technician exams you can then train at a company for ACA (Chartered Accountant) or ACCA (Certified Accountant) and take their fast track routes as shown on their websites. With the ACA this can take as little a 2 years.

    Passing your AAT qualification means you you will be exempt from taking several of the ACA or ACCA exams. I don't think the ACA offer exemptions or a fast track route for students that have passed A levels only.

    You may find this link useful regarding how the AAT qualification compares with others............


  • A-Vic
    A-Vic Registered Posts: 6,970
    Richard is it true the ucas points will be changing next year to allow for diploma route? just wanted to check
  • RichardK
    RichardK Registered Posts: 107 ? ? ?
    Hi, I have sent you a private message with my email address so you can contact me by Windows Messenger
  • C2XVT
    C2XVT Registered Posts: 62 ? ? ?
    RichardK wrote: »
    Bear in mind that if you study with the AAT and pass the Technician exams you can then train at a company for ACA (Chartered Accountant) or ACCA (Certified Accountant) and take their fast track routes as shown on their websites. With the ACA this can take as little a 2 years

    ACA training contracts are usually given to people with academic pedigree, which is why it is regarded so highly in the Finance world.

    Generally speaking, to get onto this route you would have needed a 2.1 degree or better, with a general minimum of 280 UCAS points.

    If you are offered it with anything less, you should consider yourself in a privileged position.

    Yes the ACA could be completed within two years if you go through the AAT-ACA Fasttrack route. However you would have to register with the ICAEW and log your work experience from when you start the Technician year and you should expect to sit 11 papers* within the 2 years

    *11 exams would be with maximum exemptions from the AAT which would mean you did Audit, PTC & BTC.
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