What is the point in passing AAT?

RowanB
RowanB Registered Posts: 158 Dedicated contributor 🦉
Sorry, this is a bit of a rant, because I feel very frustrated and angry, as I'm sure a lot of people in my situation do. I can definitely relate to how Gentle Jesus feels.

Now please answer this. How is it that being AAT qualified is valued so much by employers, yet passing AAT without any substantial accountancy experience is considered almost worthless? I'm sure that's a contradiction. It's considered BRILLIANT if you've worked in some mediocre accounts position for a few months, but if you've passed with no experience, then it's considered worthless??? Please explain that one.
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Comments

  • burg
    burg Registered, Moderator Posts: 1,441 mod
    It's the same with all accountancy qualifications and any qualification whatsoever. Have a look around at other accountancy forums and you will see ACCA/CIMA students in the same situation.

    Doing something in theory is nothing like doing it in practice. There are no risks associated to a college in doing theoretical work. There is substantial risk to an employer in taking on someone, particularly with little/no experience, as the risk of errors is higher. The employer has to have a confidence in the employee and be able to make a profit out of them. At the present time when there are plenty of candidates, most would take the ideal rather than a risk.

    I was lucky when I found my first accountancy role as my employer decided to take a risk on me. I had some basic bookkeeping experience (very limited) and was nearly onto technican stage.

    In the current climate finding a role is always going to be harder than normal as there are less jobs and more candidates. For this reason you have to up your game. Get lots of people to review your CV and tell you what they really think! Might be scary but will help in getting a job. Make yourself employable by making all aspects of you that you are trying to sell look good to an employer.

    Try finding some voluntary work. Look at http://www.do-it.org.uk/, speak to your local church, scouts/brownies, parish council, playgroups. Most have financial people with little/no knowledge at all and would be glad of the help.

    Try selling yourself to accountants on the point that you would like to come in and just gain some practical experience, you may get somewhere just not in January as we are all too busy to try and teach in January.

    Best of luck with finding employment but I'm afraid it is all down to you. It took me 9 months, hundreds of applications and lots of interviews to find my first accountancy job. You won't be right for everyone but you need to make yourself at least considerable to give you that chance. Attitude is everything and anybody who goes into an interview anything but positive won't stand a chance.
    Regards,

    Burg
  • Steve Collings
    Steve Collings Registered Posts: 997 Epic contributor 🐘
    Hi RowanB,

    Having a professional qualification under your belt such as AAT is, without a doubt, a positive thing despite the struggles to get experience. To a potential employer it demonstrates a commitment to your chosen profession and would certainly add value when your CV is compared to that of someone unqualified.

    However, as Burg has quite rightly pointed out, qualifications on their own cannot be relied upon as a key to getting a job. The forums are flooded with individuals who are in your position and the same sort of posts are seen on a regular basis over on AccountancyStudents. Even ACCA qualified affiliates are struggling to get their foot in the door and it does seem to be a vicious circle but accountancy in real life is far different in some respects than what gets taught in AAT or even ACCA. The AAT qualification will, however, equip you with the technical and theoretical side of things.

    The point is that you simply cannot give up if accountancy is your chosen career. As Burg has suggested, try writing to local accountants. You may get lucky here because January is the busiest time - our trainee wrote in by chance and she is now in a full-time role. Despite lots of posts claiming they are a waste of time, get yourself registered with lots of agencies - every attempt at securing a role is not a waste of time, as well as doing all the things Burg has suggested in his thread above. Also don't be afraid to go for junior roles to get your foot in the door - one student I had dealings with who was on the final level of ACCA refused to go for any role unless it was at least middle management in practice. With no experience in practice, this was just not going to happen.

    Good luck with everything, let us know how you get on and keep motivated. It will happen one day.

    Kind regards
    steve
  • Jon_1984
    Jon_1984 Registered Posts: 186 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    I hate to say it but I cannot think of any skilled profession where this is not the case.....Would you like to be treated by a doctor who had learned everything from a book and never touched a real patient or flown on holdiay by a pilot who had passed all their exams but never been in a cockpit before?

    Another employment area rarely mentioned is administration roles for smaller companies can often involve a large amount of dealing with financial transactions (such as invoice/payment processing etc.) if you read the job specs. This can be classed as relevent experience.

    Good luck with the hunting!

    Jon
  • Jan
    Jan Registered Posts: 654 Epic contributor 🐘
    RowanB wrote: »
    Now please answer this. How is it that being AAT qualified is valued so much by employers, yet passing AAT without any substantial accountancy experience is considered almost worthless? I'm sure that's a contradiction. It's considered BRILLIANT if you've worked in some mediocre accounts position for a few months, but if you've passed with no experience, then it's considered worthless??? Please explain that one.

    Rowan, fogive me if I have misunderstood, but I get the impression that you would turn your nose up at "some mediocre accounts position". Surely just because you know the theory you don't expect to start from the bottom? Don't know which field of accountancy you are aiming at, but if its practice, then how would you cope with the plastic bag full of receipts/ missing statements etc which I'm sure still happens?

    The AAT qual is worthwhile - my present employer thought so when they advertised my job, a "lowly" bookkeeper. They had made a mistake with employing my predessor who had neither the right experience or the qualification, which resulted in a few stressful months on both sides until she walked out!

    The job market is very difficult as you know, so any employer who has the confidence to take someone on at the moment has the cream of the crop available . Hang on in there, keep up the voluntary work. Securing the right job is sometimes a matter of good luck, so keep on looking for it!
  • RowanB
    RowanB Registered Posts: 158 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    Good answers from Jon, Jan, Steve and Burg. Thanks a lot. I appreciate them.


    No, I am trying very hard to get a mediocre accounts position, and would love to do some voluntary accounts work. Is finding voluntary accounts work even possible?

    The point is though, it's possible to pass AAT without experience, so why is the qualification even valued? I realise it is valued highly be employers, but why do they value it?
  • RowanB
    RowanB Registered Posts: 158 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    Jon_1984 wrote: »
    I hate to say it but I cannot think of any skilled profession where this is not the case.....Would you like to be treated by a doctor who had learned everything from a book and never touched a real patient or flown on holdiay by a pilot who had passed all their exams but never been in a cockpit before?


    Jon


    Thanks for your answer. Yes, I agree with that, but the interesting thing is AAT can be passed without experience. It seems a contradiction that AAT suddenly becomes so valued once professional experience is gained.
  • blobbyh
    blobbyh Registered Posts: 2,415 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
    RowanB wrote: »
    ... the interesting thing is AAT can be passed without experience. It seems a contradiction that AAT suddenly becomes so valued once professional experience is gained.

    You can pass a law degree without ever having worked a real life case, pass an art or photography degree without ever having sold a single item or pass a language degree without ever having worked as a translator. In fact, apart from the medical profession, I'd hazard a guess that you can pass almost anything without having any direct experience whatsoever. It's only once you combine learned knowledge with practical experience and a solid work ethic that your employment value rises.

    And yes, the AAT qualification is well respected by employers but it's only one of the steps you can take towards securing paid work. Possessing a positive mental attitude and gaining relevant administrative experience alongside - or even outside - the accounting field also increases your worth.
  • RowanB
    RowanB Registered Posts: 158 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    blobbyh wrote: »
    You can pass a law degree without ever having worked a real life case, pass an art or photography degree without ever having sold a single item or pass a language degree without ever having worked as a translator. In fact, apart from the medical profession, I'd hazard a guess that you can pass almost anything without having any direct experience whatsoever. It's only once you combine learned knowledge with practical experience and a solid work ethic that your employment value rises.

    And yes, the AAT qualification is well respected by employers but it's only one of the steps you can take towards securing paid work. Possessing a positive mental attitude and gaining relevant administrative experience alongside - or even outside - the accounting field also increases your worth.

    Thanks a lot for your reply.

    When someone passes a law degree, they are referred to as a law graduate. Nothing more. There is also a natural progression for particularly successful law graduates to take a two year LPS course where they combine theory with practical experience to become qualified solicitors. Show me a similar pathway into accountancy offered to AAT graduates. Language graduates are classed as language graduates. Nothing more. AAT graduates are often misleadingly described as being 'qualified Accounting Technicians'. It's a shame you're even comparing a technical subject to abstract subjects such as art and photography, which require obscure means of entry for obvious reasons.

    Not quite sure what you mean by that guess. ACA qualification is an obvious example of something that can't be obtained without direct experience, as are a multitude of NVQs.

    There are fields that can be entered professionally without combining theoretical knowledge with practical experience. What about high calibre MSc Statistics graduates, or BSc Engineering graduates? At least language graduates have a good chance of being employed as translators.

    I have got a positive mental attitude and am currently volunteering for a furniture charity, taking calls, making basic bank reconciliations, recording daily takings and putting formulas into Excel spreadhseets to improve procedures.

    By July/ August, I expect to be AAT qualified and have sage-certification in all three stages of Sage Line 50 Accounts. I am also a low-class maths and statistics graduate. I will still probably be really struggling to get a low-level accounts position.

    I'm not even that bothered because I have other irons in the fire careerwise, but all I am saying is, the accountancy sector is particularly elusive in terms of its entry routes, and as a result of this, sadly, a lot of hard-working, passionate AAT student who have spent a lot of money on their studies will become disillusioned about their desired career.
  • messedup89
    messedup89 Registered Posts: 1,281 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
    RowanB wrote: »
    I'm not even that bothered because I have other irons in the fire careerwise,

    If ur not all that bothered about it then why kick up such a fuss and suggest AAT isnt worth it as ur not likely to get a decent job out of it when so many students have worked so hard for it? Its hard to find a job in anything at the moment. You just have to be patient, and if ur not that bothered go for one of your other career ideas instead
  • RowanB
    RowanB Registered Posts: 158 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    RowanB wrote: »
    I'm not even that bothered because I have other irons in the fire careerwise,

    If ur not all that bothered about it then why kick up such a fuss and suggest AAT isnt worth it as ur not likely to get a decent job out of it when so many students have worked so hard for it? Its hard to find a job in anything at the moment. You just have to be patient, and if ur not that bothered go for one of your other career ideas instead

    I'm making statements about the AAT, which I think are valid, because this is an AAT discussion forum where people can share their thoughts regarding the course.

    Why have you used the phrase 'kicking up a fuss' to try and demean my comments? Are you trying to kick up a fuss or something?
  • messedup89
    messedup89 Registered Posts: 1,281 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
    RowanB wrote: »

    I'm making statements about the AAT, which I think are valid, because this is an AAT discussion forum where people can share their thoughts regarding the course.

    Why have you used the phrase 'kicking up a fuss' to try and demean my comments? Are you trying to kick up a fuss or something?

    it sounds like your trying to demeen the qualification and suggesting that if someone isnt already working in an accounting environment than its worthless them studying it as there not going to get anything out of it. This could put off potential students. The qualification is a great thing to have on your cv. Its just hard for anyone to find a job at the moment.

    You say the forums are for sharing thooughts? Well these are mine :)
  • RowanB
    RowanB Registered Posts: 158 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    RowanB wrote: »

    it sounds like your trying to demeen the qualification and suggesting that if someone isnt already working in an accounting environment than its worthless them studying it as there not going to get anything out of it. This could put off potential students. The qualification is a great thing to have on your cv. Its just hard for anyone to find a job at the moment.

    You say the forums are for sharing thooughts? Well these are mine :)

    I'm not trying to demean the qualification. I'm highlighting pertinent issues regarding it. Why don't you contribute a full answer to my post, so that potential students have something meaningful to read, rather than just crying because the value of the AAT qualification has been challenged?
  • messedup89
    messedup89 Registered Posts: 1,281 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
    RowanB wrote: »

    I'm not trying to demean the qualification. I'm highlighting pertinent issues regarding it. Why don't you contribute a full answer to my post, so that potential students have something meaningful to read, rather than just crying because the value of the AAT qualification has been challenged?

    It took you that long to write that! I did contribute something meaningful. That students should keep up with it as its a valuable qualification to have dispite you crying about it and that its hard to get a job at the moment but dont let it put you off. Be patient and persistent :)
  • RowanB
    RowanB Registered Posts: 158 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    RowanB wrote: »

    It took you that long to write that! I did contribute something meaningful. That students should keep up with it as its a valuable qualification to have dispite you crying about it and that its hard to get a job at the moment but dont let it put you off. Be patient and persistent :)

    Hey, you should take longer over your posts mate. You might even be able to write a full paragraph using correct English. Thanks for the contribution. It's valuable because it is. Cheers. That's really inspiring.
  • messedup89
    messedup89 Registered Posts: 1,281 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
    RowanB wrote: »

    Hey, you should take longer over your posts mate. You might even be able to write a full paragraph using correct English. Thanks for the contribution. It's valuable because it is. Cheers. That's really inspiring.

    well sorry for not using 'correct english' while im at work, its a forum! You dont need to be 'proper'. And glad u like the advise and good look with a job :)
  • RowanB
    RowanB Registered Posts: 158 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    Well, thanks for the good luck wish. At least I can take heart from your optimism about the qualification.
  • blobbyh
    blobbyh Registered Posts: 2,415 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
    RowanB wrote: »
    Hey, you should take longer over your posts mate. You might even be able to write a full paragraph using correct English

    A little advice about forum etiquette 'mate'. Taking the pee out of someone's spelling or grammar when done in a light hearted manner is borderline acceptable to most peope but when done in the midst of a relatively heated discussion, such personal tactics simply comes across as peurile and you will often be seen as a troll, especially since you are a forum newbie (post count, not join date) debating with regulars.

    If you think the qualification will bring you nothing then give it up: no-one's forcing you and save yourself the money.
  • messedup89
    messedup89 Registered Posts: 1,281 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
    blobbyh wrote: »
    A little advice about forum etiquette 'mate'. Taking the pee out of someone's spelling or grammar when done in a light hearted manner is borderline acceptable to most peope but when done in the midst of a relatively heated discussion, such personal tactics simply comes across as peurile and you will often be seen as a troll, especially since you are a forum newbie (post count, not join date) debating with regulars.

    If you think the qualification will bring you nothing then give it up: no-one's forcing you and save yourself the money.

    Go Blobbyh!!!! :)
  • RowanB
    RowanB Registered Posts: 158 Dedicated contributor 🦉

    It took you that long to write that!

    A little word about forum etiquette mate. Being facietious about how long people take to write posts is generally borderline acceptable, but in a heated debate it's a bit below the belt to be honest. Very disappointing from someone with such a high post count. :(
  • RowanB
    RowanB Registered Posts: 158 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    blobbyh wrote: »
    .

    If you think the qualification will bring you nothing then give it up: no-one's forcing you and save yourself the money.

    No. I'm suggesting it might bring me nothing and seeing if someone more insightful can refute that suggestion. If the best response I get is a pathetic attempt to belittle me on the basis of my post count, then I might start to believe the qualification's worthless.
  • A-Vic
    A-Vic Registered Posts: 6,970 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
    Jan wrote: »
    Rowan, fogive me if I have misunderstood, but I get the impression that you would turn your nose up at "some mediocre accounts position". Surely just because you know the theory you don't expect to start from the bottom? Don't know which field of accountancy you are aiming at, but if its practice, then how would you cope with the plastic bag full of receipts/ missing statements etc which I'm sure still happens?

    The AAT qual is worthwhile - my present employer thought so when they advertised my job, a "lowly" bookkeeper. They had made a mistake with employing my predessor who had neither the right experience or the qualification, which resulted in a few stressful months on both sides until she walked out!

    The job market is very difficult as you know, so any employer who has the confidence to take someone on at the moment has the cream of the crop available . Hang on in there, keep up the voluntary work. Securing the right job is sometimes a matter of good luck, so keep on looking for it!

    After reading with interest yet another is the AAT quali worth it post i totally agree with jan on the above.

    When i started my current employment 5 years ago my employer would not sponcer my learning in anyway then stumbled across the AAT and managed to get funding for the first year.

    On seeing how this improved my capablities in my job he agreed to fund the rest not only that he also has urged any other staff members to go on the course as well as advising any clients who wish to do there own books.

    I understand your fustration at not been able to get a job but like anything it wont fall in your lap you have to keep applying for the jobs lower end or not just as long as you get your foot in the door then work hard to prove your worth.

    As for the comments of proper english give me a break and yourself as you wont be taken serously by anyone on the forums for trying to put a person down. Well said Robert :)
  • messedup89
    messedup89 Registered Posts: 1,281 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
    RowanB wrote: »
    No. I'm suggesting it might bring me nothing and seeing if someone more insightful can refute the suggestion. If the best response I get is a pathetic attempt to belittle me on the basis of my post count, then I might start to believe the qualification's worthless.

    how can you compare someones remarks on the forum not related to the qualification against how useful the qualification would be?
  • RowanB
    RowanB Registered Posts: 158 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    how can you compare someones remarks on the forum not related to the qualification against how useful the qualification would be?


    Simple. I challenged the value of the qualification and instead of addressing the points I made, Blobby chose to make a demeaning remark about my post count and say 'yeah, why don't you just give up if you think it's worthless'. The logical conclusion is he can't refute my suggestion that the qualification might be a waste of time and money.

    I don't want what I suggested to be true, and I'm confident it isn't 100% true, but responses like that make me inclined to negativity.
  • messedup89
    messedup89 Registered Posts: 1,281 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
    RowanB wrote: »

    I don't want why I suggested to be true, and I'm confident it isn't 100% true, but responses like that make me inclined to negativity.

    Can i jsut say, you were calling my use of 'correct english' earlier. But u have just contradicted yourself by using incorrect english.
  • RowanB
    RowanB Registered Posts: 158 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    A-Vic wrote: »
    After reading with interest yet another is the AAT quali worth it post i totally agree with jan on the above.

    When i started my current employment 5 years ago my employer would not sponcer my learning in anyway then stumbled across the AAT and managed to get funding for the first year.

    On seeing how this improved my capablities in my job he agreed to fund the rest not only that he also has urged any other staff members to go on the course as well as advising any clients who wish to do there own books.

    I understand your fustration at not been able to get a job but like anything it wont fall in your lap you have to keep applying for the jobs lower end or not just as long as you get your foot in the door then work hard to prove your worth.

    As for the comments of proper english give me a break and yourself as you wont be taken serously by anyone on the forums for trying to put a person down. Well said Robert :)


    Thanks for your post. I realise AAT qualifications are brilliant once you are already working in a relevant field. I am mainly concerned about entry routes into accountancy. I am working very hard applying for jobs and don't expect it to fall into my lap. Those comments about proper English were in retaliation to Messedup's facietious remark about how long he thinks it takes for me to write posts. I suggested to him that if he took longer he might be able to compose a post with correct English. That's actually quite good advice.
  • RowanB
    RowanB Registered Posts: 158 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    Can i jsut say, you were calling my use of 'correct english' earlier. But u have just contradicted yourself by using incorrect english.

    Yes. Good call. I wrote that too fast. That's one mistake.
  • messedup89
    messedup89 Registered Posts: 1,281 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
    p.s surely you seem intelligent enough to make up your own mind wether its worth you studying the qualification by going off your own thoughts and future plans and not that of others
  • messedup89
    messedup89 Registered Posts: 1,281 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
    RowanB wrote: »
    Thanks for your post. I am working very hard applying for jobs and don't expect it to fall into my lap. Those comments about proper English were in retaliation to Messedup's facietious remark about how long he thinks it takes for me to write posts. I suggested to him that if he took longer he might be able to compose a post with correct English. That's actually quite good advice.

    Btw another correction-im a she, not a he. The picture should be a hint!
  • messedup89
    messedup89 Registered Posts: 1,281 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
    RowanB wrote: »

    I don't want what I suggested to be true, and I'm confident it isn't 100% true, but responses like that make me inclined to negativity.

    p.p.s changing the mistake you actually made after i'd already pointed it out is cheating!
  • RowanB
    RowanB Registered Posts: 158 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    Btw another correction-im a she, not a he. The picture should be a hint!

    haha. Yeah, but those Final Fantasy men all look like girls. You've got to admit!
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