Need help deciding which route to aat

Hi everyone.

I am struggling to decide how to go about getting AAT qualified. I am 31, have no financial knowledge and looking for a career change (I do have a physics degree though).

I have decided that the AAT Diploma is the best starting point since I am not involved in a financial organisation. I was deciding to do a distance learning course...
BUT...
I believe that you can go it alone - just buy the text books and book yourself into examination centres? Is there any more you would have to do? I was trying to find out via BPP website but isn't working properly.

I keep seeing job advertisements posted saying £18K part-qualified accountant. At what level of AAT are employers looking to employ you?

Many thanks. Good luck for the new year.
- Andy-

Comments

  • RichardKRichardK Well-Known Posts: 107Registered
    Your AAT qualification

    Hi Andy,
    I became qualified through the NVQ route at my local college which took only 2 years. At the time they ran a full time course which meant that the first two years were condensed into 1. A very tough course!

    You do not have to have a work placement when taking the NVQ course, however you will need to gain a years experience during the course or within 2 years of passing the technician level exams. The technician course is university level so your college will want you to sign a form to register your details with their chosen university which then enables the college to teach you to that university's standards.


    You will find that local colleges will offer very high teaching standards. I would recommend that you make enquiries there first. I wound NOT recommend a distance learning course.

    Please appreciate that the AAT NVQ level 3 (advanced level) carries more educational points than an A grade A level and the NVQ 4 Technician level is equivalent to a 2nd year honours degree.

    You should make enquiries at your local college soon so as they can reserve a place for you in the new educational year, Sept 2010.

    The AAT website will give you details of your local AAT branch member who can also help you with finding a college/ university.


    i hope this helps.

    Regards
    Richard
  • RinskeRinske Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 2,453Registered
    Hi Andy,

    I really enjoy doing my AAT in distance learning. I also took the NVQ route, but I have a low job at the finance department of a company (which doesn't relates to anything I learn). But since I manage to keep up and going with the study, I just hope it's enough.

    If you just want to buy the books, I'm not sure what site would offer that. I know Premier training offers the books, so you could have a look there. I'm not sure which books they offer. Kaplan, BPP and Premier training are the main home learning providers I know, but there are more and a lot of colleges also offer it online, if you look to buy the course with study support.

    Be aware, you need to register with the AAT to be able to sit their exams, but there are also a number of skilltests which you need to sit. You can buy these via a study provider, but I'm not sure if you need to buy the whole unit or can just buy the skillstests.

    As for the job advertisements, I'm sorry, I'm not really up to date with that, so not sure when you would be able to go for those jobs, but please keep the recession in mind and the fact it is hard for everyone to find a job in accountancy, whether you got a lot of experience or not.

    Cheers,
    Rinske
  • Bookworm55Bookworm55 Trusted Regular Posts: 479Registered
    RichardK wrote: »
    Hi Andy,
    I became qualified through the NVQ route at my local college which took only 2 years. At the time they ran a full time course which meant that the first two years were condensed into 1. A very tough course!

    You do not have to have a work placement when taking the NVQ course, however you will need to gain a years experience during the course or within 2 years of passing the technician level exams. The technician course is university level so your college will want you to sign a form to register your details with their chosen university which then enables the college to teach you to that university's standards.


    You will find that local colleges will offer very high teaching standards. I would recommend that you make enquiries there first. I wound NOT recommend a distance learning course.

    Please appreciate that the AAT NVQ level 3 (advanced level) carries more educational points than an A grade A level and the NVQ 4 Technician level is equivalent to a 2nd year honours degree.

    You should make enquiries at your local college soon so as they can reserve a place for you in the new educational year, Sept 2010.

    The AAT website will give you details of your local AAT branch member who can also help you with finding a college/ university.


    i hope this helps.

    Regards
    Richard

    Richard, you seem to be mistaken on a few points here.

    There is absolutely no requirement to register with a local university to do the technician level. In fact, this is the first I've heard of anyone doing so.

    More points than an A-grade A-level is slightly misleading. It's fairer to say that it's two C-grades to represent the breadth of the course. Also, when an employer asks for 320 UCAS points you don't get to add 160 from AAT to actual A-levels, or I would have 400 points (believe me on this one, I tried).

    NVQ Technician is not equal to the second year of an honours degree. It will often allow direct entry onto the second year of an accounting course, and does cover some content you will encounter on your second year.
  • mind_of_cubozoanmind_of_cubozoan Just Joined Posts: 4Registered
    Thanks for the replies.

    Got this from BPP website:

    Level 2: Finance Administrator/ Assistant
    Jobs with an administrative emphasis.

    Level 3: Finance Officer
    A position with a more evaluative emphasis.

    Level 4: Finance Team Leader or Senior Finance Officer
    A role with a management emphasis.
    MAAT AAT full member (MAAT)

    After qualifying, you may become a full member of
    the AAT. You can run your own accountancy
    practice, go for more senior level


    So sounds that AAT can get you somewhere.

    I see that I may need to get some book keeping experience while studying on the diploma route so that I am more employable. Will be hard with a full time job and a baby.

    I guess I dont want to waste too much time and money on a course that doesn't yield any results.

    It sounds strange to me that accountancy can be a well paid career but you only have to do a bit of studying to get in. Why isn't accountancy ever mentioned as a career choice by school pupils (I work in a school)?
  • mini_schnauzermini_schnauzer Trusted Regular Posts: 347Registered
    Hello

    I have only 2 exams left to do in June to complete the final level.
    I did not go to college but instead purchased the books from Amazon for the units that allowed me to sit an exam, and for the skills tests I purchased individual units via distance learning from Kaplan.
    Good luck.
  • Bookworm55Bookworm55 Trusted Regular Posts: 479Registered
    So sounds that AAT can get you somewhere.

    I see that I may need to get some book keeping experience while studying on the diploma route so that I am more employable. Will be hard with a full time job and a baby.

    I guess I dont want to waste too much time and money on a course that doesn't yield any results.

    It sounds strange to me that accountancy can be a well paid career but you only have to do a bit of studying to get in. Why isn't accountancy ever mentioned as a career choice by school pupils (I work in a school)?


    Certainly it can get you somewhere. It's really getting your first accounting job that's the challenge. Also, the AAT is an entry-level qualification, and many go on to do ACCA/CIMA/ACA afterwards. Also, reports of the amount of money earned by AAT students varies a lot.

    I think the BPP progression is a bit ambitious. Or at least it seems to rattle through the levels of work too quicky, where it should take a few years to do.

    Did you do careers advice at your school? I never had any. I always regret going to university at 18 instead of getting a job.
  • RichardKRichardK Well-Known Posts: 107Registered
    Bookworm55 wrote: »
    Richard, you seem to be mistaken on a few points here.

    There is absolutely no requirement to register with a local university to do the technician level. In fact, this is the first I've heard of anyone doing so.

    More points than an A-grade A-level is slightly misleading. It's fairer to say that it's two C-grades to represent the breadth of the course. Also, when an employer asks for 320 UCAS points you don't get to add 160 from AAT to actual A-levels, or I would have 400 points (believe me on this one, I tried).

    NVQ Technician is not equal to the second year of an honours degree. It will often allow direct entry onto the second year of an accounting course, and does cover some content you will encounter on your second year.


    Hi, thank you for your reply.
    There is some conflicting data on the internet.

    Please appreciate that Technician level AAT level covers standard costing in addition to other complex subjects.

    Please also appreciate that the AAT Technician qualification allows you exemption of several ACA examinations, meaning you can qualify with the ICAEW within 2 years.

    I can not see an entry route into ACA via A-Level qualifications with these exemptions and which allow you to qualify within this time.

    Therefore my advice would be to take the ACA fast track route if you have already started your AAT qualification.

    I hope this helps
  • RichardKRichardK Well-Known Posts: 107Registered
    Bookworm55 wrote: »
    Richard, you seem to be mistaken on a few points here.

    There is absolutely no requirement to register with a local university to do the technician level. In fact, this is the first I've heard of anyone doing so.

    More points than an A-grade A-level is slightly misleading. It's fairer to say that it's two C-grades to represent the breadth of the course. Also, when an employer asks for 320 UCAS points you don't get to add 160 from AAT to actual A-levels, or I would have 400 points (believe me on this one, I tried).

    NVQ Technician is not equal to the second year of an honours degree. It will often allow direct entry onto the second year of an accounting course, and does cover some content you will encounter on your second year.

    Hi,
    NVQ level 3 will get you 160 UCAS points. Technican Level is NVQ Level 4. Please refer to this chart to see where the an NVQ4 is placed amongst other qualifications ..............


    http://www.aimhigher.ac.uk/essex/resources/Qual%20break%20down%20doc.pdf


    It's pretty high and equal to stage 3 of an honours degree and higher than a Higher National Diploma (HNC) and one level away from ACCA.

    NVQ Level 5 is the highest NVQ level and equal to that of a Doctorate.
  • Bookworm55Bookworm55 Trusted Regular Posts: 479Registered
    RichardK wrote: »
    Hi, thank you for your reply.
    There is some conflicting data on the internet.

    Please appreciate that Technician level AAT level covers standard costing in addition to other complex subjects.

    Please also appreciate that the AAT Technician qualification allows you exemption of several ACA examinations, meaning you can qualify with the ICAEW within 2 years.

    I can not see an entry route into ACA via A-Level qualifications with these exemptions and which allow you to qualify within this time.

    Therefore my advice would be to take the ACA fast track route if you have already started your AAT qualification.

    The AAT-ACA fast track route is a nice one if you can get it, but it requires a willing and supportive employer and a specific training contract. Some employers would still insist the AAT member sits every ACA exam. I had an interview a few months back where the firm would not have allowed any exemptions from any ICAEW exam despite (1) my MAAT status and (2) my degree in accounting. (I'm one of the few people who have both)

    There are complex technical subjects in the Technician level, but there are also a great many things in an academic situation like an honours degree course which it does not cover. I'm not giving this as a weakness of either one, but I am saying that it makes comparisons of equality difficult.
  • sdvsdv Experienced Mentor Posts: 585Registered
    Hi everyone.

    I am struggling to decide how to go about getting AAT qualified. I am 31, have no financial knowledge and looking for a career change (I do have a physics degree though).

    I have decided that the AAT Diploma is the best starting point since I am not involved in a financial organisation. I was deciding to do a distance learning course...
    BUT...


    Be aware of changes in AAT qualification standards

    see this link

    http://forums.aat.org.uk/showthread.php?t=25570
  • RichardKRichardK Well-Known Posts: 107Registered
    Hi,
    Bookworm55, thank you for your reply, yes, I agree comparisons are diffcult. However, I was comparing the difficulty level with that of the 2nd year of an honours degree.

    Please see this educational comparisons chart.........

    http://www.aimhigher.ac.uk/essex/res...down%20doc.pdf

    You will then see that what I said was true and where the AAT technician level NVQ4 fits in in all of this.

    You can apply for your AAT exemptions on the ACA website and they CHARGE YOU £60 for each exemption processed.

    1. Register FREE as a student and list your AAT qualifications and AAT membership;
    2. Apply for the exemptions on line by clicking on "Apply for credit online" which is in their "Credit for prior learning" section.
    3. Pay the £60 for each of your exemptions online

    You will be awarded up to 5 exemptions depending on the units you passed.


    You DO NOT need to be employed to register for these exemptions.

    AND you may wish to put on your C.V that your are part ACA qualified once you have paid for the exemptions and they have been approved by the ACA.

    These exemptions apply whether you have take the DIPLOMA or NVQ Technician pathway.

    If I were you I would claim the exemptions and take that to any future interviews.

    I was not aware that certain employers were not accepting the exemptions and I have never heard of it. My local practive welcomes any AAT experience.

    I am sorry you had had these bad experiences.

    Regards
    Richard
  • Bookworm55Bookworm55 Trusted Regular Posts: 479Registered
    RichardK wrote: »
    Hi,
    Bookworm55, thank you for your reply, yes, I agree comparisons are diffcult. However, I was comparing the difficulty level with that of the 2nd year of an honours degree.

    Please see this educational comparisons chart.........

    http://www.aimhigher.ac.uk/essex/res...down%20doc.pdf

    You will then see that what I said was true and where the AAT technician level NVQ4 fits in in all of this.

    That chart seems interesting, but I think it's a broad overview rather than a specific comparison tool. In general, it seems about right, but I don't think it's as useful comparing specific NVQ programmes with specific degree programmes and professional courses. I also feel it bunches things up too tightly on the right hand side. You have linked to that chart several times, and I'm not sure which part of it you think proves your point.

    In my experience of having done both, I would say that the AAT Technician is less difficult than the second year of an honours degree in accounting. It's not a great difference; I would say it was about the same as the step between AAT Intermediate and AAT Technician, with quite a lot of new material (as distinct from more difficult material).

    Further, I do not consider someone who has only been granted exemptions from exams to be part-qualified until he or she has actually passed some. For instance, I have been granted exemption from four of CIMA's six Managerial exams, but won't call myself part-qualified until I pass one of the other two. (and get some better work experience)
  • RichardKRichardK Well-Known Posts: 107Registered
    Bookworm55 wrote: »
    That chart seems interesting, but I think it's a broad overview rather than a specific comparison tool. In general, it seems about right, but I don't think it's as useful comparing specific NVQ programmes with specific degree programmes and professional courses. I also feel it bunches things up too tightly on the right hand side. You have linked to that chart several times, and I'm not sure which part of it you think proves your point.

    In my experience of having done both, I would say that the AAT Technician is less difficult than the second year of an honours degree in accounting. It's not a great difference; I would say it was about the same as the step between AAT Intermediate and AAT Technician, with quite a lot of new material (as distinct from more difficult material).

    Further, I do not consider someone who has only been granted exemptions from exams to be part-qualified until he or she has actually passed some. For instance, I have been granted exemption from four of CIMA's six Managerial exams, but won't call myself part-qualified until I pass one of the other two. (and get some better work experience)


    Thank you,
    I will let readers decide for themselves. I have no futher comments to make.

    Regards
Sign In or Register to comment.