Maybe starting AAT in September

dancar1 Registered Posts: 6 Regular contributor ⭐ ? ⭐
Hey everyone,

I finish my A-levels this month at Sixth Form, and ever since the start of this year, I realised the whole Sixth Form thing was a mistake. I'd taken the wrong subjects and everything just felt really messed up..
I came across Accountancy and found it somewhat interesting (Who says it's boring? :P), and really regretted not taking it as a subject at Sixth Form. Some tutors suggested staying at the college for another year to study the subject at A-Level, and maybe get the whole A-Level in just one year, but I've done some research and the actual A-level really doesn't seem to teach about applying what you learn in real world situations.

Another college nearby, offers the AAT course, from Foundation to Technician level, and I've looked into it and it seems more like what I'd want to get out of studying Accountancy. I worry if it is suitable for someone without any prior knowledge of the subject however... can anyone shed some light on this for me? Is it the best qualification to begin what I hope leads to a very long-term career in this field? Or are there better ways for an absolute beginner to get his foot in the door?
Also, if I wish, is it possible for someone who is full member of the AAT to use their status to progress onto an even higher qualification, like say.. ACA or ACCA?

Thank you for reading! And thank you to anyone who can answer my questions!


  • PGM
    PGM Registered Posts: 1,954
    I think AAT would be a good step for you. Its a good professional/practical qualification that will help, if not guarentee getting a job. And will also give you some exemptions from the chartered exams if you decide to take it further.
  • Andypandy
    Andypandy Registered Posts: 526
    Go for it - I wish I'd done AAT years ago instead of A levels. You'd be the perfect age to get a decent training contract afterwards aswell.
  • A-Vic
    A-Vic Registered Posts: 6,970
    dancar have you been in contact with connections? Dont get me wrong the AAT is an excellent qualifaction and reconised all over the world but before you commit to 3 years of further study it may be worth talking to an adviser qualified on the right step for you and your future educationtional career.

    best of luck with your future studies :)
  • oli
    oli Registered Posts: 88 ? ? ?
    Just to put some of your worries to rest I started the foundation level back in 2008 with no prior knowledge or experience in accounts, but you soon pick up your debits and credits, asset/expense/income/liability accounts, trial balance etc. I've just completed the intermediate level and am looking forward to technician, as long as you study hard you will do well.

    I do A-Vic though, go to connections and get some advice on your career options first.

    Hope this helps

  • Hope
    Hope Registered Posts: 4 New contributor ?
    The best way , in my opinion, is to find an employer who is willing to give you study support, ie, pay for your AAT qualification while you work for them. I couldnt find a position when I was starting AAT, they are fairly difficult to come across, but the great thing is that youre getting the experience at the same time.
    Alternatively, have you considered uni? I went on to do AAT after my A Levels too, but the only reason i didnt contemplate uni is because i had family commitments. Have you taken suitable A Levels to start a degree in accountancy?
    The AAT is a fantastic qualification, though. Make sure you get some good experience too.
  • Crees
    Crees Registered Posts: 8 Regular contributor ⭐ ? ⭐

    I had years of experiance with Accountancy - there are very few employers who are willing to take you on without the AAT. It is alot easier achieving the qualification if you are working in the industry.

    Personnally - you need to ask yourself 'Do i want to work & study, or just study or maybe you are fed up with studying and want a break. So, get a job in either an accountancy firm or commerciall accounts office ... work it .. see if you like it ... then advance from there.

    It is DEFINATELY worth doing the AAT if you are going into accountancy ... or ... if you are not bored with studying ... accounts degree ....

    So young, so many options ..... good luck, but most important ... be happy. :-))
  • jem88
    jem88 Registered Posts: 13 Regular contributor ⭐ ? ⭐
    I done Alevels before I started AAT. I was lucky and got employment within the Accountancy world, in Practice. I love it and am about to take my final 3 exams! After this I am going to do ACA - which I am exempt from the whole first level because of doing AAT :-D!! If you think you'll enjoy it go for it! I have known this is what I wanted to do since I was 6 years old! I also done work expereience in year 12 at the place I now work at, that ensured me that it was something I really enjoyed!!

  • speegs
    speegs Registered Posts: 854
    AAT would be an excellent place for you to start as they teach you absolutely everything from scratch (including how to use calculator functions - in my case anyway). I would not recommend an A Level as AAT gives you a more practical approach to accountancy.

    Good luck.

    Speegs MAAT
  • rachy1975
    rachy1975 Registered Posts: 366
    i started aat without even knowing what a debit or credit was and double entry?? double dutch more like!!! and no accountancy experience at all...
    i am now completing my final technician level (im in my second year as i did foundation and intermediate fast track) and last exam tomor...just project to do over the summer.

    I found it an excellent qualification and have just completed my first month as a trainee accountant, training to take over from the management accountant when he retires in 3 years.

    So i think it is a very worthwhile qualification, and if you find you have reached your peak at any of the levels you have not wasted time enroling on a 3 or 4 year long course.
  • dancar1
    dancar1 Registered Posts: 6 Regular contributor ⭐ ? ⭐
    Thank you everybody for your comments and concern, I have just got back from enrolling on the course which I will begin in September!

    It is good to know that those with the qualification are very employable, and that I could also use it to progress to an even higher qualification if that's the route I end up wanting to take. In response to a few of the posters, yes I have been in frequent contact with my Careers Advisor at college. We agreed that throwing myself in at the deep end and going to study Accountancy at University is not the way, given I have no previous experience. Maybe some people could get away with that, I don't know, but knowing my luck, I sure as hell wouldn't!

    I really hope this works out, I just need to find an employer now! Should be interesting to see how this turns out... thanks for your encouragement people. I appreciate it.
  • C2XVT
    C2XVT Registered Posts: 62 ? ? ?
    I think you have to take the comments with a pinch of salt to be honest.

    After all, you're asking if the AAT is worth doing on an AAT forum, and I doubt many would admit to making a wrong desicion, if you see what i mean?

    Dont get me wrong, i'm an AAT studier (last exam today w00p w00p) but you really need to look at the bigger picture...

    If you did do a 3 year degree in accounting and finance, and picked the right topics you could be exempt from 9 modules for something like ACCA,

    However, if you did AAT you would be exempt from only 3 modules, and to put this into perspective, it seems people take 2 ACCA modules per term.

    There are loads of pro's and con's, a major benefit of AAT is that you can complete is while you work, which cultures your CV, but if you wanted to be a hotshot accountant at a top firm, they wont touch you with an AAT, its almost degree students only - sad but true!

    - food for thought?
  • dancar1
    dancar1 Registered Posts: 6 Regular contributor ⭐ ? ⭐
    I know what you're saying C2XVT, and yes, a 3 year degree in accounting and finance is probably more appealing in the academic section of your CV.. but I do not have prior experience in Accounting, therefore, I do not believe it is wise to go and study a subject at University which I have little to no knowledge in.
    I have my A-Levels and I'm going to study for the AAT in September. In 2-3 years time if I manage to stay and complete the course, I will have the UCAS points from A-Levels, the UCAS points from AAT and actual, real world practical experience. I will then have the choice (hopefully) of either carrying on towards ACCA or ACA etc... or going to University.

    I want to keep my options open, and I think enrolling on this course today was the best way to do that.

    Thanks for posting!
  • A-Vic
    A-Vic Registered Posts: 6,970
    Sounds to me as you have your head screwed on good for you :) in the meantime try some part-time work in the field (which with your attitude i believe you will find) theres nothing like good old experience to give you a taste of whats to come.

    Good Luck and keep us all informed be nice in a cuple of years to refer back to this thread when your sitting your finals :-)
  • dancar1
    dancar1 Registered Posts: 6 Regular contributor ⭐ ? ⭐
    Thanks A-Vic!

    I'm putting off contacting an actual Accountancy firm in my town until I have a bit of knowledge under my belt from the course, and some sort of relevant experience to put on my CV. I've been called to an interview at my town's Natwest branch, which, while not the "real thing", I think is an okay thing to put on my CV when I do get in touch with the accounting firms in my area.
    I'll let you know how the interview turns out :)
  • Andypandy
    Andypandy Registered Posts: 526
    The top firms WILL consider you - they have special schemes for AAT to ACA fastrack, & when you register with ICAEW you get plenty of emails inviting you to apply, just not through the graduate route.
  • RowanB
    RowanB Registered Posts: 158 ? ? ?
    I'm no expert on this, but I'm guessing you're better off just doing AAT than bothering with an accounting A-Level. I've found that employers seem very biased towards school leavers in terms of offering AAT training apprenticeships, so I'd definitely have a go at applying for some.
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