Thinking of starting AAT

Dayglow Registered Posts: 4 New contributor ?
Hi, i'm 27 and after growing increasingly frustrated at my current job i've decided to make a change.
My original plan was to do an Access course in science followed by a degree - i'm actually supposed to be enrolling tomorrow.However as it looms closer i'm thinking more and more that I could be wasting 4 years in education, which, even if I come out with a credible degree in the science field may not lead a good job.
I decided to look into studying accountancy, i've always thought i'd be good at it and I like it's vocational qualities.I live in Leeds so there seems to be a few places to choose from but I have a few questions.

I have no background in accounts so should I start at foundation level and if so would this be a 1 year course full-time?

At which point would I look to move into an accounts based job?

Is it possible to reach a high level in accounts without studying to degree level?

Thanks for any help you can offer, I have a difficult decision to make so any advice is most welcome.


  • keane155
    keane155 Registered Posts: 404
    Hi Dayglow! I'd say it is worth starting the AAT. The foundation level is normal studied in a year if you go to college. You don't need any accounts experience and you won't be expected to know any of it. I would probably start looking for an accounts job asap if that's what you want to do. I'm doing level 4 at the moment and am looking for an accounts position so I think the sooner you can start getting experience the better. If you do the AAT then go on to do CIMA or ACCA then you can get into quite high positions without doing a degree.

  • Dayglow
    Dayglow Registered Posts: 4 New contributor ?
    Thanks Emma, I guess it's quite different to what I originally planned especially taking finances into account, I assume there's no assistance for this type of studying?
    Will I be looking at doing 1 level per year if I study full-time?
  • Jay1981
    Jay1981 Registered Posts: 36 ? ? ?
    Hey dayglow.

    You find yourself in my exact position 12 months ago. No experience and hadn't heard of Ledgers and control accounts!
    Foundation is a good place to start, just to bed in your understanding of basic book keeping. I'm just about to start intermediate and have just started to apply for jobs, in hindsight i would of started a lot earlier. So get applying now!
    As for where this can take you? Well, where do you want to get too? I would say that chartered accountancy with the ICAEW (ACA) is probably the hardest to get too with the route you're taking but ACCA and CIMA are definitely achievable. It depends whether you want to work in practise (ACA or ACCA) or industry (CIMA)?

    For me, i ain't even bothering with chartered accountancy. The route i'm taking (i must stress, hopefully!) is to get a job in practise or even volunteer if i have to. Qualify up to level 4 and then ATT (association of taxation technicians) do 3-5 years post (AAT) qualification then hopefully start up my own practise!
    That's the plan!

    Good luck with whatever you choose, you couldn't be starting at a better place in my opinion.
  • Dayglow
    Dayglow Registered Posts: 4 New contributor ?
    Cheers, i'm going to give Kaplan etc a call tomorow and see what's what.Do you happen to know how many hours i'd be looking at per week studying full-time classroom and additional homework and would it be feasible to carry on working part-time?

    Best of luck Jay, sounds like you have a plan.
  • keane155
    keane155 Registered Posts: 404
    I've been doing a level a year at college and have completed foundation and intermediate. The college I attend does evening classes twice a week for 3 hours a night. You are expected to put in the same amount of study time at home but I tend to do more than that, expecially when there are exams coming up. You should be fine to carry on working part time - I work full time and there is enough time to get the work completed.

    I'm not entirely sure about what financial assistance is available, I've been funding myself, but I know a lot of people have been given study support by employers and I think you can get it partly funded as an apprenticeship but I am not sure what the restrictions on this are. Someone else might come along who may be better to advise.

  • A-Vic
    A-Vic Registered Posts: 6,970
    hi dayglow

    i would strongly advise if your considering doing the AAT without any previous knowledge to start the first year you will find then the consecutive years a lot less hard going - i know 3 years seem a long time but with the amount of work to get through it will seem not enough by the end.

    If you can get some work experience at the start all the better but it isnt compusarly (saying that it would be closer to the end of your studies if you wish to obtain MAAT after your name)

    Also am sure if you dont have an NVQ level 3 you will be able to receive funding from the college for tutition all you would have to pay is AAT Fees £74 + 50 (or somewhere around there) admin + Exam Fees and Books - but if you on a small income there may be a learner support fund where you can receive help to cover these costs also just call to student services they will advise you what you may be entitled too.

    All the best with your studies :)
  • PGM
    PGM Registered Posts: 1,954
    I think you'd be best starting at year 1, and possibly do it part time so you can still work.
  • Dayglow
    Dayglow Registered Posts: 4 New contributor ?
    PGM wrote: »
    I think you'd be best starting at year 1, and possibly do it part time so you can still work.

    Does this mean it would take 2 years to complete as i'd be doing it part-time?

  • mge
    mge Registered Posts: 94 ? ? ?
    Each of the three levels of the AAT qualification generally takes about a year to complete. This is based on part-time study - it is not generally studied full-time. Often people will attend college just one day a week, and then do a few extra hours of work at home every week.

    It should therefore be possible to fit AAT around your job. If necessary, you can also study the course via distance learning, with organisations such as Premier Training or Eagle Education.

    If you have no experience of accounting whatsoever, it will be better to start in the first year of AAT. However, if you have a basic knowledge of manual book-keeping and double entry it might be possible to start in the second year.

    The qualification is well respected in the accounting community. However, having this qualification does not make you an accountant - it is a qualification for accounting support staff. In order to become an accountant you will have to study ACA, ACCA or CIMA, which each take several years to complete. With ACCA and CIMA you could go straight into studying these with just basic numeracy and literacy skills, although this is a big commitment. The AAT qualification will give you exemptions from some of the units of these qualifications.

    Even if you fully complete the AAT course, you are by no means guaranteed a job in accounting. There are many people on this forum who are struggling to find accounting work. It's worth starting to apply for accounting jobs straight away, as for many basic accounting/book-keeping jobs you don't really need any qualifications at all.
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