Unqualified Accountants

PGM
PGM Registered Posts: 1,954
Theres been a couple of thorough debates about what should us AAT'ers call ourselves and then the friction between AAT and the chartered camp, it left me thinking whats peoples views on the unqualifieds?

ie the people with only experience to call themselves accountants, often classed as significant relevant experience to justify the name, and also a decent possition within the field.

Where do they sit relative to AAT, ACCA etc?

Is it ok not to study? Or is it a lack of commitment?

Comments

  • wildgoose1uk
    wildgoose1uk Registered Posts: 200 πŸŽ† 🐘 πŸŽ†
    I think it all depends what you want out of life. In the Accountancy field the term 'unqualified' is, in reality, quite a subjective one as is p/q and qbe.

    To all here I am qualified due to my FMAAT and ACIS but to all who are chartered I am viewed at best at p/q. I was studying ACCA but gave it up as I had a very demanding post at the time and found it impossible to find the time to study. I am 48 and decided I had quite enough letters after my name to satisfy me and that was fine.

    The subjectivity though, extends even in to the chartered realm with some ACA's viewing ACCA and CIMA as inferior qualifications.

    In the marketplace, as a rule of thumb, a chartered qualification will always get you more dosh, and of the chartered qualifications ACA will often command a premium.

    Depending on your ambition have a look at the CEO's of listed companies where you will find many of them have a chartered qualification in Accountancy or are solicitors.

    As for me..... I would be in my mid 50's by the time I completed ACCA and would then be viewed as newly qualified. I decided it wasn't worth the sacrifice for a 10 or 15 year pay off and I am very happy with what I have.

    Soooo... the long and short of it is... yes, it is ok not to study and no... it is not a lack of committment. It al depends on where you want to be and how much money you want to make.
  • bumblebee
    bumblebee Registered Posts: 135 πŸŽ† 🐘 πŸŽ†
    Agree with Wildgoose1uk that it depends what one wants. Taking myself as an example I didnt plan to be an accountant I was brought into it, but glad what I have achieved. I think getting a qualification is important with experience in hand. You get to know and understand more on technical side in depth than just experience especially CPD.

    It also depends what sort of environment a person(unqualified) is working in and the level of supervision. In my case just by completing AAT while working in accountancy practice, I have achieved more knowledge and understanding of what I am doing and that wont have happend otherwise. I would have loved to carry on to ACCA, but had to give up as I wasnt able to put more time towards it, and by the time I completed I would be nearly 50! if i am lucky, and then have to go through the formalities to get full membership...etc etc

    All in all its not just qualification, it also depends how a person puts their knowledge into practice. So it all depends.
  • Londina
    Londina MAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 814
    I think it's time to do a poll or write everybody to the AAT or write to the AAT Magazine and ask them if we are considered accountants or not.
  • Monsoon
    Monsoon FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,071 πŸŽ† 🐘 πŸŽ†
    The main thing that springs to my mind with the qual/unqual debate is this:

    An 'unqualified' accountant might be part qualified chartered and completed 99% of the qualification when life got in the way for whatever reason and they were unable to complete. Are they really unqualified?

    An 'unqualified' accountant might have been an FCA for years, and then resigned his membership because he was fed up with the ICAEW. He still does CPD, holds PII and is a darn good accountant. Is he really unqualified?

    An 'unqualified' accountant might be some guy who knows a bit and cobbles together some accounts and makes a right mess of it. He may have no PII and his tax knowledge is woefully out of date.

    An 'unqualified' accountant might be some guy who knows a lot, and is excellent at what he does. He may have learned 'on the job' years ago and doesn't feel the need to belong to a professional body or take exams to prove what he already knows. He may have no PII but does do CPD.


    All of the above are probably 'unqualified' in terms of practitioners with no letters after their name. They are worlds apart in terms of what they offer and where they stand in the profession.

    Then throw into the mix the qualified chap who has PII, does CPD, but is a rubbish accountant.

    I don't think qual vs unqual is really a great debate to get into, because it's not just about someone who hasn't taken exams.
    Londina wrote: Β»
    I think it's time to do a poll or write everybody to the AAT or write to the AAT Magazine and ask them if we are considered accountants or not.

    Nah. Some of us are accountants (it depends what we do with the qualification, some MAATs aren't). There is a link on the AAT homepage to the MIP directory called "Find Me An Accountant." That says enough to me.
  • deanshepherd
    deanshepherd Registered Posts: 1,809
    To me, an unqualified accountant is one who..

    - doesn't have to pay subscriptions to multiple bodies to keep letters after his name that no-one understands anyway;
    - doesn't have to keep a physical record of every bit of CPD he did, why he did it, what he thought of it and whether he should do some more;
    - doesn't have to pay for an insurance policy that he will never use;
    - doesn't bicker with his colleagues about who has the most letters after their name;

    Hmmm..
  • Monsoon
    Monsoon FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,071 πŸŽ† 🐘 πŸŽ†
    To me, an unqualified accountant is one who..

    - doesn't have to pay subscriptions to multiple bodies to keep letters after his name that no-one understands anyway;
    - doesn't have to keep a physical record of every bit of CPD he did, why he did it, what he thought of it and whether he should do some more;
    - doesn't have to pay for an insurance policy that he will never use;
    - doesn't bicker with his colleagues about who has the most letters after their name;

    Hmmm..

    Where's the 'like' button when you want it?! :thumbup1:
  • bumblebee
    bumblebee Registered Posts: 135 πŸŽ† 🐘 πŸŽ†
    Well said Dean!
  • PGM
    PGM Registered Posts: 1,954
    Thats not going to end up on any AAT brochure! :D
  • bumblebee
    bumblebee Registered Posts: 135 πŸŽ† 🐘 πŸŽ†
    There will be no precise answer

    This debate will be like 1 divide by 3, never ending..

    PGM a qualification is good to have. You have to do what you think is best for you.
  • PGM
    PGM Registered Posts: 1,954
    This debate will be like 1 divide by 3, never ending..

    PGM a qualification is good to have. You have to do what you think is best for you.

    Agreed, I was curious to others thoughts on the issue.

    Sadly, many accountants don't get the recognition they deserve, and often too much is given for a few letters after your name. On the other hand the experience should be "significant relevant expereince" to be really valued.

    And, being dedicated enough to spend a chunk of your life to studying accounts should deffinitely be valued by employers.
  • Bluewednesday
    Bluewednesday Registered Posts: 1,624
    My boss fits into Monsoon's mix, having worked in accounts for 40 years but never taken an exam (when he started qualification wasn't necessary).

    Yesterday we had to give a reference for a client, they then rang up and asked who we were registered with. I explained that though I was a certified accountant the firm wasn't regulated by them. The client then came back to us to say they wouldn't accept our reference because we weren't accountants we were bookkeepers! This was RBS as well!!

    The fact that I pointed out that he could pick all the accountancy firms in Milton Keynes and only find a handful that were certified didn't make any difference.
  • PGM
    PGM Registered Posts: 1,954
    The client then came back to us to say they wouldn't accept our reference because we weren't accountants we were bookkeepers! This was RBS as well!!

    I think you could have replied with a few names RBS should go by rather than bankers...
  • Fingersan
    Fingersan Registered Posts: 84 πŸ’« 🐯 πŸ’«
    I find this topic really interesting as I have been an unqualified accountant for 19 years and in the summer become a MAAT.

    As I have said before, I have worked in practice since leaving school and have gained a wealth of experience. Whilst my clients never asked if I was qualified or unqualified, I would still consider myself to be an accountant. (Certainly over the last 10 years or so).

    Now that I have MAAT, my employer, a Chartered Accountant, wants me to use the letters after my name on letters, emails etc, as she considers this to make me a qualified accountant and that I should be proud of my achievement, which I am.

    I have absolutely no qualms at all about calling myself an accountant.

    As Monsoon has explained on this and other threads, qualified / unqualified does not equal good / bad.
  • moneymotivated
    moneymotivated Registered Posts: 35 πŸ’« 🐯 πŸ’«
    My version of a 'qualified' accountant is simply someone who has the necessary skills and experience needed to tackle all areas in accountancy.

    An 'unqualified' accountant in my opinion is:

    -A book-keeper: role is to maintain the financial records and perform basic reconciliations. They are not expected to know everything, tax plan, put in provisions, accruals/prepays etc.

    -A newly employed trainee with no experience

    We have a lady in our office who has never sat an exam, but has 35 years accountancy experience behind her and is without doubt one of our top 'qualified' accountants IMO.

    We also have a young lad (28) who finished his ACA exams a year a go after studying for them for 5 years (kept failing papers). Without beating about the bush he is absolutely useless.

    But if we were being official he is qualified and she isn't.

    If they both went for a job interview who would get the job???

    On as seperate note...

    I finished my AAT and have gone on to do the ACA exams and the vibe around my college from students and tutors alike is that of complete snobbery. As far as they are concerned ACA is the best, and any other qualification is inferior and pitiful.

    If you are not ACA qualified you are not an accountant in their eyes!

    Almost makes me embarrassed to be associated with them!
  • burg
    burg Moderator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,441
    Mark Lee wrote an interesting peice on the 'qualified V unqualified' debate a while back.

    see here http://www.bookmarklee.co.uk/2010/10/14/protecting-the-title-accountant-would-be-counter-productive/

    The gist of it was along the lines that the public usually want someone to offer tax advice and fill out tax returns and most don't care too much about accounts more the tax implications of the accounts.
    If the term 'accountant' became protected to stop 'unqualifieds' using the term they would simply use something along the lines of 'Tax Advisor' and lets face it with the public having the choice of accountant or tax advisor who might they choose?

    I think that qualified V unqualified has it's flaws as pointed out by Jenni and that we should just concentrate on our own professional qualification.

    As far as I am concerned we are accountants as that is what we do. Inside the profession there is often the view that CCAB qualifications are better which they may well be seeing as we only get part exemption from most. Outside of the profession I believe there is an age old view with some people that you must use a chartered accountant but for most they really don't mind and don't understand the difference.
    Regards,

    Burg
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