ICAS Project

AshleyD Registered Posts: 9 Regular contributor ⭐
I'm really hating this so far. I've just started writing the Analysis section and I kind of know what to write about(I'm using the Cookridge Carpets case study so there's plenty to go on), but I'm not really confident about putting it into words and exactly what type of thing I should be including or what I should be leaving out.
Do the AAT provide any examples of how things should be worded? Just a single paragraph from each section of the kind of thing they're looking for would be an immense help. I did try looking on the website but, well, we've all tried to use the website....
I'd much rather get it done right the first time and only have to make minor changes, than have to re-write most of it because I had no idea what the finished product should look like.
I feel a little like someone who has never seen a house, but has been given a load of bricks and mortar and told to build one, with the only instruction that it must include an en suite and a downstairs toilet.


  • anniebabe
    anniebabe Registered Posts: 595 Epic contributor 🐘
    Hi Ashley
    Have you thought about getting a book to help you? - Osborne and BPP do one - so I am sure Kaplan will too.
    I havent started this unit yet - but I was under the impression that college gave guidance on how to get started and set things out.
    Are you doing home study?
  • AshleyD
    AshleyD Registered Posts: 9 Regular contributor ⭐

    Thanks for replying.
    I've got the Kaplan book but it's not really much help at the minute,in fact some parts of it seem to be far beyond the scope of what's required, but I imagine that it will be of use later. It does also say of the analysis section that it's "not a description" of the current system, then begins the very next sentence with "Here you describe" which confuses me.
    My college gave some very basic information (the names of each section and a very brief overview of the type of thing they should contain) as well as going into some depth about cost-benefit analysis and fraud, but didn't really say much about actually writing the report. I know it has to be in business english, that the paragraphs must be numbered, and some stuff about page headings and margins.
    I've got until the middle of December to do it but I'd rather it was done much sooner.
    Oh, and it's worth noting that you have 4 months to do the project. Our college told us we had 3 months, and also didn't know they had to activate the project on the AAT website before we could download it so we lost another week.
  • Chelle
    Chelle Registered Posts: 163 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    Hi Ashley

    I haven't started my project yet but will be doing the cast study too.

    I am apprehensive about it all as there's alot to be taken into consideration about what's to be going into the outlay of the whole project but so far, the college I attend, has given us some great guidelines and support as to what is expected.

    We have also seen some examples which really helped.
  • gaffa_02
    gaffa_02 Registered Posts: 9 New contributor 🐸
    Hi, i've just passed my ICAS project and for the analysis part i drew up a SWOT analysis and used this to mention the Strengths and weaknesses of the business, i also went into detail about each point mentioning the effect of the strength/weakness. For example the lack of training caused the wages to be calculated incorrectly.

    Remember to mention some sort of fraud risk and to also include the SWOT in your appendices.
  • Miffy3QE
    Miffy3QE Registered Posts: 25 Regular contributor ⭐
    ICAS project help......

    ......I was like you, very overwhelmed and clueless on how to tackle this.
    Then I remembered the rest of the AAT Technician Course, and what it is we're learning to do.

    AUDIT part of the course helped me a lot, as I realised there is a certain way to produce these reports.

    MAPPING DOCUMENT is the key to ensure your content is correct. I realised the error of my ways by NOT starting with this, so I had to delete about 1500 words which were not relevant to the learning outcomes expected to be shown. Remember, this document has to cross reference exact paragraphs of your project to make sure all learning outcomes are supported.

    Finally, I concentrated on the issues in Cookridge Carpets which were closest to my job role and kept well within my comfort zone. I applied my workplace security systems, levels of clearance, IT policies and audit policies along with the training aspect applied to personnel and wrote with confidence about how changing a small part of the business (The Accounting Team) would have benefits which are felt company-wide!
  • JohnC
    JohnC Registered Posts: 12 Regular contributor ⭐
    Just uploaded my project for 2nd time
  • AshleyD
    AshleyD Registered Posts: 9 Regular contributor ⭐
    Thanks for all the replies.
    When I heard about there being a 4,000 word project to do I really wanted to do it first to get it out of the way, but my college has left it right until the end. We're doing business tax and the project together, but fingers crossed the project will be done within the next 2 weeks and we'll all be able to concentrate on the tax assessment.
    Once I managed to get an idea of how to write the Analysis section (the layout more than anything) the rest of it was very easy. I decided to make about 5 main points then give some evidence to back them up. When I went into college my tutor just said to do it in whatever way feels the most natural which was a relief as I wasn't sure if the AAT were looking for anything in particular.
    My Introduction is done but may need another line or two added.
    The Recommendations section just seems to flow naturally from the analysis section so that was done within the space of about 3 hours. I haven't done the cost-benefit analysis yet but I'm actually looking forward to that as it'll give me a chance to look into pricings and things in more detail. I'm considering doing one for every improvement I've suggested then just including the one I fnd most interesting in the final report.
    I've still got the Implementation & Review section to write but I have covered a great deal of it in the Recommendations section already.
    I'm now about to go back and add in bits to cover all of the areas I've not covered.
    In retrospect it would have helped if I'd actually read the questions and gone through answering the various little things they ask instead of just jumping in and writing a report analysing the weaknesses and making recommendations for improvements. There's still going to be a couple of points that won't fit into the natural flow of the report but I'll crowbar them in somewhere.
    As Miffy3QE said, the Audit part of the course may have been very handy in writing the report, but we instead covered Credit Management and Control (very easy) and Business Tax (great for me as tax was something I was looking into specialising in).
  • adiba
    adiba Registered Posts: 53 Epic contributor 🐘
    hey guys

    I'm working on this project at the moment as well, just received my project plan back with feedback from Kaplan so am now in the process of doing my first draft.
    Miffy3QE, just wanted to ask a quick question? You mentioned that you based your report around the accounting team and how making certain changes to this department would benefit the whole company, that is along the lines of what I was also thinking of basing my report on but I was worried that it might end up being too wide a topic really, how did you manage it?
  • anniebabe
    anniebabe Registered Posts: 595 Epic contributor 🐘
    Hi Guys
    I start a AAT Case Study after Christmas - but have just been reading the Osborne Tutorial for ICAS - it says something about needing a mentor even if you are not working - or they recommend a work placement? is this correct?
  • vickster
    vickster Registered Posts: 4 New contributor 🐸

    I have just started my project based on Cookridge Carpets, really struggling with it, don't know where to start. HELP!!!!

  • HadynB
    HadynB Registered Posts: 38 Regular contributor ⭐
    Doing a SWOT analysis as you read through the pack is the best way to start, and I split my SWOT into the different accounting operations to make it easier to refer to in the main body.
    Then simply give a short paragraph on what you doing, how you doing it and then an intro on the company which will then flow naturally into reviewing the business and its weaknesses.
    I'm doing Cookridge too, but the lack of detail they give puts a stumbling block in as I wanted to do a CBA on a new accounting system which would incorporate the management of their accounts paid on finance (if anyone knows of one please let me know as I've emailed lots of big and small software companies and they are ignoring me). What did others do the CBA on - I'm guessing training costs and the benefits of a multi-functional accounting team??
    I've listed all the weaknesses and made recommendations but am already at 4500 words so thinks me is going to have to get rid of some.
  • AshleyD
    AshleyD Registered Posts: 9 Regular contributor ⭐
    I've nearly finished this now, but I can really see why some people start the project and never finish.
    I would have been finished weeks ago but some of the marking criteria is just terrible. It's asking you to write about some things already covered in other assessments or that don't readily fit into the report, and that they couldn't even find a way of fitting into the question. They seem a bit wishy-washy(a quote from someone who did the project a few years ago who says that this years one does seem to have a lot more wishy washy bits to cover than the one they did) and open to interpretation as well. I don't really understand what I'm meant to write to cover "Explain how the accounting systems are affected by the organisational structure, systems, procedures and business transactions", and you could write a book trying to satisfy "Identify the external regulations that affect accounting practice".
    The Kaplan book seems to be a bit of a waste of paper. It seems to write in great detail about the bits I already understood how to answer and doesn't really cover at all the parts where I just don't really understand what I'm being asked(or rather not asked as it's the bits that aren't in the question at all but that are in the assessment criteria that I'm struggling with).

    As for starting on the project, I'd go through the materials and make notes of all the mistakes or areas in need of improvement. You should easily be able to get 20. Next, pick out a few that will cover the parts highlighted in the questions (record keeping, internal control, fraud, working methods, training), jot them down and say how they affect the business. I used a heading/evidence/effect format. That's your analysis section done.
    Now, think about what you can do to fix these problems, and how implementing these fixes will affect staff and improve the organisation. That's your recommendation section.
    Finally, write about how you will make the changes and how/when you will review if they have been successful. That's your implementation and review section finished.
    Now you just need to sit down, cursing the name of AAT, while you try to work out how to deal with the parts of the assessment criteria that they couldn't even find a way to fit into the question but you somehow need to incorporate into your answer.
  • Nia
    Nia Registered Posts: 72 Regular contributor ⭐
    Have to say, I enjoyed doing this. I used Cookridge Carpets, as I don't currently work (looking to go back to work after being at home with kids).

    I downloaded the scenario at the beginning of October and submitted draft 1 about a week ago, it's been marked and I just needed to add a couple of extra little bits, which took me about 15 minutes, so all done and dusted now hopefully.

    I'm not sure I can add much to what others have already said in terms of how you start, but keep at it and it will start to flow and you'll be done in no time.
  • vickster
    vickster Registered Posts: 4 New contributor 🐸
    Thanks everyone for your replies.

    I am seriously considering giving up the course as finding it hard to keep up with everything as work full time and have children. I have BTX exam in a few weeks and trying to revise for that as well as trying to start my project is getting too much. I have started introduction but that's it. Just don't know what to do :(
  • JohnC
    JohnC Registered Posts: 12 Regular contributor ⭐
    vickster wrote: »
    Thanks everyone for your replies.

    I am seriously considering giving up the course as finding it hard to keep up with everything as work full time and have children. I have BTX exam in a few weeks and trying to revise for that as well as trying to start my project is getting too much. I have started introduction but that's it. Just don't know what to do :(

    Don't give up on the course, as for the project read through the mapping document that you need to add it to your project it gives you all the requirements that are needed for you to pass. What I did was to read through the scenario a few times highlighting some of the obvious points like the lack of security, the petty cash issue. the loss of a £5000 roll of carpet, the credit control, no networking of the IT systems, no dedicated accounts software. The list is endless. BUT do read the mapping document and cover all the requirements.

  • freck59
    freck59 Registered Posts: 39 Regular contributor ⭐
    Vickster - I feel your pain!

    I work full time Monday to Friday, weekends for social services - very emotionally draining, I'm a single parent to an 13 year old with a diary like a royal, my mum has dementia and sometimes I feel like throwing in the towel and saying its too much I can't do it. But then I just know that I'll really regret it.

    My problem is looking at the whole thing and thinking - its too much so I'm going to attack it once I've got my Financial Performance exam out of the way on 9th December by reading the mapping document and just typing random words that will fit that - then I'll flesh it out. It may not be everyone's way of working but its the only way I can contemplate it!

    At school many years ago one inspiring teacher said - "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time... " I guess thats what I'm trying to say :D

    Good luck!
  • Bluewednesday
    Bluewednesday Registered Posts: 1,624 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
    freck59 wrote: »
    "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time... "

    What a fantastic saying!! I love that!
  • vickster
    vickster Registered Posts: 4 New contributor 🐸
    Thank you to all of you for your kind words

    I have decided to concentrate on my BTX exam, once that is out of the way I will knuckle down and start my project. I am determined not to give up. Thanks for all your support :)
  • basil
    basil Registered Posts: 33 Regular contributor ⭐
    HI, can somebody please help me? I am a distance learning student, therefore don`t go to classes. I am not sure how can i choose my topic? I would like to write the project about my workplace. Somebody please advise, thanks
  • uknitty
    uknitty Registered Posts: 591 Epic contributor 🐘
    Who do you study with ? I'm with Premier Training and their ICAS tutor has been very helpful in providing guidance to get me started on my project.

    From personal choice I have elected to do a case study, but if you would like to do a work based project your tutor should be able to get you started.

    You can write on almost anything - pick something that you find interesting and genuinely want to investigate and learn more about because it will be easier to stay motivated.
  • basil
    basil Registered Posts: 33 Regular contributor ⭐

    Many thanks for your answer. I am with Kaplan, I think I am going to drop an email to my tutor (don`t even know the name :) ) Will see what happens...
    Thanks for your help again.
  • AAT Level 3
    AAT Level 3 Registered Posts: 75 Epic contributor 🐘
    I guess I'm not the only person who feels that deciding a topic and coming up with a plan is the hardest part of this and once you have done that you are on your way.
  • guinea pig
    guinea pig Registered Posts: 402 Dedicated contributor 🦉
    why not do the AAT case study? although I work in a finance office, a colleague one year ahead on AAT, advised me strongly to do the case study rather than a project on an area in our office, and it was fine. I think it is easier to be objective with a case study, and there will be definate issues that the answer is looking for.
    Good luck whatever you decide.
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