Advice Please!

Kirstytev Registered Posts: 16 Dedicated contributor 🌟 🐡 🌟
I am after a bit of advice, not sure if anyone on here can help me but the AAT have been a bit vague!
I am currently studying level 4 distance learning, and have just one exam to go - Personal Tax which is in 2 weeks.
When I started level 4, I found out I was exempt from one of the optional units so only had to chose one - I chose Personal Tax as I wish to apply for MAAT and eventually start my own practice - self assessment for self employed is a service I wish to offer. Having started the unit, I realised that self employment comes under Business Tax - a unit I am not studying!
My company are paying for my studying (I work as a management accountant) and as the unit would be extra and not really for my work, I cant expect them to pay for me to do Business Tax, and at the minute, I cant afford to pay for it myself.
I asked the AAT for advice and they pointed out that the qualification may not be enough when I apply for MAAT status anyway and that I would need experience too.
I am now a bit stuck as to what to do, obviously I don't get experience in this topic at my current job so I will need to gain some experience somehow elsewhere but I don't know if that will be enough without studying the unit too. I can borrow books on Business Tax so that I am able to study the unit but would this count as CPD or not? I am unsure whether to pay and study the unit and then get some work experience somehow or whether I am able to study it myself without doing the exam and then get some experience too?
Anybody got any suggestions?


  • Rinske
    Rinske Registered Posts: 2,453
    Hi Kirsty,

    You said you work in management accounts, which should be enough for your MAAT status. Whether it will be enough to start as a MIP is different.

    However I would finish level 4 as you are currently doing, then apply for MAAT, using a year's worth of experience in accounts. And then work your way through the business tax and in look for ways of getting the experience you need to start as a MIP. I can't judge whether you got enough experience to start as a MIP with a mentor or you would consider doing something on the side of your current job, but that's something you could look into.
  • anniem
    anniem Registered Posts: 1,326
    There isn't anything to stop you becoming an MIP, you will just need to limit your licence to the aspects you are qualified and experienced in. You can always add other abilities to your licence by taking further exams in other units when you can afford to.

    There is nothing to stop you setting up as an MIP to only do book-keeping and accounts preparation, but you must only undertake work within your capabilities. You could always find a mentor to help you through your early years.

    Knowledge and experience is key, there is no point in having something on your licence if you have no experience in it, you'll only be out of your depth!

    Good luck whatever you decide.
    FMAAT - AAT Licensed Member in Practice - Pewsey, Wiltshire
  • Kirstytev
    Kirstytev Registered Posts: 16 Dedicated contributor 🌟 🐡 🌟
    Hi both

    Thank you for your advice. I think I am going to finish level 4 without adding Business Tax (I am so close to finishing, that adding another exam at this stage just doesn't feel right!!) and then as you have both suggested, look at other ways I can gain knowledge and experience. I think I will just buy the book off ebay and work through it that way, and then maybe offering some free work experience to local accountants?? Once I have finished my AAT, am I able to add optional units on further down the line?
    You have both mentioned mentors - I don't really know what this entails, could you fill me in?

    Thanks again, I was a bit worried I had totally messed up but feel a lot better about it now!
  • SLM
    SLM Registered Posts: 64 πŸ’« 🐯 πŸ’«
    Sorry to perhaps knock you back down again :ohmy: but i have 4 years practice experience and i would say that if you want to set up in practice then I would recommend business tax and personal tax, both are very relevant, very useful and will give you the understanding behind most 'automated' accounts software.

    When I did my AAT studies I completed Business Tax and Personal Tax together as I found they complimented each other.

    I also have books for both these subjects at home and are free to a good home (although I would ask for P&P) if you wanted them - however they are out of date now so tax rates etc would not be accurate.

    I know you mention you are keen to get finished but once you have finished you cannot come back to it, so maybe it is worth that little extra time as once it has gone you wont get the opportunity back :thumbup1:

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
  • Kirstytev
    Kirstytev Registered Posts: 16 Dedicated contributor 🌟 🐡 🌟
    Thank you for your reply, after much consideration, I think you may be right in that I should make the most of the opportunity and take the exam while I can - I wasn't sure if you could take an extra unit once you pass, but I take it from your reply that you can't? Kaplan have said I can just book the exam if I have the books so that will save me some money as I won't have to pay for the full distance learning course. I have been studying, revising and taking exams in 4 week periods, so I am sure and extra 4 weeks won't kill me! (Providing I pass first time!!)
    I will happily take the books off your hands for business tax (I have the books for personal tax) so just pm me your address and amount you want and I will post you a cheque-thanks for that.
    I think I will have enough experience for MAAT status due to my job but as I don't work in practice, I will struggle with experience for MIP status - are local accountants willing to offer work experience do you know?
    Thanks again for your reply
  • clegganator
    clegganator Registered Posts: 184 πŸŽ† 🐘 πŸŽ†
    Just playing devil's advocate but instead of putting yourself through another exam and all the stresses that go with it, why not go MIP without and then do a CPD course on a general tax update or that covers the business tax areas that will be relevant to your clients?
  • SLM
    SLM Registered Posts: 64 πŸ’« 🐯 πŸ’«
    Kirsty based on what you have said then why do you not sit Business Tax along with your Personal Tax exam, in regard to what Clegganator has said above, i would not dismiss this, however I feel that physically doing the exam and study may offer you more. Your AAT studies will then have covered most of the aspects you need for practice - acccounting, business tax and personal tax and you will be in a good alll-round situation. I don't think there is a right or wrong and many will disagree but my opinion is to sit the exam.

    In regard to the work experience I think you will find many accountants do not undertake this due to the confidentiality issue. I am not sure what your current work commitments are but if you are looking for a change then my advice would be to submit your CV to every accountancy firm with the hope of finding some work which will offer you valuable experience.

    Good Luck
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