Planning Ahead...

James PattersonJames Patterson Trusted RegularRegistered Posts: 281
Hi All,

I am currently on an apprenticeship in accountancy and study level 4 AAT (should be completed in 6months).

My career intentions are to go into Private Practice/ Chartered accountancy asap!

I have not gained alot of hands on experience of completing accounting tasks; but i will have 2 years in Finance on my CV.

What would be the best qualification to do following AAT? I had it in my mind that CIMA is what i want to do; but i don't think its best for what i want to do in the long run.

I have heard about ATT also (tax interests me) and obviously ACCA, just need some advise.

Greatly Appreciated!!

Comments

  • Louise89Louise89 Trusted Regular England, UKMAAT Posts: 296
    It really does depend on what route you want to focus on and what job you have. I was always unsure of what I wanted to do as my previous company did not mind, however my current position in my new company is more management style accounting so CIMA was the obvious option for me.

    Of course there are many things to take into consideration, but ACCA/CIMA are pretty much middle ground and are very good chartered qualifications if you do not want to specialise in Audit or Tax. If by any chance you feel that you have made a mistake in your choice, you can switch and gain some exemptions between ACCA and CIMA - others I am not so sure.

    Have a look at each qualification's syllabus, browse the past papers and perhaps talk to people studying different qualifications too; this will give you a better feel for them and give you the background you need to make a more informed choice.

    Good Luck!
  • James PattersonJames Patterson Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 281
    Hi Louise,

    I must admit i am not entirely sure which would be the best for me; i don't know whether ATT is a useful qualification to have over CIMA/ACCA as it specifies in a particular subject.

    I will have to look at papers which is a good idea (thankyou) but i kind of want to know which employers prefer; as due to my age i will have to base my CV on qualifications over little experience unfortunately.
  • SashaDellaSashaDella Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 362
    I to would like to know this, how long do CIMA vs ACCA take and what vaguely do they cover?
  • James PattersonJames Patterson Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 281
    SashaDella wrote: »
    I to would like to know this, how long do CIMA vs ACCA take and what vaguely do they cover?

    As far as i'm aware, CIMA is 2 years (1year exempt due to AAT) and it focuses of the budgeting/ costing side of things so it will deal with forecasting etc.

    With ACCA i'm not sure as i've not really considered it but i believe its looking more at the ledgers/books side of things.
  • SashaDellaSashaDella Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 362
    ACCA takes at least 3 years I think? Not sure why people wouldn't just do both?
  • James PattersonJames Patterson Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 281
    You reckon it would be 2 years, with AAT exempting the first year?

    I Intend to do both i think but with a break in between, got plenty of years ahead of me haha
  • SashaDellaSashaDella Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 362
    You're very lucky to have found the AAT to early! wish i did as well as since leaving school I have wasted a few years haha
  • uknittyuknitty Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 591
    SashaDella wrote: »
    ACCA takes at least 3 years I think? Not sure why people wouldn't just do both?

    Because it costs in the region of £6000 to fund studying a chartered qualification. Oh and the workload is absolutely mega compared to AAT (ICAEW recommend 2 hours per night and 10 hours at weekend)
  • James PattersonJames Patterson Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 281
    SashaDella wrote: »
    You're very lucky to have found the AAT to early! wish i did as well as since leaving school I have wasted a few years haha

    Well Yeah, it doesn't sound great when i tell people i dropped out of sixth form after my first year of A-Levels but i can get AAT qualified and CIMA for example done by 21. Lots of commitment is required haha
  • James PattersonJames Patterson Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 281
    uknitty wrote: »
    Because it costs in the region of £6000 to fund studying a chartered qualification. Oh and the workload is absolutely mega compared to AAT (ICAEW recommend 2 hours per night and 10 hours at weekend)

    But think how employable you will be!! Worth the effort in my opinion :)
  • Rozzi RainbowRozzi Rainbow Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 465
    I must admit i am not entirely sure which would be the best for me; i don't know whether ATT is a useful qualification to have over CIMA/ACCA as it specifies in a particular subject.

    From what I've read on here ATT is very good if you work in a small practice, especially if you want to set up your own practice. Have a look in the Further Studies section of the members forum, there are lots of posts on there from people studying ATT who would be able to give you more details.
    SashaDella wrote: »
    I to would like to know this, how long do CIMA vs ACCA take and what vaguely do they cover?

    I started ACCA in January 2010 and if all goes to plan I hope to be finished by the end of 2014. You can take up to four exams per sitting, but BPP only recommend taking three. I have only ever taken one or two, and would only have attempted three if one had been a resit, I wouldn't have fancied trying to learn three subjects at once. Now that I am onto the Professional level, I only plan on taking one exam at each sitting, unless I need to resit any, as I plan on self studying as far as I am able.

    A lot of what is covered is more relevant to working in a larger organisation than in practice, but I am enjoying learning new things, and my view is that it will all help, especially if I ever apply for a new job outside of practice.
    SashaDella wrote: »
    You're very lucky to have found the AAT to early! wish i did as well as since leaving school I have wasted a few years haha

    Me too! The options given to me when I finished sixth form seemed to be "go to uni and we will give you all the help you need" or "don't go to uni but we won't help you at all". Saying that, I probably wouldn't be in the job I'm in now if I did the AAT earlier, and I did get a lot of life experience and make good friends in my non accountancy job I had when I left school.
  • uknittyuknitty Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 591
    I thought Sasha was suggesting doing both ACCA and CIMA. The time and cost involved with that would be astronomical. But yes, AAT is a fantastic route to chartered.
  • Rozzi RainbowRozzi Rainbow Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 465
    but i kind of want to know which employers prefer; as due to my age i will have to base my CV on qualifications over little experience unfortunately.

    With ACCA you also need experience to supplement the qualification, employers will be just as concerned about that side of things. My boss (a chartered accountant who owns the practice) always says he would much rather have an experienced bookkeeper with no professional accountancy qualifications that someone who has just left uni with an accounting degree but no practical experience, as they probably wouldn't know where to start when a client brings their carrier bag of receipts in!

    Whatever further qualification you decide to do, you should also be focussing on how to build up the relevant work experience alongside it.
  • SashaDellaSashaDella Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 362
    I think once my AAT is done than I won't mind how long the ACCA takes me, I think 4 years is a good time frame! and I couldn't see myself taking 3 exams in one sitting, i would rather take longer and have less re-sits (where possible).

    Im just getting jealous of students who are way ahead of me because they started earlier, and I feel that I want to be ahead of my uni friends! (stupid but true)

    Hopefully when i start the college course rather than distance learning I shall gain even more knowledge about my future opporutnities

    @Rozzi - I felt exactly the same, I had never even been told about the AAT at school or college, it was actually my mum that told me about it! I felt really abandoned at college because I wasn't an aspiring uni student, yet there is so much more out there!! Likewise - I am much wiser from working (in the real world) than I would have ever been if I was just a student! Although feel like im missing out on "student" life at the moment.
  • James PattersonJames Patterson Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 281
    My boss (a chartered accountant who owns the practice) always says he would much rather have an experienced bookkeeper with no professional accountancy qualifications that someone who has just left uni with an accounting degree but no practical experience.

    I can entirely understand this; my intentions are once AAT qualified to leave the council and try to find a small local practice to gain some experience, but its getting that job really (must admit not looked into it greatly).
    The options given to me when I finished sixth form seemed to be "go to uni and we will give you all the help you need" or "don't go to uni but we won't help you at all".

    I wasnt offered any assistance with this and it really was a leap of faith, but throughout my life i am going to promote apprenticeships over University as i 100% it has alot more benefits!!
  • SashaDellaSashaDella Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 362
    James - its worth looking now! you can get a trainee position, the salary may be a set down from what your currently on but its easier to get a job whilst training than after your qualified!

    Trainee jobs just need the motivation and part knowledge
    qualified jobs require experience...

    I wouldn't say that apprenticeships are better over University because many are false adverts for cheap labour.

    i saw an advert for a milkshake mascot apprentice... now thats not really going to get you anywhere!

    however I would promote hard work and study together over uni, and especially the AAT which is a faster route than accounting degree
  • James PattersonJames Patterson Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 281
    SashaDella wrote: »
    James - its worth looking now! you can get a trainee position, the salary may be a set down from what your currently on but its easier to get a job whilst training than after your qualified!

    I find that laughable!! I'm on less than minimum wage at the moment, it would be a step up without a doubt. I am going to apply to all local firms and see if i can get an apprenticeship/ trainee position with them, i was simply waiting to get further in my qualification.
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