ACCA after Level 4?

alvarez140
alvarez140 Registered Posts: 16 Dedicated contributor ? ? ?
I just started my AAT Level 4 course however I don't know if I should study ACCA or for a Degree? which one is better and easier? I am a single mother with 2 kids so it is difficult to study but I would like to do something after level 4 that is not too long and hard.

I have also seen than ACCA classes are only 1 evening per week! that's not much...... Are there any places that do at least 2 evenings per week?

Your help will be much appreciated.
Many thanks,
Diana :-)
«1

Comments

  • aaron0121
    aaron0121 Registered Posts: 422
    Hi Diana,

    Welcome to the aat forum :)

    I would definitely not recommend doing a degree on top of AAT level 4, as level 4 is equivalent to a first year
    of degree level however this is all you need in order to do ACCA/CIMA. If you want to you can go onto a degree
    after level 4 https://services.aat.org.uk/content/item2645/, I don't really see any advantages unless you want
    the uni debt :lol:
    ACCA is a chartered qualification so it's hard but you can study at your own pace and theres two slots for the
    ACCA exams June and December - unlike AAT were you can sit whenever you please.
    With AAT under your belt you can also get exemptions from ACCA papers (f1,f2,f3), so you can go straight
    onto f4. Even 1 evening per week isn't too bad as you will getting help from tutors and also help/advice from
    other class mates etc...

    Good luck with what ever you decide,

    Aaron
    AAT

    Level 2 - 2010
    Level 3 - 2011
    Level 4 - 2013

    ACCA

    F4 - 2015
    F5 - 2015
  • alvarez140
    alvarez140 Registered Posts: 16 Dedicated contributor ? ? ?
    Hi Aaron,
    thank you for your reply.
    YOu are not the first person who says that is better to study for the ACCA. I think I will not do a degree and rather study towards the ACCA papers. It is not good that they only do 2 slots for the exams!!!!!!
    Have you done ACCA?
  • aaron0121
    aaron0121 Registered Posts: 422
    No not yet, but definitely going to start next year maybe January if I find work in practise.

    I'm 100% not going to start ACCA until I have at least some experience of working in a practise.
    AAT

    Level 2 - 2010
    Level 3 - 2011
    Level 4 - 2013

    ACCA

    F4 - 2015
    F5 - 2015
  • Folander
    Folander Registered Posts: 50 ? ? ?
    I agree with Aaron, no need to do a degree, go for ACCA, it's a professional qualification that employers will recognise and prefer over a degree. ACCA is hard work to be honest, everything after level 4 is going to be long and hard because you are reaching the peak of Accounting knowledge. It is expensive too, about 1k an exam if you go to a college to learn. But you don't need to go to college, you can self study which makes it much cheaper. Or find a job where they will sponsor you.

    It is true you only have 1 class a week for 8 or 10 weeks but then unlike AAT you are expected to do a lot of studying on your own, classes just go over the main bits, there would be a lot of studying to do, at least double what you are used to with AAT.

    Aaron - Why are you waiting until you are in practice until you study ACCA? If you are in practice then ACA coule be an option too? There is an AAT-ACA fast track process.
  • aaron0121
    aaron0121 Registered Posts: 422
    Hi Folander,

    I always thought that ACCA is more geared towards working in a practise which I want to do, so I think it's best
    to have some experience of working in practise before doing ACCA just to be on the safe side. As I have no
    actual experience working in accounts, ACCA will have to wait :)
    I'm really regretting not applying for apprentice jobs when I left school, now I can't really progress without
    experience.
    AAT

    Level 2 - 2010
    Level 3 - 2011
    Level 4 - 2013

    ACCA

    F4 - 2015
    F5 - 2015
  • Tracyevans14
    Tracyevans14 Registered Posts: 35 ? ? ?
    Aaron,

    Aca is governed by icaew and for the advanced stage you need a training contract but you can't progress to the advanced without a training contract
  • aaron0121
    aaron0121 Registered Posts: 422
    Evening Tracy,

    tbh haven't really looked into doing ACA, I'm set on doing ACCA but theres no harm in doing some research
    on ACA. I know for ACCA - you need at least three years work experience in accounts to become professional
    member.
    AAT

    Level 2 - 2010
    Level 3 - 2011
    Level 4 - 2013

    ACCA

    F4 - 2015
    F5 - 2015
  • Folander
    Folander Registered Posts: 50 ? ? ?
    Hi Aaron,

    You don't need to be in practice to study ACCA, you can study while working in business too. In the Finance dept. that I work in out of the eight of us in the team I am the only one studying CIMA, the rest are studying or qualified ACCA. So I don't you should narrow your search to just working in practice unless you have your heart set on working in a practice.

    I think you should start studying ACCA as soon as you can while your AAT knowledge is still relatively fresh. You will have to do 11 or 12 exams and providing you pass all first time it will take 3 years, if you start now and pass a couple of exams before you get an accounting job then you will have plenty of time once you have passed your final exam to get the experience and in that time you could be an affilate rather than a member, not such a big deal when you have done all the hard work and passed your exams.

    ACA is something to think about if you do get a job in practice, But Tracy is right you will need a training contract.

    Good luck with whatever you do if you do start ACCA I know some good websites that provide free materal for ACCA.

    Folander
  • aaron0121
    aaron0121 Registered Posts: 422
    Thanks for the advice Folander.

    It's something to think about starting ACCA in January, as you say with the knowledge from AAT still fresh in my
    mind. So hopefully by then should have at least a couple of months working in accounts even if it's not in practise.
    I still don't think it's a good option starting a professional qualification without any work experience because
    nothing is guaranteed in the working world, even if I start ACCA in January without experience - I may still
    struggle to find experience even after sitting a few of the exams. Then I won't focus 100% on ACCA, as I will still
    be worrying about finding the work experience for AAT and ACCA (lets not forget MAAT) So I think it's best to
    have a solid platform in place before doing a professional qualification.

    I've always thought that you needed to be working in practise to do ACCA, so it's good to know that you don't
    need to be in practise for ACCA.

    Thanks once again, really appreciate it :)

    Aaron
    AAT

    Level 2 - 2010
    Level 3 - 2011
    Level 4 - 2013

    ACCA

    F4 - 2015
    F5 - 2015
  • Folander
    Folander Registered Posts: 50 ? ? ?
    No worries Aaron, at the end of the day do what you feel comfortable doing. I presume it's pointless telling you about the benefits of CIMA???!!!

    I am currently studying and to be honest obsessed with CIMA and to a lesser extent ACCA so please feel free to ask any questions about them, that includes any AAT stuff too of of course. If you have recently qualified then I highly recommend the graduation ceremony, it's brilliant and surprisingly something that CIMA/ACCA don't do.
  • aaron0121
    aaron0121 Registered Posts: 422
    CIMA I believe is more geared towards working in management accounts which i assume is about drafting reports,
    cost accounting, a bit like the modules in AAT level 4 Financial Performance and budgeting perhaps?
    It would be nice to hear the benefits of course :)
    The AAT awards ceremony will have to wait a couple of years, maybe I can aim for the ceremony in 2014.
    AAT

    Level 2 - 2010
    Level 3 - 2011
    Level 4 - 2013

    ACCA

    F4 - 2015
    F5 - 2015
  • alvarez140
    alvarez140 Registered Posts: 16 Dedicated contributor ? ? ?
    I am like AAron that don't have accounting experience as I am currently working as receptionist, however after I finish my level 4, I am planning to study ACCA.

    Do you think it will be easier to get an accounting job after level 4? or maybe when you put on your CV that you are studying ACCA?

    It is a pain getting a job without experience and I can't afford to work voluntary as I am a single mum with 2 little kids!

    Diana :-)
    Folander wrote: »
    Hi Aaron,

    You don't need to be in practice to study ACCA, you can study while working in business too. In the Finance dept. that I work in out of the eight of us in the team I am the only one studying CIMA, the rest are studying or qualified ACCA. So I don't you should narrow your search to just working in practice unless you have your heart set on working in a practice.

    I think you should start studying ACCA as soon as you can while your AAT knowledge is still relatively fresh. You will have to do 11 or 12 exams and providing you pass all first time it will take 3 years, if you start now and pass a couple of exams before you get an accounting job then you will have plenty of time once you have passed your final exam to get the experience and in that time you could be an affilate rather than a member, not such a big deal when you have done all the hard work and passed your exams.

    ACA is something to think about if you do get a job in practice, But Tracy is right you will need a training contract.

    Good luck with whatever you do if you do start ACCA I know some good websites that provide free materal for ACCA.

    Folander
  • SashaDella
    SashaDella Registered Posts: 362
    What sort of job roles come from the different qualifications ie

    ACCA, CIMA, ICAEW, CIPFA?

    Its hard to say which one I would choose :/ Shame you can't merge them into one! LOL
  • Evie
    Evie Banned User Posts: 14 Regular contributor ⭐ ? ⭐
    Hi I would like to do ACCA after AAT. I think you need to do ACCA even if you have a degree to be an auditor, which eventually i would like to be. So you may as well do ACCA, as you get exemptions with the AAT anyway.
  • Jo Clark
    Jo Clark Registered Posts: 2,525
    Evie wrote: »
    Hi I would like to do ACCA after AAT. I think you need to do ACCA even if you have a degree to be an auditor, which eventually i would like to be. So you may as well do ACCA, as you get exemptions with the AAT anyway.

    You can also apply for exemptions from the certificate level of CIMA.
    ~ An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest ~
    Benjamin Franklin
  • Folander
    Folander Registered Posts: 50 ? ? ?
    Yes Aaron you're right, CIMA is more budgeting and performance, Audit and tax are not really covered that much. Let ACCA accountants tell you 2+2 is 4 and CIMA accountants will tell you why it is 4 and what it will be next year! But I am biased of course as I am studying CIMA.

    Alvarez - yes it will be easier but still very difficult if you know what I mean? Could you ask to help with some accounting work while you work as a receptionist? Getting experience is tricky but keep your eye out for jobs and something will turn up maybe go for any role that gives you an 'in' into a finance dept like AP or AR then you can move up. Employers will be impressed that you are studying ACCA on your own without support and that could sway them into giving you a job.

    Sasha, those qualifications all very similar but have different specialities, ICAEW is practice based learning only, ACCA is all round, CIMA is business minded and CIPFA is for public accounting, like working for the council. The more popular ones for AAT students are ACCA & CIMA. I think someone on the forum put it very succinctly, in level 4 if you like Financial Statements and Tax you'll like ACCA, if you like Budgeting and Financial Performance you'll like CIMA.

    There!
  • vickie88
    vickie88 Registered Posts: 58 ? ? ?
    I have nearly finished my AAT and i was thinking of doing ACCA as don't think I would like CIMA and my tutor said to me it would be my worst nightmare as i hated financial performance i didn't mind budgeting though.

    The only thing that puts me off is the cost it is very expensive =(
  • aaron0121
    aaron0121 Registered Posts: 422
    After months and months of sending Cvs and covering letters to various accounting practises, finally
    success at last!!!!!!!! One accounting firm has finally gotten back in touch with me and have arranged
    an interview for next week, I will be so so happy to get the job.
    ACCA can still happen for me next year!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    AAT

    Level 2 - 2010
    Level 3 - 2011
    Level 4 - 2013

    ACCA

    F4 - 2015
    F5 - 2015
  • SashaDella
    SashaDella Registered Posts: 362
    Fingers crossed Aaron!!!!
  • Folander
    Folander Registered Posts: 50 ? ? ?
    Good luck Aaron. Mention recs as much as possible and your desire to stay and learn within a company.
  • stevef
    stevef Registered Posts: 258 ? ? ?
    Just needed to add my twopenneth into this string.

    One of the earlier posts stated that ACCA do not have graduation ceremonies: this is true as passing the exams is only part of the success story. The real goal is gaining membership, in recognition of this ACCA do hold, on a regional basis, New member events for those who have attained this status in the last 12 months. As part of my role as a Panel member it is one of my priviliges to get invited each year to the Wales new member event, this Thursday in Cardiff in fact. Really looking forward to it.

    Lots of degree vs professional exams comments in the string, but you need to remember that the entry exams for a CCAB body are at a higher level than a bachelor degree, roughly around Masters level these days.

    Glad to see it pointed out that you do not need to be in practise to be a member of ACCA, there are a hugely significant number of us that have never worked, and never intend to work in practise.

    Because of the wide requirements of its members ACCA has a very broad syllabus. While as pointed out, it does contain large elements of financial reporting, auditing and tax, it also contains significant chunks of economics, forecasting and financial analysis.
  • Spamkebab
    Spamkebab Registered Posts: 233 ? ? ?
    "Lots of degree vs professional exams comments in the string, but you need to remember that the entry exams for a CCAB body are at a higher level than a bachelor degree, roughly around Masters level these days."

    I can't figure out, at which level AAT lvl 4 is equivalent to. After reading various sites and Wiki postings i am still at a loss. I was also under the impression that you could start ACCA from scratch with no prior relevant qualifications, if this is true then i feel i may have wasted time studying AAT instead of starting ACCA or CIMA 18 months ago.
  • aaron0121
    aaron0121 Registered Posts: 422
    Hi Spamkebab,

    My impression is that AAT level 4 is equivalent to a first year of a degree in accountancy, so if you was
    to go onto a degree at uni you can go straight onto the second year.

    I've just checked the ACCA website and came across this link http://www.accaglobal.com/en/qualifications/glance.html, so the entry requirements are 'Three GCSEs and two A Levels in five separate subjects including maths and
    English or their equivalent.'
    AAT

    Level 2 - 2010
    Level 3 - 2011
    Level 4 - 2013

    ACCA

    F4 - 2015
    F5 - 2015
  • Spamkebab
    Spamkebab Registered Posts: 233 ? ? ?
    Hi Aaron, thanks for that link.

    I actually spent 1 year at college gaining computerised and manual certs for levels 1 and 2, then 5 months on level 3 AAT and another 12 months doing level 4 AAT. I could have started ACCA at foundation level and completed that within 12 months which means that i could be part way through Managerial level ACCA by now. I'm sure that would look better on a CV than AAT qualified. Taking AAT to gain exemptions from a chartered qual. doesn't seem like a short cut for anyone wanting to go down that route. I only hope the AAT qual. helps me gain employment.

    Cheers,

    Neil
  • stevef
    stevef Registered Posts: 258 ? ? ?
    Doing AAt before going on to one of the CCAB bodies is definitely not a short cut but also does not overly prolong the process. As stated, the minimum entry requirements for ACCA is 5 GCSE passes, two of which must be at A level and must includea maths and English (or equivalents).

    But coming into ACCA with the minimum requirements, unless you are a high flying super human is fairly tricky. many ACCA students have already done some studies beyond the minimum requirements to help ease their way in. So many new ACCA students will already hold degrees or have done some Accountancy studies such as AAT or CAT.

    The advantages of doing AAT before moving on to ACCA include:

    Warms you into the professional requirements;

    Gives a good sound technical knowledge before being hurtled in to some of the more complex theoretical matters that ACCA will take you to, AAT gives an excellent foundation to work from;

    Provides a part way resting stage, By completing and joininig AAT you become a member of a professional accounting body much sooner than you would going straight into ACCA. It gives a success so that if you decide that you have had enough of studying, you are still a qualified Accounting Technician. If you pass everything first time, ater 2 to 3 years you could be an AAT member, going straight to ACCA, after 4 years, you are still a student struggling to cross the final hurdles.

    Many millenia ago I studied for and became an AAT member, and after taking stock of where I was and where did I want to be, I took on ACCA and eventually got there. I am glad I did it that way, as having AAT under my belt was good reassurance of my ability and technical knowledge. It gave me a good grounding and took some of the ACCA pressure off (what if I can't finish, I'll have nothing pressure). Unless you are a super human high flyer that is going to smoothly sail through all the exams without a hitch (which I am not), I would always recommend the AAT, take stock, move to a CCAB if that is where you want to go.

    ACCA is hard, it is a long struggle, which for most will contain some failures on route. I think this is part of the charater test of ACCA students - do you have the stamina, do you have enough resillience to shrug of stumbles and move on. It is all worth it in the end, if that is your final goal.

    For those questiong which accountancy body for which role, just to muddy the waters I am AAT/ACCA qualified and work in the public sector. CIPFA is the specialist public sector accountancy body, but there are probably as many ACCA accountants in the public sector as there are CIPFA ones these days, especially as public sector accounts look more and more like company accounts..
  • Spamkebab
    Spamkebab Registered Posts: 233 ? ? ?
    Thank you for that reply Steve.

    I find myself questioning my approach sometimes, i do not work in finance or accounts and often wonder if AAT was the right choice. As you say my initial feeling was that of "at least i will hold a full professional qualification if i don't/can't continue further"

    I feel i have gained a real in-depth knowledge from the modules i have passed so far but must reign myself in from wishing my life away. Studying is non-stop and seems to take forever. I must change my attitude to "studying does last forever, crack on" After all, even upon completion of a chartered qual. there is still CPD, new laws and IAS/FRSs, etc. to keep up to date with.

    I suppose i am not alone in having "doubtful Thomas" days.

    Cheers,

    Neil.
    MohsenAhmed123
  • j1994
    j1994 Registered Posts: 106
    Where can I apply for acca and get a loan ?
  • Gibby
    Gibby Registered Posts: 9

    I just started my AAT Level 4 course however I don't know if I should study ACCA or for a Degree? which one is better and easier? I am a single mother with 2 kids so it is difficult to study but I would like to do something after level 4 that is not too long and hard.



    I have also seen than ACCA classes are only 1 evening per week! that's not much...... Are there any places that do at least 2 evenings per week?



    Your help will be much appreciated.

    Many thanks,

    Diana :-)

    Firstly let me confess I am masquerading here as I am not a member of AAT but I have found it very useful for bookkeeping.

    I would say degree or AAT. The fact that you have chosen AAT means a degree is not necessary.

    I believe your next step should be either ACA, ACCA or CIMA

    I started off doing ACA but hated it as too theoretical for having been theoried to death at university I wanted something a bit different and CIMA was much more case study which suited me better but that is me and suited my style but I would not say it was for everyone but I do not regret my decision though it has limited me. A friend of mine who is CIMA is have to convert now to ACCA as she works in practice so that is a big thing to think about..

    I have friends who studied ACA and have never looked back. Another friend of mine is a CFO and ACCA and I know a part qual with AAT who is now an FD so I think you can get to the same place no matter which route you take. I also have another friend who started CIMA but got bored and in hindsight maybe ACCA would have been a better option for him as he is very academic.

    I would say choose an institute whose syllabus suits your style of learning. I would not knock a degree as I have one but definitely before professional studies for me.

    I am currently working with a number of startups hence why I am needing knowledge which CIMA did not cover such as basic policies and procedures. These are essential in startups.

    Good luck

    M
  • Gibby
    Gibby Registered Posts: 9
    Spamkebab said:

    Thank you for that reply Steve.



    I find myself questioning my approach sometimes, i do not work in finance or accounts and often wonder if AAT was the right choice. As you say my initial feeling was that of "at least i will hold a full professional qualification if i don't/can't continue further"



    I feel i have gained a real in-depth knowledge from the modules i have passed so far but must reign myself in from wishing my life away. Studying is non-stop and seems to take forever. I must change my attitude to "studying does last forever, crack on" After all, even upon completion of a chartered qual. there is still CPD, new laws and IAS/FRSs, etc. to keep up to date with.



    I suppose i am not alone in having "doubtful Thomas" days.



    Cheers,



    Neil.

    I think you have made a wise choice for what it is worth. I have gaps in my basic knowledge as I did not study the basics. I went straight in at producing accounts but now I need the basics so I am reading AAT in my spare time. I may be able to reconcile 13 week rolling forecasts and produce company budgets but putting in procedures on delivery notes, GRN and invoices is a different skillset.
  • Gibby
    Gibby Registered Posts: 9
    stevef said:

    Doing AAt before going on to one of the CCAB bodies is definitely not a short cut but also does not overly prolong the process. As stated, the minimum entry requirements for ACCA is 5 GCSE passes, two of which must be at A level and must includea maths and English (or equivalents).



    But coming into ACCA with the minimum requirements, unless you are a high flying super human is fairly tricky. many ACCA students have already done some studies beyond the minimum requirements to help ease their way in. So many new ACCA students will already hold degrees or have done some Accountancy studies such as AAT or CAT.



    The advantages of doing AAT before moving on to ACCA include:



    Warms you into the professional requirements;



    Gives a good sound technical knowledge before being hurtled in to some of the more complex theoretical matters that ACCA will take you to, AAT gives an excellent foundation to work from;



    Provides a part way resting stage, By completing and joininig AAT you become a member of a professional accounting body much sooner than you would going straight into ACCA. It gives a success so that if you decide that you have had enough of studying, you are still a qualified Accounting Technician. If you pass everything first time, ater 2 to 3 years you could be an AAT member, going straight to ACCA, after 4 years, you are still a student struggling to cross the final hurdles.



    Many millenia ago I studied for and became an AAT member, and after taking stock of where I was and where did I want to be, I took on ACCA and eventually got there. I am glad I did it that way, as having AAT under my belt was good reassurance of my ability and technical knowledge. It gave me a good grounding and took some of the ACCA pressure off (what if I can't finish, I'll have nothing pressure). Unless you are a super human high flyer that is going to smoothly sail through all the exams without a hitch (which I am not), I would always recommend the AAT, take stock, move to a CCAB if that is where you want to go.



    ACCA is hard, it is a long struggle, which for most will contain some failures on route. I think this is part of the charater test of ACCA students - do you have the stamina, do you have enough resillience to shrug of stumbles and move on. It is all worth it in the end, if that is your final goal.



    For those questiong which accountancy body for which role, just to muddy the waters I am AAT/ACCA qualified and work in the public sector. CIPFA is the specialist public sector accountancy body, but there are probably as many ACCA accountants in the public sector as there are CIPFA ones these days, especially as public sector accounts look more and more like company accounts..

    This is a great post and one which I should have read 10 years ago. Time machine anyone?

    I was one of the super humans you speak of, though not really, who went straight to CIMA, not ACCA, so I would say my "grounding" was not thorough on the basics which did not matter at the time but now my gaps are becoming more noticeable as I am working with smaller companies. The fact that I have big business experience means I am wanted by smaller companies who need this experience but can not necessarily pay for it and salary has never bothered me too much. I can therefore bring this experience but with smaller companies more involvement is often required at the technician end which I do not necessarily have as in the past I have had staff for these tasks. I am therefore now reading AAT for fun to plug these gaps.

    I would therefore say with the advantage of hindsight yes it is possible to jump straight into more senior, on paper anyway, qualifications but you may come unstuck much later in your career.

    I would say get the grounding now. It may or may not help with CIMA or ACCA but believe me there will be a time when you will need it in your career and if you do not have it you find yourself studying in your spare time as I am now so get it out of the way now.
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