Anger, confusion and in need of help.

HarisonP
HarisonP Just JoinedRegistered Posts: 2
Hello, I have just completed my AAT level 3 today and had planned until hours ago to continue with level 4 full time. Myself and fellow students were discussing coming back next year when the tutor giving us our results told us that the accounting department is to be shut down (To say the least I was very angry that throughout the year I had been told they could offer level four and then to be told in passing without official announcement that they won't be (Other
members of my class had recently turned down work position to come back!)).

I am now unsure as to my next step, I had planned to study accounting at university after level 4 but now I am left without a training provider and without any clue. One local training centre supposedly will be able to train be in one year but I need a employer and as I wanted to go Uni its creates an issue; Do you think a company would be willing to fund my course whilst I work for them in the knowledge I will leave in a year (I am willing to work for free at the firm and find extra part-time work to support me in the evening and weekends)

The only other option that is close affordable is apply to uni now and hope I can start in September 2013. But I do want to complete AAT :/

To summarise
  • I really enjoyed studing AAT
  • I want to go to UNI
  • My plan has been messed up because of college management (Or Michael Gove, not yet clear)
  • I'm 19 (20 in october)
  • Need career guidance

Any help would be gratefully received.

Comments

  • Jo Clark
    Jo Clark Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,525
    Sorry to hear of your anger, disappointment etc.

    Before I, and other reply in more details, what are you wanting to study at university and why?

    Have you considered completing AAT and then moving onto further professional accounting qualifications?
    ~ An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest ~
    Benjamin Franklin
  • HarisonP
    HarisonP Just Joined Registered Posts: 2
    Hello, I am thinking of studying accounting and finance at university. I have 320 UCAS points now. The reason I want to study for a degree on top of a professional qualification is for a wider range of experience, and I thought it would help
    in job security and career development in the long term.
  • Kelly7
    Kelly7 Well-Known Registered Posts: 218
    Hi
    Why are you not keen on going to your other local training provider to learn? If you need a job have you thought about learning part time? I work full time & have been doing my level 3 for two evenings a week at college. You could try searching if there is anywhere they offers a part time course. X
  • Kelly7
    Kelly7 Well-Known Registered Posts: 218
    Me again, lol. Just thinking, I have found in my job, the actual experience of doing the job has helped me more now I have learnt basically how to do things at college. I would think about whether you really need to go to uni to do the accounts degree because to me, the 2 or 3 years spent at uni may be better spent gaining experience and then looking into doing something like cima when you have more money behind you too. Of course, this is just an opinion but thought I'd reply to give you something to think about. Xx
  • Jo Clark
    Jo Clark Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,525
    Kelly7 wrote: »
    Me again, lol. Just thinking, I have found in my job, the actual experience of doing the job has helped me more now I have learnt basically how to do things at college. I would think about whether you really need to go to uni to do the accounts degree because to me, the 2 or 3 years spent at uni may be better spent gaining experience and then looking into doing something like cima when you have more money behind you too. Of course, this is just an opinion but thought I'd reply to give you something to think about. Xx

    I agree with Kelly, unless you are looking to get onto a graduate training scheme... in which case you may like to search posts by NPS as there are discussions about non accounting degrees being preferred and other useful information.
    ~ An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest ~
    Benjamin Franklin
  • Nps
    Nps Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 782
    OK, now this is something that I've thought about lots since I decided on my career change. The things I wish I'd known and the things I should have done.

    First of all, you are already streets ahead of where I was at your age. You have a clear idea of what you want to do. I just knew I wanted to go to uni in order to play my sport at the highest level I could, coupled with the fact that the uni where I could do that had the best Students Union :blushing: I couldn't have cared less what degree I did, I'd have done needlework if it meant I got a place at that uni. I loved every minute, however and despite regretting not working hard enough and spending more time in the bars than in my lecture theatres, there's not a lot I would change. So for that reason, I would never dissuade someone from going to university, just be clear of what you want to achieve whilst there. Is it for the experience and personal satisfaction, or as a means to giving your career the best possible start?

    On the subject of an accountancy degree, there are a number of things you may want to research and consider. Most of what I am going to say is pure heresay, so do your own research, but I may touch on things you hadn't considered.

    What do you want to achieve in your career? Do you want to work for a Big 4 firm and the commitment it entails, or do you just want just want a steady career, with enough of a salary to live comfortably but potentially a better work/life balance (trust me, this gets more important as you get older!)

    If you aspire to earn the big bucks, then you need to be considering your choice of uni, and subject. I believe most big firms prefer a non accountancy related subject, perhaps Economics/Business/Management etc and then they sponsor you through ACA. There is also a lot of snobbery around which university you attend. I have heard that without a 2:1 from a Russell Group university (I think this is a fairly modern thing as it's only recently I've heard of Russell Group uni's), you won't even pass a paper sift for a graduate role. I find this very easy to believe.

    There is also the consideration that an Accountancy degree may give you exemptions from up to 9 papers in ACCA (I don't know about the other chartered bodies), but that people who take his route often struggle in the later papers as the exemptions/degree/early ACCA are not like for like, so is a related degree actually an advantage or not?

    Of course there is then the option of going straight on to ACCA/CIMA etc. If university is not that important to you, or you've decided that you actually probably wouldn't be in that top crop of students that the Big Firms want, then perhaps this would be the right choice. Less debt, and a 3 year head start on the graduates.

    If you just want a degree for the personal satisfaction, have you looked at the ACCA/Oxford Brooke's BSc combination? You do your ACCA exams and then do a project to gain the degree. I'm doing this and fully intend to get a 1st, however I imagine that employers will rate my lower graded degree from a more prestigious university higher than a 1st from a lower ranked university (fair/not fair, who knows, but realistically this is how I think it will be).

    Or perhaps you want to aim somewhere in the middle, do a degree, accountancy or otherwise, then do your chartered qualification with a smaller firm who insists on you being a graduate (or would they be equally as impressed by someone who'd already finished their chartered exams?)

    There is so much competition out there, far too many graduates for too few jobs so firms can be as picky as they want so please don't assume that an accountancy degree is automatically the best option for you. I'd like to say that if you are talented and a hard worker then it will all work out, but life isn't always like that!

    Perhaps you also want to consider if gaining an accountancy degree from a lower ranked university is going to help you in anyway or just leave you in debt (if you weren't considering one of the Russell Group ones). Rightly or wrongly, your degree will be judged on where it was obtained.

    Your final decision will ultimately depend on your honest appraisal of your own ability, and where you want to be 10 years from now.

    If I was writing this to my 19 year old self, I'd be saying, find a happy medium with uni. Do a good non accountancy degree at a Russell Group uni (but with a good students union of course!), then fight tooth and nail to get in with a big firm. Work my backside off for 10-15 years, then do the family thing and slow down. I could have done it too, but I was 19 and thought I was going to live forever and never get old. Unfortunately I was more interested in having a good time than preparing the groundwork for my future. You sound more mature than I was back then, so make the most of it.

    On the other hand, if a Big 4 career is not your cup of tea, and the uni experience isn't that important to you, I'd seriously consider going straight onto ACCA.

    Times are tough, you already have your goal, so make sure everything you do takes you closer to that goal. Research what you can do to help you get to where you want to be.

    Sorry for the essay, it's just a subject that is quite close to my heart at the moment!
  • Jo Clark
    Jo Clark Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,525
    Fantastic response NPS! :thumbup1:
    ~ An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest ~
    Benjamin Franklin
  • Vlee
    Vlee Well-Known Registered Posts: 136
    I wished I'd had that advice at that age too!

    Another thing with regards to the big 4 - if you didn't get top A levels then a graduate entry appears to be a no no, no matter where you got your degree. I have a non accounting 2.1 degree from a Russell Group Uni and would not be considered because the A levels I took 12 years ago were not quite good enough. So even with my top degree I would only be eligible to apply for the school leavers scheme. That's fine for me as I have young children and need that balance. But I'm pretty sure there are plenty of non graduates who are in the same place as graduates in accounting, but without the huge debt - I still have my student loan and I'm 30, luckily it's only £10k, how much debt will a degree these days amount to?

    Start level four with another provider part time and go get some experience - voluntary work or internships, even an apprenticeship, you have so much freedom right now, go make the most of it and don't get into debt unless it's absolutely the right thing for you.
  • Nie
    Nie New Member Registered Posts: 12
    The Big 4 have really good looking school leaver programmes if you're eligible to apply. On at least one of them you finish the programme with both a degree and the ACA qualification.

    As far as I can tell the only benefit to their graduate programmes over their school leaver programmes is that there are more location options in graduate entry.

    As far as I can tell, without the UCAS points though you have no shot at the big four until you're at least part qualified, regardless of what you study or how well you do in Uni.
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