Do I need A levels as well as AAT to apply for junior accounting roles?

Hi, hoping for a little advice...

I'm looking into starting AAT level 2 in September, but I'm not sure whether I should try to take up some A levels aswell to improve my chances of landing a job next year?
I've been a store manager in retail for almost 9 years and have no formal qualifications other than my GCSEs (11 grade A-C).
I've been doing a bit of research on websites of local accountancy firms and I noticed that one of them requires candidates for junior and trainee positions (the kind of roles I'd be looking to apply for after level 2) to have 3 A levels.

Should I attempt to study for A levels alongside my AAT?

Which subjects would be the most beneficial?

Will my experience in retail count for anything when applying for jobs?

Also I'm still not sure whether to take an online course or to study at the local college. The online course (Kaplan) appeals as I have to be very flexible with work, but which would employers rather see?

Thank you!


  • burg
    burg Moderator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,441
    I'm a FMAAT and did ACCA and I have no A-levels. I do not see any requirement. Maybe it is a way of making sure those who apply are over 18 so have some extra maturity?
    We certainly don't and wouldn't ask for A-levels for an AAT student based position.

  • ChristianB
    ChristianB Registered Posts: 197 ? ? ?
    edited June 2015
    Hi @halle-ellie

    I find and share vacancies for AAT members on a daily bases across our social media channels, and I can't remember a time when A-Levels were a requisite alongside having a qualification like AAT. I'm by no means an expert (I consider anecdotal evidence provided by members like @burg to be the best advice you can get) but it is in my view that you should be okay.

    To put your mind at ease and to give you an indication as to what the job market is like for AAT members, I'd advise checking out the job section of our forums where employers and recruiters regularly advertise roles. Have a look at what experience they require, it should give you an indication as to where you'll stand come September.

    Also, use job sites like Indeed and Monster for similar research.

    I'd also advise that you read this thread entitled Can I apply for jobs while studying AAT Level 2?. It offers some great guidance that could help you land your first job.

    Jobs you can perform after completing AAT Level 2 may have an administrative emphasis, and will also allow you to make use of the basic accounting skills you've learned during your studies.

    Roles you might want to consider applying for after completing this unit include:
    • Finance Assistant
    • Bookkeeper
    • Accounts Administrator
    • Payroll Administrator
    • Data entry
    • Purchase/Sales Ledger Clerk
    Just because you've been working in retail doesn't mean you're not going to look appealing when your CV lands in a recruiters inbox. Consider the positives: you've been employed for many years, which shows that you're reliable and a good worker. As a store manager, you've demonstrated time-management skills, people-management skills and the ability to cope under a difficult economic climate. In many ways, you're in a much stronger position that someone applying for similar vacancies who has just left school.

    If you're still unsure, feel free to give our team a call for a quick, informal chat on 020 3735 2434. They'll be happy to discuss your future with you.

    Kind regards

    I have now left AAT. If you require any assistance with the forums, please contact membership support:
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