A level student need some advice on AAT

Hello guys ,
I'm currently retaking my AS levels as I failed last year. However I'm really interested in Accounting due to the subjects I study at A level. 2 of them being Economics and Maths. I have no previous experience working in any accounting or finance environment except for 1 week work exp at Barclays.

What I need help with is this:
-Should I continue with my AS levels and A2 then do apprenticeship or degree, Or should I do AAT now.
-Does it matter if i failed a levels ? Would that lower my chance of getting into AAT
-Should I continue my studies and do AAT using the method of self-study. If so where should I start (level 1 or 2)
-Since you guys are more experienced , do you think the financial sector is more into education in terms of degree levels or experiences for to be employed?

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks :)

Comments

  • David BallantyneDavid Ballantyne DurhamRegistered Posts: 86
    Hi Keef,

    The advice I am going to give to you is the advice I would give to my children were they old enough to be in your situation, based on the hindsight of my own experience.

    Should I continue with my AS levels and A2 then do apprenticeship or degree, Or should I do AAT now.
    If you are confident that accounting is a career that you want to pursue, do AAT now. In terms of academic study, the AAT qualification is OFQUAL regulated and the Professional Diploma is a Level 4 qualification, click here for more information. Level 4 is equivalent to the first year of a degree.

    The reason I say do AAT now is this. Employers want people who have the practical skills needed to do the job. Ideally this means having actual work experience. The next best thing to having actual work experience is having a highly relevant qualification. Below the chartered level qualifications, the AAT is the number one qualification requested by employers in the UK, both in practice and in industry. It is the qualification that many chartered level accountants start off with.

    If the opportunity to do an apprenticeship is available then definitely take it. I cannot emphasise enough how important practical experience is in developing your marketability.

    If, once having completed AAT you decide that you want to get a degree, the AAT qualification is widely accepted by higher education institutions for that purpose. Click here for more information. Having said this, I would not advise you to get a degree, focus your efforts on getting an entry level job. If you want to do further qualifications, then depending on the direction you want to take your career, either do Association of Taxation Technicians or do one of the chartered level qualifications.

    Does it matter if i failed a levels ? Would that lower my chance of getting into AAT
    No, it does not matter if you failed A levels. The AAT qualification structure is designed to make the option of a career in accounting open to all.

    Should I continue my studies and do AAT using the method of self-study. If so where should I start (level 1 or 2)
    If you are sure that you want to go into accounting, drop your current studies and start studying AAT. If you believe that you have the focus and discipline to self study, then do this, a lot cheaper than a paid course. If you feel you need to a course, then your potential university fees would be better spent on this. I believe that most AAT students start at Level 2, contact the AAT for advice on this (I think there is an online assessment that you can do to determine where you should start).

    Since you guys are more experienced , do you think the financial sector is more into education in terms of degree levels or experiences for to be employed?
    First and foremost, what employers want to know is what you can actually do, what practical experience you have that will solve the job problem they have. Depending on the level of the role they will then look to see if you have AAT or a chartered level qualification. Sometimes, depending on the level of competition for a role, it may be useful to have a degree in accounting but I do not believe that this would stop you from having a successful career.

    Other advice
    One important choice that you do need to consider before choosing an apprenticeship is whether you want to go into practice or industry. If you go into practice, you would develop experience that would enable you to start your own practice in the future. It is possible to move from industry into starting your own practice, but it is harder because you would not have relevant experience.

    There are a number of universities which offer significant exemptions for accounting degrees if you have one of the chartered level qualifications. Getting a degree via this route would be much more time efficient. If you have a chartered level qualification you would probably better off going for a masters degree rather than a bachelors.

    About me
    I did A levels for a year (English Lit and French would you believe!), packed them in, did a BTEC National in Business & Finance, an A level in Accounting, a degree in accounting, got a job in industry, completed the Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and then joined the AAT.

    If I could have my time over again, I would do AAT, go into practice, do Association of Taxation Technicians, then start my own practice. This would have been a better use of my time and money, and I am pretty sure I would have higher earnings and greater job satisfaction.

    Hope that helps.

    David.
    David Ballantyne
    Connect with me on LinkedIn!
    Ballantyne Accountants
    BeccaLouJ9Bertie
  • keef18keef18 Registered Posts: 4
    Hello , Thanks for your reply.
    I was looking at the job posting section to gain some insight into some of the qualifications required by the people who posted opportunities and I have seen some with practice preferred. Is this what you mean by industry or Practice ? I found some topics here about the differences but still a bit unsure.
  • David BallantyneDavid Ballantyne DurhamRegistered Posts: 86
    Hi Keef,

    An accounting practice is a business which usually provides financial accounting, tax preparation and audit services to non accounting businesses which need those services.

    For example, a self employed electrician may go to an accounting practice to have year end accounts prepared and have his tax return prepared and submitted to HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs - i.e. the tax man).

    A small company may have its payroll, VAT returns, annual accounts and corporation tax return prepared and submitted to Companies House/HMRC by an accounting practice.

    A larger business may have any of the above services and have an annual audit of its financial processes, i.e. have all of its financial systems checked to ensure they are operating properly.

    When I talk about industry, I mean commercial businesses, public sector organisations (your local council or NHS organisation) and charities which are large enough and have enough money to employ their own internal accountants to do all their bookkeeping, payroll, VAT and annual statutory accounts (accounts prepared according to legal requirements). These are the larger types of organisation that I mentioned above that would only hire an external accountancy practice to carry out an audit of their financial systems.

    Let me know if you need further information.

    Kind regards,

    David.
    David Ballantyne
    Connect with me on LinkedIn!
    Ballantyne Accountants
  • BertieBertie West Midlands Registered Posts: 376
    I can not take any credit for David's responses to you, but I agree totally with him.


    Go for it!

  • keef18keef18 Registered Posts: 4
    Thanks for the replies David and Bertie , I'am going to apply for an apprenticeships as I'm only 18 and I would get support from them too. I would like to work for HMRC or a good firm therefore I think Practice is my option ? If I understood it correctly haha, Also what are my opportunities like ? I did some research and thinking of Doing AAT then ACCA or CIMA but as a chartered accountant , what are the position levels after years of experience ? Would you be able to go into manager or positions above or would only Degree give me the chance to progress into those areas ? Thanks a lot guy i appreciate your help so much.
  • BertieBertie West Midlands Registered Posts: 376
    I'd get myself on the road to AAT first.

    Once on that road you'll know where you want to be and what you want to do.

    ACCA and CIMA, when completed are the equivalent of a Masters degree.

    In the case of accountancy, professional qualifications (ACCA / CIMA) are, when in employment and when a member, more prestigious and powerful than a degree.
  • BertieBertie West Midlands Registered Posts: 376
    Of course ICAEW and CIOT are included - but you didn't ask of those.

    At your age the world is your lobster.

    Work and study hard.

    Best of luck!!

  • keef18keef18 Registered Posts: 4
    Alright I see , Thanks a lot guys. I'm going to go into apprenticeships and hopefully everything turns out well. thanks again
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