Advice required please!

Hello

Hope someone can advise me on the best course of action.

I am 37 and have been working in IT for 20 years and want to retrain as an accountant. I have bought the CIMA BA1 self study book and have enjoyed working through it, but before I commit to paying money for membership fees etc I want to take a look at AAT to determine that I have chosen the correct path.

Ultimately I want to study the qualification that enables me to be a good all rounder within finance, therefore opening up the most doors employment wise. I also may wish to be self employed at some point - which qualification suits these criteria the best?

Best regards

Comments

  • Clintm15Clintm15 Well-Known FarehamPosts: 232Registered
    Hello,

    I would say that you have chosen the best path already. CIMA is management accounting and will contain more finance related material than AAT. It also operates at a higher level.
    AAT
    Level 2 - 2011
    Level 3 - 2012
    Level 4 - 2013

    ACCA
    F4 - Corporate Law - Dec 2015 (passed)
    F5 - Performance Management - Dec 2014 (passed)
    F6 - Taxation - Dec 2013 (passed)
    F7 - Financial Reporting - Jun 2014 (passed)
    F8 - Audit & Assurance - Dec 2015 (passed)
    F9 - Financial Management - Jun 2015 (passed)
  • ShibusaShibusa Posts: 8Registered
    Thank you for your response Clint. I've been hearing conflicting stories about what to do hence posting here.
  • Clintm15Clintm15 Well-Known FarehamPosts: 232Registered
    No problem.

    I have one follow-up question. When you say 'self-employed', what role are you envisioning?
    AAT
    Level 2 - 2011
    Level 3 - 2012
    Level 4 - 2013

    ACCA
    F4 - Corporate Law - Dec 2015 (passed)
    F5 - Performance Management - Dec 2014 (passed)
    F6 - Taxation - Dec 2013 (passed)
    F7 - Financial Reporting - Jun 2014 (passed)
    F8 - Audit & Assurance - Dec 2015 (passed)
    F9 - Financial Management - Jun 2015 (passed)
  • ShibusaShibusa Posts: 8Registered
    edited December 6
    The self employed role would be business / personal accounts preparation / advice for government submission
  • Clintm15Clintm15 Well-Known FarehamPosts: 232Registered
    OK,

    So, to clarify you are requiring -

    For possible self-employment:
    -Accounts preparation.
    -Some tax knowledge

    For potential future corporate roles:
    -Finance

    Is that correct?

    So your options are -

    CIMA - geared more towards management accounting and probably more suitable for future roles in Finance.
    ACCA - contains more law and audit.
    AAT - contains elements of all but at a more introductory level.

    It's quite difficult to make a certain recommendation, this might be the reason you have had conflicting feedback.
    For example, ACCA contains really strong units relating to finance and CIMA has units on tax. AAT is a good bridge to both, but at your age with your history of technical experience it might be more suitable for you to start ACCA or CIMA.

    Personally, as an ACCA student I am bias towards it. The ACCA offers a degree option that I found very tempting as a sweetener for future employment options and you can gain that after completing the middle level with no student debt.

    I hope this helps.
    AAT
    Level 2 - 2011
    Level 3 - 2012
    Level 4 - 2013

    ACCA
    F4 - Corporate Law - Dec 2015 (passed)
    F5 - Performance Management - Dec 2014 (passed)
    F6 - Taxation - Dec 2013 (passed)
    F7 - Financial Reporting - Jun 2014 (passed)
    F8 - Audit & Assurance - Dec 2015 (passed)
    F9 - Financial Management - Jun 2015 (passed)
  • ShibusaShibusa Posts: 8Registered
    Thank you - I think what is putting me off CIMA is that I hear it gets very difficult, and even some AAT qualified individuals struggle.

    I wouldnt want to invest my own money into a qualification that I may not have the required brain power to complete, so was erring on the AAT as a "taster" to ascertain my aptitude for accounting, if that makes sense?

  • Clintm15Clintm15 Well-Known FarehamPosts: 232Registered
    That makes perfect sense.
    AAT
    Level 2 - 2011
    Level 3 - 2012
    Level 4 - 2013

    ACCA
    F4 - Corporate Law - Dec 2015 (passed)
    F5 - Performance Management - Dec 2014 (passed)
    F6 - Taxation - Dec 2013 (passed)
    F7 - Financial Reporting - Jun 2014 (passed)
    F8 - Audit & Assurance - Dec 2015 (passed)
    F9 - Financial Management - Jun 2015 (passed)
  • Sunflower1o2Sunflower1o2 Posts: 2Registered, Tutor
    AAT is a good introduction to accounting - learning about double entry and Debits and Credits (Level 2)
    When you get to level 4 you will know how to prepare financial statements, have a reasonable idea about budgeting and be able to understand tax, (choosing the tax options of course).
    CIMA is the best qualification if you want to go into industry accounting - and yes parts of it are hard - but anything in life that is worth doing is usually hard. What helped me through my CIMA was being around other people who had already completed it. They helped me with the bits I was most stuck on.
    ACCA qualification will probably be as equally difficult as CIMA, I tend to think it is better for accountants that want to work in practise, but this is something I have never done.
    My CIMA qualification definitely opened doors for me and I got some great experience, for example: implementing Sage 200 for a medium sized manufacturing company. I would not have had as many opportunities without this qualification.
    The decision is yours but my recommendation would be AAT and then CIMA - especially with your IT knowledge - I think with these you would be an asset to any progressive company.
    (I don't think you should worry about what age you are - learning new things is fun at any age!)
  • MickdundeeMickdundee LondonPosts: 382Registered
    Search the posts on this forum. You'll quickly find a load of people moaning that they can't get jobs because they have no experience.

    The AAT qualification on its own is little help for you to find suitable employment in the industry.

    You need to find an entry level job and then start studying, otherwise you'll find it incredibly difficult to get a break.
  • ShibusaShibusa Posts: 8Registered
    Sorry Im confused - is the AAT a hinderance to getting employed in that case?
  • mergenmergen Just Joined Posts: 46Registered
    edited December 7
    Without experience you are not going to get far.
    I know people with CIMA and ACCA that don't have any experience and are struggling to find jobs.
  • ShibusaShibusa Posts: 8Registered
    edited December 7
    Hi Mergen

    I appreciate that getting a job without experience is difficult, but surely gaining at least some knowledge of accounting is better than nothing. If I do the AAT level 2 and seek employment in an entry level position?
  • mergenmergen Just Joined Posts: 46Registered
    edited December 7
    Definitely do start AAT but at the same time look for an entry level position.
    Volunteer if you must.
  • ShibusaShibusa Posts: 8Registered
    Yes thats the plan
  • CSan89CSan89 WiltshirePosts: 59Registered
    What @mergen and @Mickdundee are saying is that there is a lot of competition for entry level positions in accountancy, I managed to find a job after level 3 but I have a friend who didn't find a job until level 4 and that was through a friend.

    I would personally start at level 2 and work from there. It is possible to complete level 2 in 3 months but the fundamental rules of bookkeeping that you will learn are valuable for level 3 on wards.

    With Making tax digital on its way in the next couple of years it may be the perfect time for someone with 20 years of IT knowledge to start an accountancy career.
    MarieNoelle
  • ShibusaShibusa Posts: 8Registered
    CSan89

    Thanks - when you say entry level job I presume the candidate would have to posses at least rudimentary prior knowledge of accounting? As you say I think the best plan of attack would be to get Level 2 then job hunt
  • Sunflower1o2Sunflower1o2 Posts: 2Registered, Tutor
    AAT is a good introduction to accounting - learning about double entry and Debits and Credits (Level 2)
    When you get to level 4 you will know how to prepare financial statements, have a reasonable idea about budgeting and be able to understand tax, (choosing the tax options of course).
    CIMA is the best qualification if you want to go into industry accounting - and yes parts of it are hard - but anything in life that is worth doing is usually hard. What helped me through my CIMA was being around other people who had already completed it. They helped me with the bits I was most stuck on.
    ACCA qualification will probably be as equally difficult as CIMA, I tend to think it is better for accountants that want to work in practise, but this is something I have never done.
    My CIMA qualification definitely opened doors for me and I got some great experience implementing Sage 200 for a medium sized manufacturing company. I would not have had as many opportunities without this qualification.
    The decision is yours but my recommendation would be AAT and then CIMA - especially with your IT knowledge - I think with these you would be an asset to any progressive company.
  • CSan89CSan89 WiltshirePosts: 59Registered
    I would hope so. Sounds like a good plan :+1:

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