Can you do ACCA with no background.

Just a general enquiry regarding doing acca. I have my GCSEs and three A levels in maths biology and chemistry and want to be an accountant. Can I do ACCA directly or is it advisable to do AAT first. Any help and advice will be appreciated.


  • Emmalouise18
    Emmalouise18 Registered Posts: 237
    It is highly recommended to study AAT first, before considering ACCA.

    I know someone who did ACCA without AAT and really really struggled with it. Took her 3/4/5 attempts at each exam to pass. She works for a practice accountants so she does accounts in her job. Its just the level of detail needed in ACCA to pass.

    People who haven't done AAT won't know double entry which is heavily involved in ACCA Exams.

    Good Luck!

  • NeilH
    NeilH Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 553
    I think it depends on what support you have in terms of study and tuition.

    You do cover double entry in ACCA, but double entry can be like learning a new language and with AAT you'll go over it more times (perhaps even too many times!) than ACCA. If you self taught/home study and not working in accounting, ACCA will be jumping in at the deep end.
  • chloewain_
    chloewain_ Registered, AAT Student Posts: 42
    I know someone who did it. Just had A levels and a degree in an irrelevant subject (history I think). Aged 24 they then did ACCA from scratch and did it fine. However, they are intelligent but they said that with classroom study (I would recommend this if you have no background or previous accounting qualifications) it was no problem because you didn't have a choice but to learn it- they just drilled it into you.

    It is very expensive (about 8k a year I think) but will be worth it if you enjoy accounting (and the money later on in your career once qualified £££) I also think (may be wrong), to get your ACCA, you need 36 months working in accounting (Practical experience required), so it would also help you with your qualifications if you were doing accounting stuff at work every day too.

    I completely level 2 and 3 at the age of 16/17 and never did any revision, and I barely concentrated in class, so I'm unsure how I even passed them! I then had a few years break and came back to self-teach level 4. There isn't really much double entry at level 4, and with me not doing it at work (and barely remembering anything from 2 and 3, so if there was double entry, I don't remember it), I don't know if it is that relevant. I am self-taught level 4, and feel a lot of the stuff tested in AAT is irrelevant/easy to forget if you don't do it at work. A lot of students just memorise stuff to pass the exams (averaging mid 80 passes of the ones I know, so they aren't just scraping passes).

    So depending on how your brain works (if you're any good at passing exams), and how good your tutor is, I think it is realistic to say you could start from scratch. If you are sitting in a classroom and forcing yourself to learn, and interested, and asking the questions when you are unsure, then it shouldn't be a problem. I would advise maybe watching a few youtube videos maybe so that you are familiar with the terminology used and definitions of new words that you may have not come across previously.

    I am not advising that you do it, as I think I would struggle going straight into ACCA, with no work experience or previous qualifications. However, I am aware of someone who has done it and sometimes I wish I had done it their way. Instead of wasting 3 years on AAT and all of the money, just jumping straight in. If you are prepared to put in the work (you may have to go home and revise and go over stuff more than other students might), then it may be worth going for it! If you put your mind to it, you can do anything!! Just depends on how determined you are. Bear in mind, from what I understand, there are 3 levels of ACCA, and once complete, it is equivalent to a Masters degree (level 7). AAT students get exempt from the first level, (3 exams), which you would have to do. So AAT students have basically done 3 years of quals to get 3 papers exempt. The three papers take a bit less than a year to complete with ACCA from what I understand.
    But a master's degree isn't going to be easy, and with each level, it will get harder. Best of luck in the future, with whatever you do!!
    Page 3 is where i got some of my info
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