Is it even worth doing ACCA in the current job climate? (Rant)

DannyBoi Registered Posts: 8 New contributor 🐸
edited June 2021 in General discussion
Hi All

I'm having struggles seeing myself doing ACCA after my AAT qualification. I'm nearly finished with it and did originally plan to do ACCA and probably will still do it once I calmed down, but I do have doubts whether this is all worth it.

Reasons for this is the job market, I wanted to become an accountant so that I can get a nice well paid job easily but it seems like this is impossible. I got into AAT through an apprenticeship and was very poorly paid originally but still kept on. Now I'm in my current role which I feel is too easy and there seems to be a lack of progression with my employer despite them being so large! I have very poor managers who seems to want to supress my potential. I still feel like I'm being paid too little for my role in all honestly even though it's a significant improvement in pay.

It just feels unbearable to want to progress when employers are so exploitable and can't even remain respectable. Personally, I'm thinking to at least do 1 year of ACCA, get the bachelors degree from it and move into a different career all together. What's the point of putting in years of gaining experience where I find everything too easy yet can't move upwards. Frustrates me to no ends.

I'm not sure what your overall experience has been. Hopefully I can find a good employer in the coming months where I can actually apply what I learn to practice. It's been so hard to study this qualification sometimes since everything I learn is useless in my job and becomes hard to retain overtime since it's not applied.

Yes yes, someone will say ''well you should be greatful for your job during lockdown'' but it doesn't solve it for me when there's others who get to their jobs based on ''It's who you know rather then what you know''.

I'll tell you a personal experience of mine. When a position was opened up for internal applicants originally, I applied and they said I was great! But they didn't want to hire me because they felt like I didn't have the skills to do the role. They stated they needed AAT level 3 candidate which I have already achieved this qualification and was already undergoing this qualification. They offered the chance to give me the skills for the role if it was to come up again. But the nerve they have to not even want to pay me for what I am worth on a qualification basis really irritated me. I knew skills such as VBA as well which most don't know but again not good enough. Anything I do isn't good enough.

It could be a case of the fact they need me to work a pointless job to keep operations going as it takes too much effort for them to train someone up.

Rant over.

Hopefully find a job where I can be paid what I'm worth and no, I'm not expecting to be paid £40K per year. It's just my current job is paid on the basis of me being AAT level 2 qualified despite now almost being AAT qualified. That's why i'm annoyed lol. I heard sometimes from the same employer such as ''We won't allow you to use your holiday leave for your exam as your qualification is too high up for your role''. Thinking about delaying studies until January while I re-locate and if I can't find a job that'll pay me what I'm worth may just pack it in at end of year 2 degree accounting studies. The studies are draining and there's no point to doing it if I can't even get a job that reflects my studies. Been working for what 4 years now in the field I am in and it's still entry level? Jeez. Probably should've become an electrician instead.

I wished AAT stopped bragging about their salary averages since it's so unhelpful and has lead to disappointment.

I could be working in Morrison's entry level job for the same pay. and I had to study and work for 4 years to get to where I am!!!


  • sjtoomer
    sjtoomer Registered Posts: 63 Regular contributor ⭐
    I want to change my career to some form of Accounting/Bookkeeping job in a company, I have done the AAT L2 Bookkeeping course, I am currently studying the AAT L3 Bookkeeping course, and I am also applying for junior PL/SL Clerk and Finance Assistant jobs (which the AAT state you are meant to be able to get with the L2 Qualification alone), but I am just getting continual silence back from employers. I don't know whether employers aren't actually valuing the AAT Qualifications or whether there's a glut of other people who are more experienced/qualified than me who I am competing with. I want to complete the AAT L3 Bookkeeping course, but I'm just not sure whether I'm actually going to get a job with these AAT Qualifications. I agree that AAT's advertisement of expected job/salary with their own qualifications is not reflected in the current reality (of the job market). Any advise is much appreciated, as it is getting quite dis-heartening.
  • Dervish_Life
    Dervish_Life Registered Posts: 10 New contributor 🐸
    As per my previous comment, try and get some experience be it paid or voluntary, and that will boost your cv. Or alternatively search for apprentice jobs, yes the pay is low, but that helps you get paid something while learning and getting experience. Most companies hire with 1-2 years of experience for entry level jobs and pay usually starts £18k+.......i know of a work colleague who started his acca at 50 and finished it at 55 with five years experience at a chartered accountant and now owns his own practice with few staff. He opened it back in March 2020, yes exactly when covid was on high alert. 2 years on, he is managing just well. But those 5 years of studying hard along with working for 2 different practice as a part time since he could not get a full time job paid off.

    stay strong, keep going on :smile:
  • venisa
    venisa Registered Posts: 4 New contributor 🐸
    "very poor managers who seems to want to supress my potential"
    I expirenced manager like this before, feel depress and demotivated. My health condition going down a lot during the period I work for her. It's a poison culture in that workplace and I left. So, if you feel the same, you can consider change another job. It's not worth by staying with someone who keep let you down and feel bad for yourself. The poison culture will destroy your healty in both physical and mental way.

    "Personally, I'm thinking to at least do 1 year of ACCA"
    I am not sure if you pass your AAT LEVEL4 or not. if you passed your AAT level4, you can apply ACCA first 3 modules as exemption by paying them some administration fee.

    "It's been so hard to study this qualification sometimes since everything I learn is useless in my job and becomes hard to retain overtime since it's not applied. "
    If you are planing to get ACCA qualifed in the end. You will find the difficulty of the study in Applied Skills level which have 6 modules is totally different than your previous learning experiences. Just make sure you prepared for this.

    "Been working for what 4 years now in the field I am in and it's still entry level? "
    Try to find another employer who provide study support package, 4 years of working expirences in the accounting area should be advantage for you to find another job.

    "I could be working in Morrison's entry level job for the same pay. and I had to study and work for 4 years to get to where I am!!! "
    In the long term, you will benifit for what you learned from accounting area.

    Good luck
    ACA Professional Level September 2023 ACA Certificate Level January 2022 AAT Level 4 January 2022 AAT Level 3 August 2021 AAT Level 2 April 2021
  • DannyBoi
    DannyBoi Registered Posts: 8 New contributor 🐸
    edited April 2022
    Just writing back in, since it's been a while since this post.

    It seems to be the case that once you achieve your Level 4 AAT qualification the doors open up massively, and progressively gets better and better.

    I think if there's one thing I can say to myself, is that once you work any finance job and get that experience, plus getting the Level 4 AAT qualification then the doors opens up massively. So just keep working towards that for the comment profiles above.

    I achieved my Level 4 AAT qualification and got a merit and all of a sudden there's tons of jobs I can apply for now which are right for my skillset. It was so frustrating when I had my Level 3 AAT finished, since all the employers just mindlessly asked for Level 4 AAT. I say mindlessly because the skills for the job were really skills you just need from AAT level 3. I recall there being one employer who previously asked for Level 3 AAT, then once I achieved that qualification. For the same job post started asking for Level 4. It's like they're purposefully setting the entry so high, then when you reach it they expect more. Really cr**. Oh well enough about that. Do I need a PHD degree to do anything ??? Sod off. Cheeky people I swear.

    Just study towards Level 4 AAT and try to get it for free as much as you can. But don't be against the idea of paying for Level 3 and Level 4 AAT, while working a full time job. Sometimes the apprenticeships can be deceiving since you receive less pay from the get-go anyways in an apprenticeship. An example is that you'd earn 22K in a Finance role while studies are supplied for free. But alternatively you can earn 26K in another role of the same title, but the studies are not accommodated with it.

    I remember in my first apprenticeship I earnt about 8 grand a year which meant I had to rely upon my family during the study. And that same employer had the nerve to say ''We're a living wage employer''.

    Don't give loyalty, work towards your own means and never expect loyalty back from employers. But in saying that, if there's colleagues and managers who treat you well, then you should respond accordingly with that. But at the end of the day, due to the job climate, always do what's best for you. Any employer who expects you to committ your loyalty to them, in return for internal progression then just look for a different job. They want you to work your a** off and then will tell you you're not good enough at the end.

    That first finance job you work you're going to have suck up to the b******* you receive. After that, anyone who stirs up trouble immediately look for other employers and save your time.

    Another tip I would give to myself is don't work the hardest you can. I remember in that first role I had despite the pay being peanuts, I worked unbelievably hard and the employer disliked me like crazy. I was typing thousands of words a day and yet was disliked. Really crushed my soul in people. Got bullied 8 months in non-stop. If that ever happens again, I'm literally joining any other company and can do so because I'm in the position to do that now. Working hard does not equal success. If you're doing enough to satisfy your employer then leave it at that. But don't be against the idea either of trying new ideas and learning new ways of solving problems, that experience is always useful. You can always spend time during your work to learn how to use the more advanced features of certain programmes.

    Another tip too, is that if the employer gives you additional duties to take on, then ask for more pay. I've seen employers where they expect the staff to do more work at no additional pay. I remembered one time an employer suggested for me to learn some new task and despite it being new. Were completely untransferrable skills for the most part, really basic and boring procedures to learn. And I'm receiving no new additional pay for it. Some employers seems to expect it's okay to not pay workers their fair share. Working for free is slavery.
  • sjtoomer
    sjtoomer Registered Posts: 63 Regular contributor ⭐
    I was just going to take my training to AAT Level 3 Book-Keeping, so I hope that there will be some employment opportunities for people who are qualified below AAT Level 4.

    Yes, I too, like many other people, have gone above-and-beyond and have taken on extra duties in a job, only for no extra pay and/or no thanks (or only getting more work) from the employer; the thing is that you have to value yourself, which is part of the reason why I am wishing to change my career, to do something that I enjoy more and (hopefully) is valued more. I think it depends upon the employer's attitude and the labour market, as there are good employers and bad employers out there, and labour market forces (i.e. demand/supply of labour) also affect what employers can and cannot get away with. I have had a lot of bad experiences with employers, so it would be nice for me to find a good employer!
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