Home For AAT student members AQ 2013 AAT Level 4 (Level 8 in Scotland)

University after AAT?

Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forum and would greatly appreciate any advice/opinions you may be able to offer. (Apologies in advance for the essay)

I left school at 18 (two years ago) and joined a small firm of chartered accountants as a trainee AAT. I took my final AAT exams in June and if I've managed to pass (especially that awful PCR one!) my firm will offer me a training contract to study for the ACA qualification, meaning that I could be ACA qualified by the time I'm 23. However, I have read on the AAT website and on the pamphlet that the AAT sent about options after completing AAT, that one of the routes available is to go to uni to study an accounting and finance degree. (By the way, I definitely want to at some point become a chartered accountant).

Although after school I initially wanted to go to uni, I decided against it mainly due to the student debt. But at present (due to various other reasons) my life outside of work is fairly non existent and I do find that I am quite unhappy with that, so I have been thinking that a move to university may not only help to perhaps enhance my career options, but also allow me to gain some life experience, build my interpersonal skills and confidence and generally develop as a person.

Don't get me wrong - I am not ungrateful in any way for the opportunity that has been afforded to me, but even at one of the partners at my firm told me that he believes I should go travelling or do something that would allow me to develop and build my general character as he thinks it is not happening where I am at the moment.

My question therefore, is have any of you ever encountered other AAT qualifieds who have gone to uni after achieving MAAT status? Did it do any damage to their career prospects? What are your overall thoughts and advice on my situation?

Sorry again for the essay, I could really do with some advice.

Thanks!

Comments

  • A-VicA-Vic Expertise Guaranteed Registered Posts: 6,970
    Just read the accounting technician mag and according to page 35 they are looking in to foundation degree's - it looks pretty good and also it is a full degree that with AAT you can complete in a year - (and yes it is with honours) Hmmmmmm?

    Who knows that could be a route
  • ambitiousambitious Banned Banned User Posts: 93
    I've went to University and got a 2:1 in Maths from Cardiff University. But then there's the rush to get a job on a graduate trainee scheme, which I failed to get. A few years later I'm now studying AAT and will start technician year next year. My opinion on your situation is to get the ACA as soon as possible. You can do AAT-ACA fast track and get a 2 very valuable qualifications. I've got a degree but a maths degree definitely does not give anyone the edge in a job hunt as I've found out time and time again. Professional qualifications speak a lot louder for your credentials than academic qualifications. Of course it's your choice at the end of the day. I've got a £13k student debt to pay back and thats going to be difficult. So think on your next move.
  • princess246princess246 Feels At Home Registered Posts: 49
    Hello

    I wish i started my studies earlier im now 24 and in my final year of AAT, i personally think you should go on and achieve your ACA i theink having a professional qualification is better then an academic one.

    If you finish your ACA whne your 23 you could go travelling then safely knowing you're a qualified accountant and you will be able to get a job anyone bagging loads of money!!!!!!

    I think the world is your oyster and there seems to be some fab opportunties out there for you and i think you're very lucky.

    Wish you all the best with your final exams!
  • vishavisha Well-Known Registered Posts: 218
    Going to uni will definitely teach you analytical skills. It will also give you a sense of satisfaction of “lived my life” as a student.

    But to say

    “allow me to gain some life experience, build my interpersonal skills and confidence and generally develop as a person.”

    I would have thought you are most like to build those skills more acutely in a working environment. Where you may have to agree with your superiors, even though you may not agree with him, and learn to respond more diplomatically and certainly learn how to instruct and work productively with your colleagues. These are better traits of interpersonal skills that you will require in your professional life and life in general.

    The question of confidence is a matter of self belief. I am sure you are more capable of doing things then what you imagine you can do. Have faith and jump in at the deep end – you will be fine

    The real problem I think is…

    “But at present (due to various other reasons) my life outside of work is fairly non existent and I do find that I am quite unhappy with that, so I have been thinking that a move to university”

    Starting a uni. does not mean that your social life will be “hunky dorey”.

    It’s a challenge that most of the professionals have to face these days. Depending on your interests there are may clubs and societies that you can join and enjoy the mutual pleasure, staring from local church youth/single forum to a poker club.

    Going to uni. will not only put you into a deeper debt, but after achieving a degree (after 3 years) you will still need to study two more years to achieve a professional accountancy qualification (ACA, ACCA, CIMA) which you could achieve in the next two years after completing AAT.

    I urge to re-examine your reasons for joining a uni? Could you resolve them through other means?

    Change the job if you have to ……

    Visha
  • JayneHoganJayneHogan Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 697
    Uni???

    Hi,

    Just to add to what has already been said. You might get to University and find that all your friends in lectures have different interests / places to be in the evenings /weekends. When I moved 500 miles away from home to "have a social life as well as a degree" at 18 I found nice enough friends in lectures who had COMPLETELY different interests to me. I looked to my flatmates in Halls of Residence hoping for a social life, only to find that their ideal Saturday night was sitting indoors watching Blind Date. Okay, this was the early nineties but you get the idea. Due to circumstances and being 500 miles away from the friends I had left behind at home, I must have gone out a total of five times for socialsing during the whole of my eighteenth year. I tried to join the swimming team at University (a sport I was good at in school) and was told "we are only taking on elite swimmers due to the size of the pool." I spent the whole year being miserable and it did not develop me personally. It was hard going back for the second year, leaving all my friends and family. Losing my Mum when I was in my third year just about put the lid on the whole experience.

    All I am trying to say is that University is not necessarily the best time in your life and I think you have got a MUCH better opportunity in going for the ACA through working.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.

    Regards,

    Jayne
  • NimrodNimrod New Member Registered Posts: 6
    University

    I think you've got a fabulous career opportunity.

    I know several people who attained first class degrees who failed to win training contracts with chartered firms.

    University can be good from a social point of view but think how great your social life could be with lots of money in the bank after fully qualifying.
  • nicki78nicki78 Just Joined Registered Posts: 2
    I also was thinking about doing a degree, but have since found out, that if you do the ACCA you can also do the degree at the same time. Apparantly the exams you do for the ACCA are much more complex than the ones you do for a degree and all you have to do for the degree is the assignment, i have had this comfirmed. (The marks for your exams at ACCA level go toward the degree)

    Check out their website, and it would be worth you giving them a call to get more details.

    I hope this helped.
  • SandyHoodSandyHood Font Of All Knowledge Registered, Moderator Posts: 2,034
    Sadly, the use of degree passes as a measure of which university is better than another has meant that standards in degrees have fallen. Obviously some universities stand outside this, and I include Imperial College London among this elite.
    But if this trend continues, degrees such as BAs and BScs from very many universities will carry less credibility and employers will look for other benchmarks.
    I see the accountancy bodies as sources of qualifications with far more credibility.
    I know that most of my students on AAT, ACCA and CIMA are 27+, so they have a very different outlook compared to younger students, but my recommended qualifications route favours
    AAT to CIMA/ACCA followed by a post-graduate degree such as an MBA from Cranfield University.

    So, if like many of my students you are 27+, I would discourage progressing to an undergraduate course for BA or BSc as I do not think it will improve your job prospects. You may want to be a student for other reasons

    If you are younger, I'm probably not the best person to provide advice.
    Sandy
    [email protected]
    www.sandyhood.com
  • richardwrichardw Well-Known Registered Posts: 108
    With AAT you can get a 1st year exemption on some degree courses at some university's, however you shouldnt make your choice based on this, the course itself has to be worthwhile, & it should be a good university.
    As for student debt, youll have some anyway in terms of tuition fees, but you can keep it under control if your local uni does a relevant course.

    If your current employer will offer you a training contract, this could be the better route, as youll get qualified at the same time as earning. Dont forget that those with a degree are still not qualified.
    If after becoming qualified you decide to do a degree, you can do it with the OU, or part-time with a local uni, & see if you can use the AAT & ACA for exemptions.
  • Gem7321Gem7321 Experienced Mentor DevonMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,438
    I don't really see the point in going to uni after completing AAT as you get exemptions from ACA/ACCA, in my point of view you'd just be delaying the process by 3 years. And the AAT is supposed to be equivalent to a degree anyway.
  • ambitiousambitious Banned Banned User Posts: 93
    Gem7321 wrote: »
    I don't really see the point in going to uni after completing AAT as you get exemptions from ACA/ACCA, in my point of view you'd just be delaying the process by 3 years. And the AAT is supposed to be equivalent to a degree anyway.

    I agree. Having been through university and wasted 3 years getting a maths degree, I'm no better off before I was studying. Unless you get onto a graduate trainee scheme with a big company or secure a training contract with a accountancy practice firm, a degree will not increase your chances of a job unless it is specialised degree such as medicine, optomotry, vetinary science, IT, architecture, an engineering discipline etc. My take on the accountancy profession is to just stick to getting professional qualifictions. AAT is a great stepping stone to go on to a bigger qualification such as CIMA or ACCA. But then try breaking into the profession from say an admin background in the first place. That alone is not easy unless you know the right people of course.
  • umerali2003umerali2003 Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 400
    i have literaly gone through each and every post regarding university after AAT and it looks like most of the experts were in the favour of ACCA . CIMA OR ACA
    But the main reason that most of the students including me looking for a degree rather then ACCA or CIMA is that its based on assignements and you dont have to sit any big exams at then end of every semister but on the other hand in ACCA or CIMA you have to sit the exam in every semister which is bit of tough because if u dont deliver on the exam day its all gone no matter how well u have done during the course so thats why there is bit of uncertanity going around for ACCA OR CIMA because those people who have done the degree says that if u follow it step by step its an easy life

    Any suggesions regarding the route after aat will be highly appreciated


    UmeR @Li
  • richardwrichardw Well-Known Registered Posts: 108
    But the main reason that most of the students including me looking for a degree rather then ACCA or CIMA is that its based on assignements and you dont have to sit any big exams at then end of every semister

    there are exams at the end of each year, & these are just as important. if you dont pass the exam, you may be able to carry it over as a retake to the december exams. however, if you fail too many, you will have to spend a year doing them as retakes, or they may fail you on the whole year, & not allow you to continue.
  • Bookkeeper1Bookkeeper1 Just Joined Registered Posts: 2
    ACA or ACCA without "Employers Support"

    Can anyone out there help.

    Having qualified for AAT I had wanted to go on to study either ACA (like the 2 year fast track route!) or ACCA.

    But they both appear to also require 450+ days of work experience to boot.

    I am a self employed bookkeeper - so dont work in practice. My aim was to get qualified so that I could expand my business. To me it looks like I will have to give my business up to go back out to work (if I can find a firm to take me!)

    I have an accountant who I have worked with for 10+ years who has signed my work experience bit for full AAT membership - but no more than that!!

    Please help - I would really love to get a degree.

    If only I had taken it before husband and kids came along!
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