A straight answer?

mrsvicmrsvic Just JoinedPosts: 1Registered
After an almost 2 hour discussion with the AAT team (and management), I am still at a loss to what service they provide and whether the qualification is worth it's salt?

I have asked the question: How many qualifying students from the diploma course actually go on to a career in accounting?

I was told that the head of Hobbs fashion store has an AAT qualification. But no answer.

I asked again: How many qualifying students from the diploma course actually go on to a career in accounting?

I was informed that 5,000 students qualify each year and there are 120,000 worldwide members.

I asked again: How many qualifying students from the diploma course actually go on to a career in accounting?

I was told there are currently no statistics. Perhaps the marketing department will consider colating more data in future.

If the data does not exist, how, can a prospective student have an idea of the sucess of the course or the worth of the qualification when looking for work?

I asked: Can you tell me how many of the 5,000 who pass each year go on to become full members?

I was told this information is classified.

As I need some kind of signifier as to how many people go on further and I can't have the data, surely the number of successful students to full members ratio is potential measurable data?

This information is classified.

I have been grilled to as why I want the data, and repeated the same useless stats for hours. All I want to know is the usefulness of this course. I am looking to quit teaching for an initially less paid post, and need a qualification to get me onto the ladder before I can further myself with CPD once in lower-end post. If I'm prepared to take this huge leap, I would prefer to find out what I'm getting in to.

Can I ask your members... is the AAT as poor as the awful marketing rubbish I have encountered today? Does it get better? Oh, and will a level 4 qualification help get me a new career or should I try a different option?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated... unless you're from the marketing department.

Comments

  • burgburg Experienced Mentor GloucesterPosts: 1,440Moderator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant
    Straight Answer - YES if you are prepared to make it work!

    Firstly I can see your frustration at the lack of information that you have been given.

    I can see the importance of why you would like the information but I cannot comment on the AAT and their answers as I do not have the data either.

    You will see from posts on here if you do some scanning that quite a few who qualify and that are students are looking for work and some have been for some time. Could this be down to a lack of demand for the qualification? Could it be lack of roles in that area of the country? Or could it be a selection of poor candidates? I'm afraid I don't have the answer.

    I myself decided to make the switch in 2006. I was working as a Pharmacy Technician in the NHS going, I felt, nowhere. I started by studying the AAT straight at intermediate level. I went to a lot of interviews and I struggled to convince many that I could make the switch. I was offered some roles but turned them down for different reasons. Often the reason being offered considerably less than the role was advertised for.

    I did make the move in May 2007 to a small firm of chartered accountants. I set up my company at a similar time. I think it proves it can be done but it could possibly be down to you, how much you want it and who in your local area is willing to give you that chance.

    I certainly think the qualification is worth it and have decided for now that going on to do a chartered qualification would not add value to what I offer my clients.

    The AAT has certainly improved its standing within the profession over the past years and the big four firms are reportedly taking on AAT's as well as graduates. I also read a report that AAT's perform better in ICAEW exams than any other students.

    Simple answer is YES! But it is also down to what you are prepared to do with the qualification and how much you want to make the qualification work. There are certainly some very good AAT members that are very knowledgeable and could go on to Chartered Qualifications but have felt that their AAT membership alone fulfils the needs of themselves, their employers/clients.

    I am certainly proud to be an AAT full member and it has fulfilled everything I wanted from it.
    Regards,

    Burg
  • PGMPGM Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 1,954Registered
    The vast majority of AAT students are in accountancy employment, and the course is paid for by their employers. I think this in itself shows you how they value the course.

    And when someone is being interviewed for an accounts position, being qualified of even part qualified gives you a big advantage.
  • VonniVonni Feels At Home Posts: 63Registered
    I'm sorry you don't appear to be getting the information you want but I can assure you that the AAT qualification is worth it and the back up you get is excellent. I passed my AAT qualification in 1995 and became a fellow member in 2000 and am now a MIP with my own sucessful business, in addition to working for a firm of Chartered Accountants.

    The AAT branch meetings are brilliant and the CPD mastercourses are equal to any that I attend through my employment.

    You will regularly see the AAT qualification mentioned in advertisements - I held a senior management position having worked as a financial controller for 10 years.

    The accountants I now work for most of the ACCA qualified staff have got there via the AAT route and there is absolutely nothing that can hold you back other than yourself - if you want it go for it, you must meet the challenge and network go to the local branch meetings - my sister is AAT qualified with her own sucessful business and also on the committee of the local branch.

    Good luck!
  • JodieRJodieR Experienced Mentor Posts: 1,002Registered
    I agree with Burg. I can see why you're frustrated with not being given any hard statistics and I'm surprised that there aren't any, but even if they were avaliable I don't think you should be basing your decision on that.

    I'll not bore you with the details, but I was between about 19 and 22 when I did the AAT qualification (I'm 30 now so I appreciate things may have changed since then) and attended a variety of colleges etc during my training. Most of the students in my classes were between 16 & 18 and doing NVQs in accounting and most of them didn't want to be there - they used to mess around in class, skyve off at any opportunity, never bothered studying for exams and basically didn't care. The pass rate was dismal. I wouldn't be surprised if even the ones that did eventually scrape through never looked for/got a job in accounting. But I worked damn hard and passed everything first time and never had a problem finding employment. For the past 4 years I've been working for myself and, like burg, I don't have any desire to get any further accounting qualifications (although I did qualify with the ATT a few years later which is a fantastic course to go on.)


    "As I need some kind of signifier as to how many people go on further"

    The thing is, think about A levels, some people do them and get into Oxford and end up being professors and others scrape through & end up working in tescos for the next 10 years.

    As you are probably aware, the AAT qualification covers a range of accounting subjects and it provides a good overview into the various aspects of finance. If you are unsure which sector you want to end up in then you'll probably enjoy learning about the options and by the time you finish you'll probably have agood idea of where you want to take it. After that if you decide that you have the money / time / desire to take further qualifications to specialise in a particular area you'll probably be exempt from some exams being AAT qualified, or you may find a job which you love which the AAT qualification enables you to do competently.
    On the other hand, if you know now exactly where you want to end up you may find some of the AAT modules irrelevant. For example, if you know you want to be a management accountant you may be better off going straight to CIMA rather than wasting time/money learning the basics about tax and auditing.

    Good Luck!
  • deanshepherddeanshepherd Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 1,809Registered
    All good comments above.

    I would add that doing the AAT qualification outside of employment in an accounts role may not be the best approach to a career change. In a similar vein, completing an accountancy degree is not going to make you an accountant. You need to get a job in accountancy and learn on the job and study along the way.

    Many people around the world study ACCA in the hope that it will guarantee them a good job when they pass all the exams. However, they soon find that they have all the qualifications and no experience - making them unattractive to potential employers.

    Studying AAT in this way is not quite so detrimental to a career in accountancy but it is not the route I would recommend.

    As for the value of the qualification, I would not now be a Chartered Tax Adviser running my own practice without it.

    In fact I am putting my assistant through the qualification too.
  • PGMPGM Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 1,954Registered
    All good comments above.

    I would add that doing the AAT qualification outside of employment in an accounts role may not be the best approach to a career change. In a similar vein, completing an accountancy degree is not going to make you an accountant. You need to get a job in accountancy and learn on the job and study along the way.

    Many people around the world study ACCA in the hope that it will guarantee them a good job when they pass all the exams. However, they soon find that they have all the qualifications and no experience - making them unattractive to potential employers.

    Studying AAT in this way is not quite so detrimental to a career in accountancy but it is not the route I would recommend.

    As for the value of the qualification, I would not now be a Chartered Tax Adviser running my own practice without it.

    In fact I am putting my assistant through the qualification too.

    The problem at the moment is the amount of people struggling to get a job. In the past I'd say study while you work. But if you can't get the job, then maybe worth studying to help you get a job?

    Is your assistant doing AAT? I think we'll be getting a new assistant, and to be honest I'd prefer them to do AAT than chartered. As its more relevant to that level.
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