Accounting qualification help needed!

(45 Posts)
Anotherdayanotherwalk Tue 10-Nov-20 23:29:34

Hi, I'm wanting to start on the path to become a qualified accountant. I did a lot of digging and settled upon a training provider to begin my AAT Level 2. Having looked into it again as we're approaching actually being able to afford it, I came across something that said other qualifications such as ACCA would be required to be a chartered accountant. Having looked further into that my mind is boggled. I need to sit down properly and have a good look, but wondered if anyone could give me any advice about where might be best to start, or which qualifications might be best to do first.


OP’s posts: |
LouiseTrees Tue 10-Nov-20 23:33:35

That’s right. But do you want to just be an accountant or do you want to be chartered. Attached picture is from the ACCA website.

MotherofTerriers Tue 10-Nov-20 23:34:14

Have a look at the websites of the main accounting bodies. They all show the routes to qualification, it should help you choose the one which suits you best.

LouiseTrees Tue 10-Nov-20 23:38:35

However from AAT website it seems like if you pass all those exams you get exemptions from all the major bodies. And to be honest this is the route I thought people I knew has gone before

LouiseTrees Tue 10-Nov-20 23:39:56

Happy to chat further about goals etc to understand what is best.

mrsbyers Tue 10-Nov-20 23:50:52

AAT is really entry level , most then carry on to study ACCA or CIMA depending on the type of accounting they enjoy

MrJollyLivesNextDoor Wed 11-Nov-20 00:20:31

Worth checking what exemptions you actually get from CIMA etc with an AAT qualification

Depending how far you want to go, might be best to start with one of the chartered bodies rather than the AAT exemption route

PickleWithEverything Wed 11-Nov-20 02:34:19

Do AAT then CIMA. I think the exemptions are better. AAT has a good reputation, so I would say go for it.

Betsyboo87 Wed 11-Nov-20 04:46:39

I went straight to ACCA instead of going through the AAT route first so it is possible. AAT would have given me exemptions to the first level of ACCA but would have taken me much longer so I decided against it. On the flip side, you can achieve AAT quicker than ACCA so you have a full qualification earlier even if it’s a lower level.

Going straight to ACCA can be like diving into the deep end. AAT would be a more gentle introduction. However if you have the time to commit then go for it. I actually found the first level quite straightforward. They’re multiple choice exams that you can sit at anytime at an exam centre. I did them all in about 9 months. I found the jump to the second level harder, I don’t know if AAT may give you a better grounding though?

RainbowMum11 Wed 11-Nov-20 05:22:36

AAT does give you a really good understanding into the basics and principles of accounting that aren't covered as in depth through the foundation stages of ACCA/CIMA - they generally expect a basic level of understanding, even without exemptions.

Doing AAT first might also help you to narrow down your preferences in r tree works of going down the route of practice (ACCA) or industry (CIMA)

Anotherdayanotherwalk Wed 11-Nov-20 20:00:08

Thanks for all the responses. Crazy long day so haven't the brain power to start looking this evening but will have a look tomorrow on most likely have more questions if anyone is happy to answer grin

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torn2020 Wed 11-Nov-20 20:06:07

What's your background? Are you a graduate?

It's far more lucrative to get a training contract or apprenticeship than to self-fund. At my workplace we take on graduates for chartered training and apprentices for AAT then progressing to chartered. Pay a decent salary, cost of training courses and paid time off to study.

Sickofmysalary Wed 11-Nov-20 20:08:33

I’d definitely go for AAT first! That’s a stand-alone qualification then you can go on to ACCA or CIMA afterwards smile

AAT is just such a solid foundation.

Sickofmysalary Wed 11-Nov-20 20:08:58

@torn2020 any jobs going at your place grin

torn2020 Wed 11-Nov-20 20:13:30

Probably worth a look here:

Happierlife Wed 11-Nov-20 20:16:16

If you meet the criteria to be able to start ACCA or CIMA without AAT, I would do that if you want to become chartered. By completing AAT and then starting ACCA, you only get exemptions from 3 papers which you can attempt in less time than trying to complete AAT to level 4. I am not sure how it works for CIMA and AAT.

Anotherdayanotherwalk Wed 11-Nov-20 20:20:17

Thanks @torn2020. I have young DC so full time work at the moment isn't right for me. I wanted to get the studying in around naps/part time job and late nights/early mornings.

Not a graduate but straight As in core sciences and maths at A Level. Started uni but life happened and it never worked out for a multitude of reasons. Also can't afford a degree as have already used up 3 of my 4 years student finance funding as much as I'd have liked to have had that option.

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freezedriedromance Wed 11-Nov-20 20:24:19

I would do AAT first.
Especially as you aren't working in accounts right now. CIMA/ACCA are great, but AAT provides a great foundation. You may also find that you struggle to secure work if you complete ACCA without any work experience, on paper it looks like your academic knowledge outweighs your work based ability. I would also expect an entry level salary for your first accounts job even if you started on ACCA first, so from a cash point of view AAT is cheaper. Once you've done that a lot of places are happy to fund chartered study.

Sickofmysalary Wed 11-Nov-20 20:30:25

Totally agree with you @freezedriedromance

MilkshakeandFries Wed 11-Nov-20 20:35:41

You should be able to do Level 1 and Level 2 through a local provider free of charge, and probably through distance learning too.
Criteria is usually holding a level 2 qual already (GCSE equivalent), being over 23 and a UK resident for over 3 years.
Check with your local college and their linked business school.

Berthatydfil Wed 11-Nov-20 20:48:49

If you wanted to set yourself up to perform audits and sign off accounts you have to have have ACA, ACCA, CIMA. If you want to work as a book keeper or work in a business, local council, health board etc then you could get in with AAT level 3 or 4.

Dontbugmemalone Wed 11-Nov-20 20:50:51

I am currently doing AAT and started it before I had a full time job. I think it provides a good foundation, especially without experience for understanding and the exemptions are good for most chartership routes.
I can recommend an online learning provider which is flexible to study when you can.
AAT courses at college are generally 1 full day a week or 2 evening classes a week, depending on the college.

Dontbugmemalone Wed 11-Nov-20 20:56:18

I've just read that you've got a maths A level, someone I know also has one and was able to start AAT at level 3 so they skipped level 2.

Anotherdayanotherwalk Wed 11-Nov-20 20:58:26

Thanks all for the advice once more. I've had more.of a think and I really would want to be a chartered accountant. Initially I want to get to a point where I can have a part time job to get some experience after doing my AAT qualifications. I'd then ideally like to go self employed whilst DC are at school whilst still doing qualifications with the idea to then push on once DC are a bit older and self sufficient. Does that sound realistic? How much work experience would you realistically need to be able to set up alone for a few years? From what I'm seeing online this seems quite common with mother's becoming book keepers to go self employed. Is this the same for accountants or would you need far more experience before doing that? Could you offset that by charging less?

AAT does seem like a nicer introduction to the world of finance. I'm doing a sage course online for work at the moment and it's amazing how complex it's become without the background info on what actually profit and loss and balance sheets are etc etc so I'm looking forward to getting to grips with the fundamentals.

I'm not aware of any funding I can get for Level 2 AAT. I think I'm right in saying I can possibly get an advanced learners loan for the level 3 though.

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Anotherdayanotherwalk Wed 11-Nov-20 21:01:04

@Dontbugmemalone I haven't been able to find a local provider so am going to try the distance learning. That would be great to hear who your provider is. I had my eyes on premier training and have been in contact with them so far. How are you finding fitting in studying with life in general? Oh that's interesting. I did my A Levels around 10 years ago now so not sure if that's relevant. I'm also not very good at it, despite the grade grin

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