For years, accounting and finance has been the remit of the elite, university-educated academics not for the average Joe. Involving years of studying and vast sums of money to qualify, simple people, like me, have come to the conclusion that accounting and finance simply will not ever be a part of my life. How was I to know that I was so mistaken.
Accounting has made leaps and bounds recently when it comes to inclusion. Employers and accounting bodies now recognise the need for accountants from all walks of life and have created qualifications that now fit around anyone’s lives. At the forefront of this crusade is the AAT.
The AAT offers a variety of accounting qualifications and certificates from the basic level all the way to highly specialised level. This means that you can choose a path that best fits your career and personal goals. Not only are the qualifications varied, they are also very manageable. With some qualifications taking less than 6 months, you are sure to find a direction that fits around your life and commitments.
AAT has several levels within it’s core accounting qualification. It mainly has 4 levels of accounting qualification. The Beginner's level of AAT is also known as Level 1 which is the starting level for many and there are no exams required. You may start AAT Level 2 Accounting Qualification without attending AAT Level 1 given that you have basic numeracy skills. AAT Level 2 is a Foundation Level Qualification and includes 5 assessments including one final Synoptic Assessment.
You may complete AAT Level 2 Accounting Qualification to start AAT Level 3 Accounting Qualification, which is an Intermediate level and includes 5 assessments including one final Synoptic Assessment. Alternatively, if you can prove that you have previous necessary education and experience, then you may be eligible for exemption from AAT Level 2 Accounting Qualification.
Finally, AAT level 4 Accounting Qualification is the top level of AAT qualification. It includes 6 assessments including one final Synoptic Assessment. At the end of the AAT level 4 Accounting Qualification you have an opportunity to get a prestigious title called MAAT. It shows greater credibility for you as an accredited accountant.
Besides being flexible and learner-centred, the qualifications through AAT are highly marketable. This is due to the fact that you will not only be able to show that you have the technical knowledge, you will also prove that you can easily handle the work of an accountant. The AAT exams are applied and based on real-world accounting, not only theory. Furthermore, you will also learn the vital computing skills on SAGE and Excel that is so sought after in the workplace.
Moreover, the stellar support that the AAT gives to its students and members will set you well on the way to becoming that high-flying accountant you have always dreamed of being. Through their job board and CPD offerings you are sure to quickly progress up the career ladder. But why not reach for the stars? After becoming a member of AAT you can easily enter an ACCA or CIMA course and be on your way to ruling the city in a matter of no time. With accountancy, the only thing stopping you is the limitations that you put on yourself.
I know what you are thinking: “Isn’t accounting boring?”. The simple answer to this is: no. There is no risk of boredom in the accounting profession. Accountants are lifelong learners and the profession offers innumerable opportunities for you to learn and master new topics and areas of practice. Whether it be management accounting, audit, tax or finance, you will find a topic that will make you excited to go into work.
So, still think that accounting is not a profession for anybody? Well, you are right. It is not for just anybody, it is for you. So, what’s stopping you? Take the plunge and take that first vital step into becoming the professional accountant. The world will open up for you, and, who knows, you may someday be sitting in your corner office overlooking the city wondering what ever stopped you from believing in yourself. Don’t dream, act! With Osborne training and the AAT, you will have the tools needed to make accounting a job fit for you.
Finally, thanks for reading this far and in my next article I will talk about other qualifications in accounting. Thanks in advance for sharing.
Mansur Shohag, Lecturer.