Newest Review: ... course. So a couple of weeks later I found myself sat in a classroom, with a group of people (mostly younger than me) who all ... more
AAT and Accountancy
Accountancy in general
Member Name: laurasavon
Accountancy in general
Advantages: Understanding of many financial principals
Disadvantages: Hard work, several years study
As someone who was working within a Finance Department (albeit not in a specifically financial role - more planning than accounting) I decided that as part of my development plan I would like to increase my financial knowledge to help me understand what is is my stakeholders were responsible for (mainly accountants) and also keep my options open for the future.
I decided to look into classroom based courses, as I felt that having other people to study with would be better than going it alone. After looking at my local college website I saw the AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) have 3 courses available, Foundation, Intermediate and Technician. So off I went to my local college to the open day and enrolled myself onto the Intermediate course.
So a couple of weeks later I found myself sat in a classroom, with a group of people (mostly younger than me) who all seemed to know each other as they had completed the Foundation course together. Initial thoughts were I should have done the course from the first level rather than jumping in at the deep end but it did save me a year of studying. However, after speaking to some of the other students a lot of the work they did in the first year was around health and safety rather than concentrating totally on accountancy. I did struggle with a few of the basics having not sat the Foundation level and I would recommend anyone thinking of skipping the first year to read up on some of the basic principals.
The Intermediate level covers the following topics:
Accounts Preparation (1 and 2)
Indirect Tax (i.e. VAT)
Costs and Revenues
All of the exams are computer based and with the exception of Spreadsheets are marked by the computer so the results are available within 15 minutes.
The topics flow well and all have example tests on the AAT website, although I would recommend classroom learning rather than trying to learn from a book as some of the principals need context.
The intermediate course lasts 18 months as does the Technician level which I am currently studying (although I believe some colleges squeeze them into 12 months). The intermediate is more numbers focused whereas with the Technician level there is more freedom of choice for the topics you study and many are more principal based rather than number crunching and there is also a written project to complete. Unfortunately Technician exams are not instantly marked so can take up to six weeks for the results.
So my experience of Accountancy, I remember on my first day at college being told "accountants are boring people" and I can sort of see how some of the number crunching they do why they would be perceived in that way as I do find the day to day updating of data fairly tedious. However, the side that interests me is more the forecasting and budgeting side where things aren't as black and white.
To anyone thinking of becoming an Accountant, prepare yourself for hard work, several years of studying (with course fees circa £1k) and lots of exams. If you can try and find a job which supports the course as it would help the understanding of your learning.
Summary: Accountancy may be perceived as boring but it is what you make it