Like with most qualifications, Level 4 of the AAT Accounting Qualification is considered the hardest. In the first of a series of posts, VQ Learner of the year, Rachael De Bose, shares her experience of Level 4 and offers some tips for success.
I was thrown in at the deep end.
I researched for a qualification on the internet that would up-skill me as soon as possible, because it was essential that I got to grips with my new responsibilities as soon as I could. AAT fitted the bill. I didn’t fail any modules, but I was seriously dedicated: I studied extremely hard (most, if not every, evening).
My organisation paid for the qualification, but I got no time off so I knew my social life would be put on hold whilst I obtained the qualification. The great thing about AAT is it’s all based on practical learning, which means if you don’t have experience if you put in time and effort you can still succeed.
I found Unit 10 (now called Internal Controls and Accounting Systems [ICAS]) the hardest out of all the Level 4 units. No surprises there, I guess. I found there was so much information to learn and digest that it’s easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed.
It’s hard because you have to think so much more and you have to put your thoughts and reasons into words. While this is essential in accounting, it was a new skill to learn as we didn’t have to do this for any units in Level 2 and Level 3. Luckily I didn’t need too much support, it would have been difficult if I did because there isn’t anyone else working in accounts/finance in my office. Luckily my tutor was great and I could connect with him easily online and on the phone.
Top Tip: Don’t put it off. I did all three levels in a short space of time because it was essential for my job. I think it’s important to not have a break and to keep studying so everything is fresh in your mind. As soon as I passed an exam, I would immediately start revising for the next one. I didn’t allow myself time to worry and procrastinate. I would also recommend starting your ICAS project early, don’t leave it right to the end. Finally if you need help, seek it – social media means that people can direct you to useful resources which certainly come in handy if you’re studying through distance learning.
Rachael De Bose is an office manager at QSS (construction company). In 2011 Rachael was informed that the bookkeeper at QSS would be leaving and she’d be required to take on this role. Rachael studied AAT through distance learning and completed all three levels in eight months, all whilst working a 45-hour week.