AAT qualifications: opening doors to a variety of professions and industries

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For 16 and 18 year-olds across the country, exams are over and the countdown to those precious results papers are well underway. Once results are received, many will be asking the question ‘what now’?

Throughout the years, AAT has helped many thousands of young people with an interest in a finance career answer that question. 

This summer, we’re conducting research with 18-24 year olds to uncover their attitudes towards their future careers. This is part of our #SkillsThatCount campaign, demonstrating how  important  finance skills can be, whatever your background and whatever industry you’re trying to break into. We’ll be uncovering:

  • how young workers are challenging the concept of having just one career, instead adding skills that align with their passion and hobbies
  • the fears and barriers of young workers in relation to the jobs market
  • the views of young workers on entrepreneurialism, and how their career choice could eventually lead them down this path.

As a teaser for our campaign, here’s three stories of young professionals who went down the AAT Accounting Qualifications path to aid their careers, despite working in very different industries to accountancy:

Industry: Media

Jess Brindle MAAT, Finance Manager at Social Chain Ltd

Completed Professional Diploma in Accounting (Level 4)

Before I began studying with AAT I was a football coach. I’ve always had an aptitude for maths and I picked up excel quite easily. I like the logic of finance, the maths and the responsibility, therefore I decided to gain an AAT qualification.

“For the past 2 years I have been working as a management accountant in Social Chain Ltd, a social media marketing firm. It’s the impact of social media on our everyday lives and what Social Chain stands for, which led me to choose to work here. Recently I was promoted to Finance Manager after becoming AAT qualified.

“It was tough to complete my qualifications, as I was working full time while studying and taking evening classroom lessons. The sense of achievement when passing exams helped me to enjoy studying and push further.

“I’ve learned so much already by doing AAT, and as I’ve progressed along the levels my responsibilities at work have increased. I now manage a team of three and I am helping them to learn and improve. Everyone in my team is studying AAT and it’s important to me that I pass on my knowledge and help them to develop. The next step for me is going to become chartered and move onto a Financial Controller position, but obviously that’s going to take me a few years.”

Industry: Sport

Sam Cosgrove, Aberdeen FC striker

Currently studying AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting (Level 3)

“I started my studies mainly as a back-up plan, in case my aspirations of being a footballer should ever fail. Accounting was an area I was interested in, and it could open up a wide area of job potential.

 “An AAT qualification is a great stepping stone, it opens up a lot of avenues whether in accountancy itself or elsewhere; because accounting is such a highly regarded skill to have. Whatever happens in the future, it was a good decision that will put me in good stead.”

“The most rewarding part of my studies is knowing that I am using my spare time productively, in order to gain new and important skills within accountancy.

“It can be a challenge, after a full day at a physically and mentally demanding job, to find the time and motivation to sit down and learn new content. But at the same time, learning allows me to switch my mind away from the stresses of my job, therefore allowing me to concentrate even more when on the training ground.

“The Scottish PFA also offers a vast network of support, ranging from 24/7 careers advice to putting on free skills sessions, such as the IT course I am currently taking.”

Industry: Technology

Olivia Evans, Finance Business-Partner-Group at The Sure Chill Company

Currently studying Professional Diploma in Accounting (Level 4)

“My current role is as Finance Business Partner – Group, for The Sure Chill Company. They are a pioneer in the refrigeration market, established in the vaccine refrigerator market and developing the technology into other potential markets. The company sells to more than 49 companies globally, turns over £3m per year and has recently received £4m in investment to scale the business to the next level.

“I began studying the AAT course when I was19. This is when I was working at Tiger Cardiff a £5million+ turnover business as a finance apprentice. I had studied accounts and bookkeeping briefly at A level and enjoyed it but the AAT course allowed me to build on this knowledge.

“It is beneficial to my current employment but also allowed me to expand my understanding in order that I could progress to a more challenging role. I study at college part-time as one day a week.

“I enjoy the day to day bookkeeping aspect of my role. It allows me to gain inside knowledge of all aspects of the business and helps with managing the accountancy aspect of month end. My employer is very accommodating by allowing me to have a day release to study at college. They also allow me to have additional holidays during exam periods for revision.

“I enjoy working in The Sure Chill company  and working outside the finance sector as it allows me to diversify my employment profile to now include technology.”

AAT will be issuing its #SkillsThatCount research results during A-Level Results Week (12-16 August 2019).

For more on the benefits of social mobility:

Adam Harwood is AAT's Media Relations Manager.

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