After work, Ashley is happy with a Perfect Score or a Black Dog

aat comment

Life shouldn’t be all work and no play – some accountants manage to combine their numeracy with fun and games.

Ashley Owen MAAT doesn’t just leave the numbers at work at the end of the day, he carries his love of numbers over to his after-work hobby. 

As an assistant accountant working alongside his company’s finance director, Ashley assists with day-to-day finance tasks like bank reconciliations, VAT returns, month-end accounting and management reporting. 

After work, he can be found concentrating on some slightly different numbers – either at the pub dartboard or at home practising his throws. 

In a game of darts, the objective is to reduce a fixed score (usually 301 or 501) to zero, so there is quite a bit of arithmetic involved. 

“My arithmetic has definitely improved since I started playing darts,” says Ashley. “You’re constantly having to add up and take away.” 

Game on 

He first began playing darts when his older brother was playing professionally. 

“He played [in the youth level] for England at one point – he was quite a good player,” Ashley explains. “He always had a dartboard up at his flat and we would go around and play.”

Then when Ashley was about 18, he started to take darts more seriously. 

“I bought my own set and put my dartboard up in the living room. From there I started playing in the pub league. Confidence is a big issue for me. I can play well in practice, but then when it comes to playing properly in front of people, my nerves can get the better of me. So, unfortunately, I don’t get the results that I’d like to in tournaments. I watch it quite a lot as well – the world series and all the online events. It’s a good game to play and I enjoy it – it’s something that my brother and I share.”

Arrow talk

Test your knowledge of darts – what do the following five phrases mean? (The answers are at the end of this article.)

  1. Perfect Score
  2. Black Dog
  3. Three In A Bed
  4. Shanghai 
  5. Sunset Strip

Hitting a career bullseye 

His hobby fits well with his chosen career in accountancy. 

“We had a careers day at school, and one of the careers I chose to look into was accountancy,” he explains. “I decided to go to college and I did AAT Foundation and Advanced – I did that in about nine months. I really enjoyed the course and I made some good friends on the course.” 

Ashley then took up a role at a local college as a trainee accountant and they supported him to complete his AAT Professional qualification. Although he struggled to get over the last hurdle – the credit control exam – he eventually completed AAT Professional.

“I decided to become a professional member of AAT, as it is a well-recognised qualification,” he says. “When I was going for interviews and meetings with recruiters, I was able to have ‘MAAT’ after my name and it opened doors. It is also the self-fulfilment of being to look at my certificate and see that I have achieved a high-level qualification.”

Ashley’s employer encouraged him to carry on his studies with CIPFA, but he was keen to pursue management accounting. He left his role at the college and soon landed the job with his current employer, CMT Steel Services, where he has now been for almost a year. 

“I like the commercial feel of the business and the open-plan office. You can hear and be in earshot of sales, accounts, operations and even the managing director, so you feel involved in each department and process.” 

He has also recently started working towards a CIMA qualification. 

Darts goes digital 

Darts is one sport that continued despite the Covid-19 pandemic. While many of its traditional venues, such as pubs, where closed, there were online darts leagues set up over lockdown, which Ashley participated in. 

“I’ve been practising a lot at home, but there are some online leagues now,” he explains. “So you have your webcam set up facing the dartboard – there are apps and online sites for scoring – and you can actually play someone as if you’re face to face. It’s great for me because I get nervous in front of people, so it was like playing on my own. It was good for my confidence.”   

Arrow talk – answers

And the answers are…

  1. A Perfect score in darts is called the triple 20.
  2. The Double Bull is sometimes referred to as the Black Dog.
  3. When all three darts land in the same area of the same number.
  4. To hit the single, the double, and the triple of the same number in a single round.
  5. To score 77 points in a single round


AAT Comment offers news and opinion on the world of business and finance from the Association of Accounting Technicians.

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