What’s next after your AAT qualification?

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Have you spent so much time studying, you haven’t had a chance to think about what’s next after completing your AAT qualification? Three AAT qualified individuals share their inspirational journeys.

Become a chartered global management accountant

Melanie Walker progressed from AAT to Chartered Global Management Accountant with CIMA, and now works for Deloitte as Internal Audit Manager.

Melanie was recruited to work in the indirect tax team at Deloitte but an interest in risk and control led her to change her career direction. She transferred from VAT to the internal audit team, and felt that becoming chartered would give her the extra support she needed.

Looking back she wishes she’d progressed onto her chartered training sooner. “I left a long gap between the two qualifications but I’d advise students not to wait too long before progressing. The skills and knowledge you’ve already gained with AAT will complement the syllabus.”

From both her AAT qualification and the CIMA qualification Melanie has found colleagues and clients value her input, which has in turn lead to her gaining more respect from senior Deloitte staff. “The knowledge I’ve gained ensures I have a broad understanding across different areas of the business, and having both qualifications on my CV demonstrates I’m a committed individual who strives to further my career.”

For more information about CIMA and becoming a charted global management accountant check out this video.

Become a MAAT

Darren Theobald was a taxi driver working 80 hours a week with very little time for family. He decided to study the AAT Accounting Qualification in order to give himself some work/life balance.

“I had always wanted to work in a professional environment and the flexibility AAT offered me meant I could study from home without attending college and still work.”

Darren recognised how competitive the industry was and that having a qualification does not always guarantee you a job. “I decided to look into unpaid work experience and was offered an intern role at NHS Southend University Hospital in the finance department for two days a week. This was a big decision for me as it meant I lost income and there was no guarantee of a job at the end.”

However Darren soon realised that this was a gamble worth taking. “After completing my work experience, I received a job offer from the hospital within the management accounts department.”

Once AAT qualified, Darren applied for a more senior role at Mid-Essex Hospital Services Trust and currently works there as an Assistant Finance Manager.

“The ability to finish work and be home within 10 minutes to spend time with my family and study for my next qualification is priceless.”

Become self-employed

Michelle Fox left college at 19, desperate to start a career in finance and embarked upon the AAT Accounting Qualification.

Having completed her studies, she worked in various accountancy practices for 15 years before she decided to set up her own accountancy practice, Fox Accountancy Services. “I’ve always wanted to be my own boss, and have something of my own, that I could be proud of.”

Michelle wanted to create an accountancy firm that had a personal touch. “I wanted to be the one making the decisions about the services that I offer to clients. I felt I was working in an environment where the production line had taken the personal touch away from the client relationship. This motivated me to start up my own business where every client is treated as an individual.”

Winning The Bookkeepers Network Most Innovative Accounting Firm 2013 award was a huge achievement for Michelle. “I am a single mum and have spent 15 years building my home and career, so it’s nice to have some recognition for all that hard work.  It’s fantastic to have my daughter tell me she is proud of me and that she has a role model she can look up to.”

“AAT has provided me with an authorising body that my clients trust and recognise and offered me indispensable advice and guidance into how I could set up on my own business.”


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

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