Launching your finance career after your AAT studies

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If you’re heading towards the latter stages of your AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting, it’s time to apply for AAT full membership (MAAT). We spoke to Shakeel Dhunna MAAT about his fascinating journey and the benefits he’s seen from MAAT status.

A bit about Shakeel

Shakeel was a Chemical Engineering graduate from the University of Birmingham. He took a summer job as a baggage handler and forgot to leave. Six years later, a very early and particularly cold morning gave him a wake-up call – he didn’t want to be working outside the rest of his life.

After some research into accountancy, and discovering it’s not just made up of auditing and trawling through receipts looking for missing pennies, Shakeel set his sights on AAT. He started studying towards his Foundation Certificate in Accounting in September 2014 and then went on to do Levels 3 and 4.

He now works as a Management Accounts Assistant at BDO LLP in Internal Finance and is currently completing ACCA.

The process of applying for MAAT

Shakeel gained his MAAT status just one month after completing his Professional Diploma in Accounting.

“Once you’ve done Level 4, you’ve completed all the AAT education requirements so it’s then nice to become a full member. Whether you decide to go on to ACCA or not, you’re a full member of an accounting body.

The process was very easy, there are a few questions and you need a referee but there are examples given and they make it very clear what they want to see.”

Read the MAAT membership application guide here.

Fulfilling the work experience requirement for MAAT

To attain MAAT status, you have to have completed a certain amount of work experience. Work experience examples can come from any role that you’ve had, whether it was finance-related or not. It could also be a voluntary or temporary role.

You can use a different workplace for each area, or use the same one for all competences.

Shakeel had already been working for two years in a small accountancy practice and was able to achieve the work experience criteria from that.

“I was working in accounts payable at the time but with extra duties with the treasury function and managing cash-flow. As AAT is a working qualification, I did a full-time job alongside my studies so I was able to fulfil the experience as I was going along.

For my referee, I asked a qualified accountant from the business who was the client manager and responsible for the preparation of management accounts and was assisting me in ensuring the payables side was looked after.”

The benefits of MAAT membership

It’s not just the letters after your name (although they do look very impressive). Typically, MAATs earn £7,000 more a year than an AAT graduate without professional membership, and FMAATs earn £16,200 more. As a MAAT status holder, you’ll also get access to a range of free CPD and professional resources to help you stay at the top of your game.

“It’s had a positive impact on my career, giving me a springboard to the main chartered bodies (with exam exemptions). It gives you a reputable standing in the market place where experience triumphs over qualifications. I’m also now able to start my own practice as an AAT Licensed Accountant and become my own boss.”

In summary

MAAT membership is the obvious next step after AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting and comes with lots of advantages. The process for applying is straightforward and it’s likely that you’ll already have the relevant work experience or easily be able to accomplish it. 

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Sophie Cross is the Editor of Freelancer Magazine and a freelance writer and marketer at Thoughtfully.

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