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AAT Case Study – Danielle Chelley

I started thinking about getting some finance qualifications in 2019.  I was working in a dual role.  Part of my role was as a Budget Analyst.  The finance side really interested me and I knew I wanted to progress to a full time accounts based job.  I did some research and spoke to my employer who was happy to support me with AAT.

I started the AAT level 2 course at CAW Business School in September.  I did the evening class option so it didn’t disrupt my work.  In total I took 5 exams that year finishing in July 2020.  It was hard work juggling work and study but I really enjoyed it.  My results were really good and I got a distinction overall. 

Once I finished level 2 I looked at what options I had.  I could have moved to ACCA at this point, which my employer recommended, or stay with AAT moving on to level 3 then level 4.  I was keen to keep going with AAT and could see how the range of units at level 3 and 4 would really help my career path.  I knew I could get some exemptions from ACCA if I did it this way.  Getting a full AAT qualification was important to me. 

I enrolled on level 3 in September 2020, this time on the day class rather than the evening.  Some of my studies were disrupted by Covid restrictions but CAW kept our lessons going online.  I prefer being in the classroom but it was really good that I could keep studying through Covid.  Overall it didn’t delay me at all which I was really pleased about. I did find concentration harder online because I prefer interaction.  Whether we were online or in the classroom, joining in is really important.  There were lots of changes for me during my studies but you just have to keep going.  I had to change my study schedule a couple of times to make sure I could keep up while making sure there was enough time for my family and my job. 

I started level 4 in September 2021, finishing as planned in November 2022.  For the optional units I studied the two tax units Personal and Business Tax.  The information in these is so useful for every part of life.  The Budgeting units were my favourite ones, I do a lot of this at work which meant I could relate what I was learning directly to my role.  I also found forecasting and the relevance variances really interesting.  Level 4 has a combination of calculation and written answers.  I didn’t like the written questions at first but I worked hard to get better at these.  All the hard work paid off when I got my highest mark at level 4 in my final exam, 95%, I couldn’t believe it.  Looking back I am pleased I stuck with AAT and am proud to have achieved my level 3 and 4 with a merit.  Professionally I have just secured a secondment and am working abroad for 3 years.  I know I will go from strength to strength and my AAT qualification will help me get there.  I will continue my studies and am looking to move onto ACCA once I have settled in to my secondment.  If anyone is looking for advice I would definitely recommend AAT.  The subjects included are interesting and beneficial for a variety of work roles. AAT formed such a good base for all level of accounting roles and even today I refer back to the basics from Level 2.  It is important to set yourself a study plan and stick to it.  I worked hard outside classroom lessons and did lots of practice questions for every subject.  Joining a class worked for me, hearing what others were doing and the camaraderie of my class mates definitely worked for me. 

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