Name: Thomas Cruise

Lives in: Torquay

Studied: AAT Level 2 Certificate in Accounting

Currently studying: AAT Level 3 Diploma in Accounting

Why ICS? His friends recommended it, and it allows him to balance his work and his studies.

Since he was five years old, Thomas, like so many other young boys, dreamed of becoming a professional footballer. But for him, it wasn’t just a dream. He was signed by Arsenal Football Club Academy when he was seven, and went on to play for the Arsenal F.C. Reserves until he was 20.


Thomas currently plays for Torquay united football club, but he’s recently taken on a completely different challenge: earning the qualifications he needs in order to become a qualified accountant. He’s already earned his AAT Level 2 Certificate and is currently enrolled on the AAT Level 3 diploma course.

“You should always have qualifications to fall back on”

Although Thomas continues to enjoy a successful career as an athlete, he understands the importance of developing skills beyond the pitch. He wants to be prepared for life after football.

“Like many unlucky young footballers, injuries have haltered my career and I've always seemed to take one step forward and two back,” he explains.

“I think it’s important to look beyond the career as a footballer because it comes to an end between the ages of 34 and 38 - sometimes sooner due to injury. I’ve had a few serious injuries in my career, and you should always have qualifications to fall back on.”

“I’m very excited to see what I can achieve for myself”

Many may assume that accounting is dull, particularly compared to professional football. However, for Thomas it’s quite the contrary. His natural knack for maths has made accounting an alluring career opportunity.  

“I’ve always been really good with numbers, so the decision to choose accountancy was a no-brainer. I wish to enter this field of work once I complete my Level 3 course, and am very excited to see what I can achieve for myself.”

“I have a passion inside myself to gain these qualifications”

It was Thomas’ friends who pointed him in the direction of ICS, but it’s his passion for learning that keeps him motivated.

“I chose to study with ICS because my friends who are also accountants have completed their courses and recommended that this was the best route to choose. I couldn't agree more with them myself. I enjoy learning new things and have a passion inside myself to gain these qualifications."

“ICS is great because it allows you to balance your work and studying time, and you can go at your own pace. My tutor is on hand for me to ask any questions, which is always handy, and it was very easy to sign up and enrol.”

“I’m constantly scanning over my books”

Although adding AAT courses on top of his football commitments requires some juggling, Thomas finds that online learning complements his schedule well.

“Being a professional footballer, I have a bit more free time to get my head down and crack on with these courses, and I aim to complete all AAT levels in a reasonable time."

“It’s not a typical nine-to-five job, so I've always got a couple hours spare in the afternoon to get my head down and study. I’m constantly scanning over my books whenever I get a chance.”

"It all links together and becomes easier to learn”

Thomas enjoyed learning the basics of accountancy in his Level 2 course, and he’s excited to expand his knowledge further with Level 3. He’s found some aspects of his studies more challenging than others, but the overall experience has been rewarding.

“Learning about the double entry bookkeeping was quite challenging because it’s one of the first things you learn in the first assessment. At first I was puzzled by just looking at it, but it all links together and becomes easier to learn."

“I would say learning how to set up a business on Sage was most enjoyable thing to learn. I have not really used a computer to that extent since school, and inputting all the data - such as invoices, purchases and recurring entries - and seeing it all come together at the end in the trial balance was very exciting.”

“Do it at your own pace”

When asked what advice he would give other AAT students who’ve just enroled on the course, Thomas says to take your time. 

“Just keep at it and to do it at your own pace. It’s not a rush; so don't try to do too much at once. Balance it out with your home and work life.”

Watch out for more ‘ICS Real Stories' right here on our blog. In the meantime, find out more about the AAT distance learning courses that Thomas has enroled on.