From Restaurant Manager to Accountant in just three months
Name: Anurag Rai
Course: AAT Level 2 and Level 3 Combined
Why did you decide to enrol on an AAT Accountancy course?
I have worked in restaurants as a manager for over 10 years. At one point I was running my own restaurant. Whilst running my own business I realized that I really enjoyed bookkeeping and various other financial sides of the business.
I now wanted to have a career in Accounting and Finance. I did a lot of research – browsed the internet, spoke to friends already in the sector and read various forums. I was then convinced that with no foundation knowledge in accounting, an AAT accountancy course was the best place to start for me. AAT courses are really good as they give you the flexibility to start at different levels based on your skills.
What made you choose distance learning over a traditional college?
I had just become a father and had a full time job. I needed flexibility for my studies and distance learning was the only solution.
Why did you choose ICS Learn?
I did some research online and came to the conclusion that ICS Learn was the best place for me. Cost was a big deciding factor for me! ICS Learn's distance learning courses are extremely good value for money. The option to pay a reasonable deposit and then spread the cost over ten monthly interest-free instalments worked out perfectly for me. Without this I probably would have never started.
How did you balance having a baby, a full-time job and your studies?
It requires commitment and focus. I started waking up early and studied in the morning before my baby and wife would wake up. I studied about 3 hours every morning and revised whenever I could during the day on my phone, with the help of green light tests on the AAT website and online tests on the ICS Learn student community.
What did you enjoy most about your courses?
I enjoyed studying a topic and then relating it to the real world. The course helped me to understand businesses better than ever before.
How did the support available from tutors and mentors help you achieve your qualification?
The mentors at ICS Learn were really good as they kept motivating me throughout the course and were very easy to contact. Learning online can sometimes make you feel a bit isolated, so it's great to have someone to talk to, share your experiences with and monitor your progress. These are all small things, but really help your motivation. The tutors were helpful, knowledgeable, available and very easy to understand. They also had a good response time.
How did you achieve both Level 2 and Level 3 in such a short, record time?
There is no simple way of doing this. I kept my head down, utilised all the support I was getting from ICS Learn and AAT and ensured I studied to understand the topic and not just to pass the exam. If you fully understand one topic before you move on to the next it helps in the long run, especially as you move on to Level 3.
What were the most challenging aspects of Level 2 and then the Level 3 course?
Understanding bookkeeping is most vital in Level 2. It is not particularly difficult, but you must practice a lot until you fully understand the topic. In Level 3 I found the module on Ethics a bit challenging. There is a lot of theory to it and the subject can become a bit dull, especially for distance learners. The key is to practise a lot of situation questions. This will not only help you for exams, but will also enhance your understanding of the concepts which will be very useful in your ICAS project for Level 4 and at work.
Did you find moving on from Level 2 to Level 3 particularly challenging?
Level 3 is definitely more challenging and requires additional hours of studying, but that's what you should expect (its a level up after all). Level 2 introduces some key concepts of accounting. If you fully understand them, you shouldn't find Level 3 too difficult.
What advice would you give to future online and distance learners?
Make full use of the resources available to you and do not be in any doubt over your decision to study AAT. It will change your life for the better, so give it your best. Divide the topics into the number of days you think it will take you to finish them and then stick to the plan. Use short breaks in between your daily tasks for revision on the go. And always carry a pocket calculator, a small pad and a pen/pencil, because you never know when you get the opportunity to do some revision.
Have you been offered a new job based on the qualifications you have achieved?
After completing Level 3 I have been offered a role at my current job. I now work as an Accounting Technician.
What are you hoping to achieve next?
I have just completed my AAT Level 4 and have been approved by AAT to use "MAAT" after my name. The next step for me is ACCA and I also just enrolled on a university course as well.