Real Stories

ICS Real Stories: Sarah | Online AAT Foundation Certificate Review



Our superstar student Sarah started her AAT studies at Foundation level and has now worked her way through to Professional - gaining a promotion to Finance Officer along the way!


After returning to work from maternity leave I realised that I needed a complete career change to be able to provide for my family well and set my children up for the best future possible. 

I had one GCSE and really didn’t know where to start. That GCSE was in mathematics and I had worked in admin roles, so I decided to look up accountancy courses online to see what was available. 

ICS Learn and AAT came up on search engines, so I explored their websites, ICS Learn was very easy to navigate. 

I was extremely worried about starting education, not only with a new baby and the cost but because I didn’t have a great record of finishing courses I started. 

The live chat service really helped to put my mind at ease and the monthly instalments meant it was much better to manage finances. 

I started by studying the AAT Level 2 Foundation Certificate in Accounting. I found the tutors easy to contact and the exam centre very helpful. 

I sailed through my level 2 exams and started the next level – after my first level 3 exam I managed to strike gold and land my first ever accounts administrator role in a medium-sized hazardous waste management company. 

It was going to be extremely hard work with my new line manager due to go on maternity leave within 3 months and them hoping for me to take the lead. 

I managed to take in all the information alongside studying for level 3 to take on the finance manager role within 3 months! This included many benefits, one of them being a salary increase. 

I managed to do every part of the accounting procedure needed with support from our self-employed accountants.  Level 3 was completed so it was on to Level 4! 

While studying for my Level 4 I went on maternity leave with my second child and received another salary increase (the second one in a year). 

While on maternity leave, I completed another 2 modules of Level 4 and my line manager left the business. This opened the doors for my career to accelerate without me even being there! 

I was promoted to Finance Officer and am now responsible for all of the company’s accounting department, I really can’t believe the journey I have been on.

I really can’t believe that I, the person who never finishes anything is here in this managerial role with a 70% salary increase compared to when I started 3 years ago.

 I would recommend ICS and AAT to anyone who is willing to commit as I am proof that it can change your life. 

I have passed every exam to date and am on track for merit for Level 4 with one optional exam left to take.

 I am also now looking at taking my education further to achieve an honours degree and chartered accountancy with the ACCA.


Inspired by Sarah's story? Find out more about our online AAT accountancy and bookkeeping courses. 


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