AAT Student Stories: Danielle Short | AAT Level 2 & 3 Review
Danielle never really knew what she wanted to do with her life until she studied a AAT Level 2 and 3 Combined Course in Accounting. Here is her story, in her own words.
I was always one of those kids at school, who didn’t have a clue what I wanted to be when I grew up.
The years flew and suddenly I was faced with making a decision, which was very daunting as it felt like if I failed it would be the end of the world. I was never very academic, although did manage to achieve 10 A-C GCSE’s and therefore secured a place in my local college, where I chose 4 subjects that I thought would be beneficial in getting me closer to the job I had chosen.
Like most young girls I had the idyllic vision of becoming a vet and therefore, I had taken triple science in school and moved on to an A level in Biology at college. However, all did not go to plan.
After completing a work experience trial at a veterinary clinic, it became clear to me that it was not all hugs and kisses and some of the difficult decisions that have to be made were not something I felt prepared for.
I also began to realise that my learning style was not suited to sitting in a classroom reading from a textbook, as I was not retaining the information which reflected in my test results. I am a kinaesthetic learner, which in simple terms is someone who learns by doing.
Therefore, I made the decision to leave colleague after a year and get a job, to gain some real world experience. I started off in retail/hospitality, which a high number of young individuals tend to do and it gave me a good understanding of customer service and business operations.
After 3 years I decided that the business element really intrigued me and so I applied for an apprenticeship in an office, in order to gain a level 3 NVQ in Business and Administration.
After completing this I was offered a permanent position and stayed with the business for a total of 6 years, whilst moving departments and receiving promotions.
Throughout my time working with this company it became apparent I enjoyed working with numbers and analysing data, although never had a financially based role.
I decided to reach out to the accounts team, to understand exactly what they do and what skills were required to work in that department.
On first impressions I was quite overwhelmed and felt out of my depth, which wasn’t a total surprise as I have never been confident in my abilities. After beating around the bush for a time I finally bit the bullet and applied for a finance assistant role at a different business, as the company I worked for were looking for someone with more experience and more qualifications.
I was successful and after a year of getting experience of working in an accounting function, I knew I had made the right decision and wanted to boost my skill set further to make my CV more desirable to employers.
I spoke with a recruitment agent who advised the best course I can take to get me further along in my career would be AAT, as it’s a highly recognised course and teaches you the roles and responsibilities of an accountant as well as essential bookkeeping skills.
I reached out to ICS Learn, as they are one of AAT’s most recognised partners and I had read some great reviews from previous students.
The enrolment process was really simple and the advisors were extremely helpful and friendly and explained things clearly.
The prices were reasonable and there was the option to include your first years AAT Student Membership fee in your payment plan, which is required to take any exams and helps spread the costs if you are on a tight budget. I opted for the level 2 & 3 package, as I was committed to pursuing a career in accountancy.
Level 2 is a fantastic first step, as it really helps you understand the accounting principles and what is happening behind the finance systems like Sage, SAP etc.
The structure of the course was really good for me, as it is broken down into units and sections each of which is manageable and delivered in a presentation style. There are quizzes and progress checks along the way as well as questions throughout the learning materials, so you are kept engaged and can test your knowledge before moving on.
I completed my level 2 Foundation Certificate in Accounting course in just over a year and am still waiting my final results, however am on target to achieve a minimum of a merit.
I have since made a start on the level 3 Advanced Diploma in Accounting, which helps to cement and develop on what is taught in level 2.
During both my courses the support available to me has been fantastic with a tutor, student services and a student community where you can reach out to other people in the same situation as you.
Since completing my Level 2 course, I have been offered an Assistant Management Accounting role with a highly reputable company.
Not only will this help me in the next steps of my course, but I am confident that I will be able to make a career within this organisation.
My plan for the future is to continue studying and moving up the various levels, whilst taking on roles which compliment where I am in my course.
This is so that I can apply a practical element to my studies and enable me to decide if I want to specialise in a field, or move into a senior position in accountancy.
I would highly recommend AAT as a course and ICS as a training provider, especially as it has the option to learn from home.
This means no matter what is going on in the world, your studies should not be disrupted and you can do it at your own pace with a suggestion of around 6-9 hours a week.
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