Clare Burgess talks to Ollie Lamb, trainee business advisor at PKF, about his career.

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Factfile: AAT qualifications

Training

AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) is the UK’s leading qualification and membership body for accounting technicians.

The AAT accounting qualification is divided into three levels: level 2 certificate, level 3 diploma and level 4 diploma. Every level is a qualification in its own right, and completing the final level leads to the full AAT accounting qualification. You can begin at level 2 and work up but if you have other relevant skills and experience you may be able to start at a higher level.

AAT qualifications offer a work based route to all the UK’s charted and certified accountancy qualifications, including those of ACCA.

Timescale

Each level of the AAT qualification takes around one year

Local training

• City College Norwich - 01603 773773/ www.ccn.ac.uk

Offer all levels on a part time basis as well as embedded within full time options

• Kaplan Financial - Norwich -01603 617638/ www.kaplanfinancial.co.uk

Offer all levels on a part time basis

• Norfolk Adult Education 0344 800 8002/ www.norfolk.gov.uk

Offer all levels at Thorpe St Andrew on a day release ‘fast track’ basis and evenings

Apprenticeships www.apprenticeships.org.uk

A number of companies offer AAT apprenticeship schemes, check the website for further information

For further information check:

• www.aat.org.uk

Salary range

Starting salaries at level 2 and 3 can be around £15,000 to £22,000 a year. Once qualified to level 4 salaries can reach up to £30,000.

Belle Jones

Why is it a good profession to get into?

I chose to train as a business advisor as I was interested in business and current affairs and, having completed my maths, economics and history A Levels, it was a good career match. I think it is a good profession to get into as you get to gain an insight into how businesses are run. It is quite a challenging role but it is a growing industry with clients now more than ever looking to business advisers to benefit their businesses.

What does the work involve?

Being a business advisor is a varied role and allows me to get involved in a variety of different projects such as accounts preparation, audits and personal tax returns. There is more to it than just accounting. I typically work between 9am and 5.30pm with one hour for lunch and any overtime I work I get back in lieu. January is our busiest time of year as this is approaching the tax return deadline. As a trainee business advisor I am doing an AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) qualification. The course is challenging but provides a good backing and the opportunity to go on to get my chartered accountant qualification in the future.

What are the positives/negatives of this profession?

Being a business advisor is very fulfilling and allows you to work on a variety of challenging projects that are not just limited to accountancy. There are good opportunities for progression and it is well paid. However, the work can be challenging, and sometimes a little tedious, if your clients have not got good accounting systems in place. For example, I was recently doing some work for a client who had a manual account system so I had to spend a very long time going through pages and pages of accounts.

Is there much local demand for people trained in this area?

I think there is a good demand for business advisors in this area and once you are employed there are good opportunities for progression. PKF Norwich and Great Yarmouth are currently recruiting for new starters in autumn 2012 for both graduates and AAT trainees like myself. To find out more visit www.pkfstudentrecruitment.co.uk

What would employers look for in someone applying for a vacancy?

To be a business advisor you need to have a good understanding of maths and a basic understanding of business. You need good personal qualities, good communication skills and you must be well presented. It is also important to be able to learn new things and take on new challenges and you will be encouraged to take a formal qualification when you are employed as a business advisor.

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