AAT Continuing Professional Development (CPD)


What is CPD? 

CPD is a very important part of any career. It allows individuals to keep their skills and knowledge up to date with any relevant changes within the industry. The process of CPD is assessing each year your learning needs, attending suitable training to meet this and documenting the skills/experience gained. Monitoring and Completing CPD is the responsibility of the individual. CPD is good practice within any Industry, but for AAT Accountancy Affiliate or Professional Members, it is compulsory.

What will I gain from CPD?
For those seeking employment or self-employed and looking to expand a customer base, CPD will show that you are up to date on all Accountancy practices, you are driven as well as organised and that you set your standards high for yourself.

For those employed in the Accounting Industry, it helps to develop and skills and knowledge could save you time with tasks by learning new skills, will boost integrity and also confidence. For the employer, it ensures all staff are following current legislation which means that the employer will have trust in their employees and staff who are satisfied with their job. Generally, employers also find when supporting CPD within the workplace the performance of the finance team improves.

How can I complete CPD?
AAT has numerous resources you can complete in order to gain the CPD required. This includes online resources and also regional events. Many of the online resources take only one hour to complete from home so there are options available to suit everyone. Here is an example of the resources available with the AAT:

AAT’s CPD events AAT’s online CPD resources
CPD master courses
CPD workshops
AAT conference
CPD webinars
Local AAT branch meetings
Connect events 
CPD e-learning
Excel e-learning
CPD interactive hub
Technical and ethical advice
AAT podcasts
Career resources
UK Budget resources
AAT forums
AAT Comment – industry news and opinion
Accounting Technician magazine
AAT Social Media

 

You can check out all the AAT upcoming CPD events here.

How do I track my CPD?
Recording your CPD is your own responsibility but to make it easier the AAT have created an online CPD record tool which you can access within your AAT account. Alternatively, you can download free online templates online including this one from the e-learning marketplace. It does not have to be complicated as long as you evidence the area for development, activities planned to meet this, date completed and hours that count towards CPD.

Check out the AAT’S video on how CPD can boost your skills to help achieve your goals:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=29&v=AV3BiGpqOv0

If you are interested in starting a career in Accounting give Premier Training a call on 01469 515444 to discuss the options available and study with an AAT award-winning provider.

 

Changes to the AAT Foundation Assessments


Changes to the AAT Foundation AssessmentsSo, the latest changes to be made by the AAT are to the Foundation Certificate level, which will also see changes to the Bookkeeping qualification as they are the same assessments.

Bookkeeping Transactions (BTRN) and Bookkeeping Controls (BKCL) have both had the time allowed for the exam reduced from 2 hours to 1.5 hours. It has been confirmed that the content has not changed only the time allowed has changed.

Students are already asking if they will have enough time to complete the exam. Our advice to students who are currently studying these units and who will be ready to take the exam before the 25th October is book them in and take them if you feel ready before the new assessments go live.

If you don’t feel ready then practice, practice, practice. It is definitely achievable to complete the exams in the new allocated time however, you will need to ensure you have covered all your course materials and gained sufficient feedback to ensure you have the best chance of passing.

Over the next few weeks Premier Training will be working on our practice AAT foundation assessment material to ensure it is in line with the 1.5 hours allowed by the AAT.

Key dates to remember:

  • 27 September 18 – New practice assessments for BTRN and BKCL will be available online and available to schedule and sit within Secure Assess.
  • 24 October 18 – The last date BTRN and BKCL can be scheduled and sat under the current time allocation.
  • 25 to 31 October 18 – No assessments for BTRN and BKCL can be scheduled during this time.
  • 25 October – You can schedule assessments for sitting from the 1 November onwards.
  • 1 November 18 – The new BTRN and BKCL assessments are available for sitting.

The next change to the Foundation Certificate level is to the Elements of Costing (ELCO) unit. The new assessment will see the number of tasks reducing from 15 tasks to 10 and the marks available will reduce from 140 to 100.

However, the content that will be examined has not changed. So the qualification specification content all remains examinable and therefore this should not impact on a students study. However, with the number of tasks reducing it will be extremely important that the students practice and revise all areas of the syllabus thoroughly.

Key dates to remember:

  • 1 November 18 – New practice assessments for ELCO will be available online and available to schedule and sit within SecureAssess.
  • 20 December 18 – This is the last date the current ELCO can be scheduled and sat.
  • 21 December to 2 January 19 – No assessments can be taken during this period.
  • 21 December 18 – You can schedule assessments for sitting from the 3 January 2019 onwards.
  • 3 January 2019 – New ELCO assessments go live.

What is your learning style and how can you apply it to Distance Learning?


Discovering your learning style can often make studying easier and make learning more effective. You can discover things about yourself that you did not know allowing you to understand what works best for you and why. 

There are 4 main categories that you may fall into and it is very common for students to be a mixture (multimodal). Favourable learning styles indicate preferences rather than strengths and preferences can only be used where possible with available resources. Below are the categories:

Visual:

distance learningThis is the preference for information in the form of maps, spider diagrams, charts, graphs, flowcharts, labelled diagrams, and all the symbolic arrows, circles, hierarchies and other devices, that people use to represent what could have been presented in words. Distance learning students will benefit from underlining, using different colour fonts, highlighters, replacing words with symbols, drawing diagrams and recalling answers from pictures.

 

distance learning

Aural/Auditory:

This is the preference for information that is “heard or spoken.” Learners who have this preference tend to prefer lectures, group discussion, radio, using mobile phones, speaking, web-chat and talking things through. Distance learning students will benefit from talking out loud as well as talking to oneself, talking through an idea/plan before putting pen to paper and using tape recorders to take notes/listen back to notes.

 

Read/Write:

distance learningThis preference is for information displayed as words. Many students have a strong preference for this mode. Students tend to prefer reading and writing in all its forms but especially manuals, reports, essays and assignments. PowerPoint, the Internet, lists, diaries, dictionaries, thesauri, and quotations. Distance learning students will benefit from writing notes, changing diagrams/charts into statements, practice exam questions repeatedly, write to do lists with (a,b,c,d,1,2,3,4) and arrange your words in hierarchies.

 

Kinesthetic:

distance learning

This is the preference for completing tasks in the form of experience and practice (simulated or real as long as it is ‘hands-on’). Students tend to prefer demonstrations, simulations, videos, practice assessments and applications/apps. Distance learning students will benefit from work experience, writing or speaking based on experiences/examples (case studies), writing out notes as a methodical procedure, talking through notes with other people/role play and using pictures/charts to illustrate ideas.

 

Multimodal:

distance learningThere are very few instances where one mode is used or is adequate enough, so most students will be somewhat multimodal. There is usually a preferred learning style but most students need to satisfy all aspects in order to feel a job is complete. As the role of an Accountant requires all techniques it will be beneficial to be familiar with all 4 areas.

 

 

To find our your learning style you can complete a free Learning style questionnaire provided by VARK here.

 

At Premier Training we are able to offer resources that cater to all learning styles for our AAT distance learning courses.

To have a chat about how we can best make your AAT goals a reality, give our Course Advisor a team a call today, on 01469 515444.

Benefits to having an AAT Membership


There are a variety of benefits to having an AAT membership. Not only do you achieve a highly recognised International qualification through specialists in accountancy but you get to take advantage of all the other bonuses that come along with achieving your AAT courses!  

Through your own AAT online account, you can access resources designed around your chosen pathway so you can ensure along with provider resources you can be fully prepared for your exams. You will also receive AAT email updates and AAT magazines so you will be up to date on all the latest changes in the industry, new resources, events and conferences.

If you go on to achieve the Professional Diploma in Accounting Level 4 you will have even more benefits! This includes including your career prospects, gaining designatory letters after your name (MAAT – Member of AAT), being up to date with all the latest changes in the industry, opportunities to be your own boss and technical/ethical advice and support through Industry specialists!

Attend conferences, training events and keep your CPD (Continuous Professional Development) up to date. Keeping your CPD up to date will ensure you not only meet membership requirements but also keeps your skills/knowledge up to date which will give you a head start against your competition.

 

If that was not enough the AAT have even lined up some extra treats for members with the AAT reward scheme! You can access discounts with local businesses including cinemas, travel agents and insurance.

To find out more information and a full list of all the benefits of the AAT membership click here to be directed to the AAT website.

Check out what AAT students have to say about the membership including Premier Training’s own AAT Award winner student of Year winner Jessica Leyland:

VIDEO TO GO HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNb21z8GhOM#action=share

To get your AAT qualification and get a flying start in your Accountancy career sign up today with Premier Training’s home study AAT courses and include your membership fee in your installment plan completely interest-free.  Click here to get started today!

 

Returning to your AAT Distance Learning studies after a break


Returning to your AAT Distance Learning studies after a break break can be a challenge. Here are some tips that may help you kick-start your studies and get back on track to completing your AAT Distance Learning qualification.

Confidence 
Before you even begin to put any plans in place or pen to paper you must feel ready. A lack of confidence can lead to doubt. Doubting yourself will not lead to success. Before you start to think about all the things you have accomplished so far, things in the past you did not think you could achieve on the initial journey and how far you have come since then (Passing GCSEs, passing your driving test, winning the interview: new job, purchasing a house etc).  Being able to achieve something that you may have felt was initially difficult, no matter how small, the concept is the same for your studies.  A little confidence will go a long way to giving yourself the push you need.

Realistic planning
It is important to get the right balance between home life, work, and studies. Life can be very difficult at times so creating a plan could help.  Set dates and times that are right for you, everyone is different, don’t allow other students/situations around you make you feel pressured into having dates that are not achievable or suited to you. Having a deadline to work towards can be motivationally challenging. Setting dates that are going to cause stress and anxiety can be very damaging and set you back. Try to list what you want to achieve that day. Pencil in topics to study each day rather than ‘study day’.  This will allow you to know the start point and end point so you can plan better for your next study session.

Support
Learning new subjects can be overwhelming so don’t forget to ask for help when you need it.  If you are enrolled with Premier Training you have a tutor you can contact as much as needed for support.  It is part of the service we provide to you so be sure to utilise it as much and as often as you need it. Talking over something you find tricky with an experienced specialist tutor will help make things clearer. Just ensure you fully understand they may ask questions or allow you the chance to ask questions to test your knowledge. Suddenly something that seemed impossible to grasp 15 minutes ago has turned into something that is second nature.  This adds to your confidence which then adds to your passion for progression! You can also find lots of help on social media through groups and forums. A problem shared is a problem halved. Even with Distance Learning, you are not alone!

Study space
When it comes to ‘study time’ choose an area that has as little distractions as possible. You will benefit from choosing a well-lit area with some surface area and minimal clutter.  Plants are also known to reduce stress levels and make studying more productive as green is a calming colour which can add balance to your state of mind. Keep your emails closed and phone out of reach, switch off from any possible distractions as much as you possible. Once you get focused and make a start on a task you will be surprised how easy it feels to continue and time flies!

Your progress will drive you forward so it is so important that you stay focused to achieve the goal set. No matter how little each day or week, progress means the end goal is in sight!

If you are a Premier Training student you can contact your tutor by phone, email or quick message via MyPTA.  You also have a dedicated Course Advisor who will be happy to discuss your course and get help get you to get back on track.

Happy Studying!

How to become an AAT Qualified Bookkeeper


In July 2016 the AAT launched a new qualification enabling bookkeepers to become qualified and regulated by the AAT.

This can be achieved on completion of the following;

  • Level 3 of the AAT Accounting Qualification on the 2010,2013 or 2016 standards https://www.premiertraining.co.uk/aat-advanced-diploma-accounting/
  • AAT Advanced Certificate in Bookkeeping  (If you are currently studying the AAT Advanced diploma in Accounting – then you can gain this status if you have passed Advanced Bookkeeping, Final Accounts and Indirect tax units by going on to their AAT
    account, adding the additional Advance Certificate in Bookkeeping qualification, waiting for the AAT to recognise this, then you can apply for the AATQB)

The purpose of the AAT Advanced Certificate in Bookkeeping is to ensure that students have the advanced bookkeeping skills required to work in a bookkeeping role or to progress to higher level accountancy. Find information on our course here:  https://www.premiertraining.co.uk/aat-advanced-certificate-bookkeeping/

You can then apply to the AAT to become an Associate Bookkeeper and proudly display the letter AATQB after your name – representing that you have reached qualified bookkeeper status.  It indicates the highest standards of professional conduct, up to date technical knowledge and commitment of ongoing learning.  It is very appealing to prospective employers to see students have gained this professional standard.  Furthermore, you can then go on to studying the final level of the AAT and work towards your MAAT status.

AAT Access Award in Bookkeeping

Benefits of the membership

  • AATQB designatory letters
  • Opportunity to become a self employed Bookkeeper
  • Access to exclusive online resources
  • Networking events for AAT Professionals
  • AAT masterclasses
  • CPD access to record your ongoing professional development
  • AAT rewards – discounts on everyday purchases

You can apply directly online https://www.aat.org.uk/membership/associate-bookkeeping-membership

The annual AATQB membership is currently £99 and does include your student membership if you are continuing your studies with the AAT.

Be aware that students who have completed the Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping and ethics before September 2016 will need to sit the additional Level 3 Indirect tax unit to be eligible for the bookkeeping membership.

If you wish to offer self-employed bookkeeping services, you will also need to apply for a practice licence with the AAT.

This will enable you to offer self-employed services within the UK that is regulated and supported by the AAT.  The licence is awarded to members according to their qualifications, experience and CPD.  Please note – if you offer bookkeeping services presently and have received the letters AATQB but not yet registered for a practice licence, then you must apply for one.  All AAT members offering bookkeeping services to clients must hold a valid AAT licence.

The license fee is £140 and would mean you are approved to carry out the following;

  • Bookkeeping
  • Financial accounts and accounts preparation for sole traders
  • VAT
  • Computerised accountancy systems

To apply https://www.aat.org.uk/about-aat/applying-for-an-aat-licence

If you are interested in becoming a qualified bookkeeper check out the special bundles packages Premier Training have available here.  If you would like any further information regarding our AAT courses, call Premier Training on 01469 515444 or info@premiertraining.co.uk

Continuing your Accountancy studies after the AAT


Contuining your accountancy studies after the AATIf you are looking at continuing your Accountancy studies after completing your AAT qualification there are a few options available. Here is some further information about three of those options, hope it helps.

ATT (The Association of Taxation Technicians)
A fantastic option for those looking to specialise in Tax such as Compliance or Tax Consultancy.  Careers in Tax are often fast-paced and suited to those who like problem-solving within accounting. This qualification will give the individuals the knowledge and practical skills needed to be competent within the private, commerce, government and academic industries. Members of ATT must commit to high standards through professional conduct and knowledge updates with any changes legislation. This is therefore highly recognised by employers.

You can find out more about choosing an ATT career in Tax here.

CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants)
A great option for those looking to go on to become a Chartered Accountant which will also prepare you for a business leadership role.  It will give you the ability to take on a broader range of roles which contribute towards shaping the business in relation to strategic decisions and final decisions. This includes positions such as Financial Controller, Operations Manager, and even Managing Director. If you have completed the AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting you will also gain exemptions with CIMA from the Certificate level and can start to direct onto the Professional Level, not only that but you will also get 50% off your full AAT membership for the duration you are studying CIMA!

You can find out more about progressing to CIMA here.

ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants)
An excellent qualification for those inspiring to become a Chartered Accountant, especially those looking at focusing more on Auditing and Compliance. ACCA focuses more on financial assessment then management strategies. It is highly recognised by employers for professional and ethical members. It is equivalent to a masters degree so although it is hard work it will certainly pay off by adding to the skills already gained from AAT putting you on the pathway to a thriving career in Accountancy. This can include positions such as Personal Banking Advisor and Financial Analyst. If you have completed the AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting you will also gain exemptions with ACCA for papers F1-F3.

You can find out more about progressing to ACCA here.

Check out this video from the AAT on dual memberships if you wish to complete further studies to be a chartered accountant and maintain your AAT membership:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AU87I7e7tBk&feature=youtu.be

If you would like any information on getting started with your AAT studies and starting your Accounting career today you can call our Course Advisor Team on 01469 515444.

20 Years of Premier Training Accountancy


20 Years of Premier Training Accountancy 

20 year logo
It’s just before Christmas 1997.  The wind is howling, snow is falling and it’s very dark outside.  Pierce Brosnan is starring as James Bond in ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ at the cinema, Windows 98 is the hot new operating system from Microsoft and the Spice girls have just replaced the Teletubbies at the top of the UK singles charts.

In a freezing cold college in North East Lincolnshire the AAT qualifications team are discussing the things that make studying AAT courses more difficult than it need be in traditional day and evening classes.  “Lots of students are too tired for evening classes after a hard day at work”  “If only we could spend more time explaining the tricky topics to individual students”  “Many students need longer than the regular academic year of only 32 weeks”  “Be nice if we could fast track the exceptional students so they can complete the course quickly rather than having to progress at the same speed as everyone else”

“I prefer to focus on one area at a time instead of having to run several units alongside each other all at once”  “I wish all of the students would get stuck on the same topics so we could focus all our efforts on these”  “I know that individual students wish they could skip over sections they already understand and not have to sit and listen while we explain it to the rest”  “They all say they wish they could study at the times that suit them rather than having to build their whole lives around the hours that suit the college”  “Imagine if each student could have an individually tailored study plan rather than having one size fits all”   “Coffee’s gone up again”  “It’s time the car park was a bit bigger”  “I wish we didn’t all have to turn out in the wind and rain”  “Students should be able to start the course at any time and not just in September”  “If only each student could have their own personal tutor …  … who was available by phone or email whenever needed”  “So why don’t we?”  And so we did!

At the beginning of January 1998 with nothing more than a telephone, a PC and some borrowed furniture Premier Training was launched.    Adverts were placed, assignments were written and after a couple of days the first student was enrolled.  A modest start but by the end of that first year the word had got round and that first enrolment had been followed by a couple of hundred more and it was becoming apparent that we were not the only people who thought there was a better way to study.

In those early days timetables were drawn up manually and typed up by hand and assignments were posted out in hard copy along with all of the study manuals.  These were bought in from a range of publishers, depending on who we felt was the best in each subject area.   The first significant change to this procedure was that software was created to generate each individual timetable automatically depending on parameters such as how quickly the student wanted to complete the course and when exam sittings were available.  This saved time on enrolment and subsequently made it much easier to change a student’s unique personal timetable if circumstances changed.  Let’s not forget that in those days exams were available only in two sessions each year so a student joining in January would get a timetable structured very differently to one joining, say, in April.

With the advent of computer based assessment this all changed completely and nowadays our software enables timetables to be configured with exams at any time.  At that time assignments arrived by post and were returned by post along with a hard copy feedback sheet, model answer and any relevant extra notes the tutor felt would be useful.

Furthermore, in ‘exam season’ tutors would also post out lots of past papers for extra practice and there were days when the postman had to make two trips to the van such was the weight of outgoing post.  In retrospect hardly the most environmentally friendly way to operate!!!

With the advent of broadband internet access we were able to switch all of this hard copy output over to email, starting with past papers and extra notes and then in 2011 the assignments moved from hard copy submission to an online format.  As a result of this change students now send work in and receive full feedback by email typically within two days or less of pressing the submit button.  This applies not only to students in the UK but anywhere in the world.  Another big step forward was the introduction of materials and books written by our own specialist team of in-house authors rather than relying entirely on other people.  In addition to this an award winning online resource area was created called the ‘Premier Programme’ which comprises videos, quizzes, practice exercises and much more.

Few organisations anywhere can match this level of support and this is a major reason why Premier Training students consistently achieve outstanding exam results year after year after year.

A final thought!  Despite all these changes in technology there is one thing that has not changed in all these years.  Students can still ring and speak directly to their own or another tutor at any time and as often as they need to.  Likewise all questions sent in by email are answered promptly – again by their own tutor or another if their tutor is not available.

For all the technology in the world we think it’s the people that make the difference.

Written by Jeff Grimston – Premier Training tutor

 

Benefits of using Sage Business Cloud Accounting for education


At Premier Training we use Sage as part of our AAT level 2 Foundation Certificate in Accounting Course in the unit called “Using Accounting Software”. It is also available as a stand-alone qualification titled the AAT Foundation Award in Computerised Accounting. This course is perfect for those who need to get to grips with computerised accounting software and enhance their current knowledge, allowing them to use such software in the work environment.

Sage Business Cloud Accounting is software that aSage Accountingllows small business owners, bookkeepers and accountants to manage business finances effortlessly and efficiently. As more and more business owners in the UK are turning to cloud solutions to manage their business finances, it is probable that today’s students will be supporting these businesses on these types of software and with Sage Business Cloud Accounting becoming more and more popular, future clients will most likely already be customers of Sage Business Cloud Accounting .

Sage uses the most up to date accountancy software that remains current and never needs to be upgraded. It is extremely user-friendly designed to be used by people not familiar with accountancy software packages.

Sage Business Cloud Accounting is extremely flexible due to it being completely online so students and tutors can access their software and data anywhere as long as they have internet connection.  Sage Business Cloud Accounting is incredibly safe as all data is backed up and online access is only possible with a password. Tutors can also link to and view student’s work remotely and there is free UK based email support for students and tutors; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Support is available all year round.

 

View all Premier Training’s AAT distance learning accountancy courses below

AAT Access Award in Bookkeeping – (AAT Level 1 Bookkeeping)

AAT Foundation Award in Bookkeeping – (AAT Level 2 Bookkeeping)

AAT Advanced Certificate in Bookkeeping – (AAT Level 3 Bookkeeping)

AAT Award in Using Accounting Software – (AAT Computerised Accounts)

AAT Foundation Certificate in Accounting – (AAT Level 2 Accounting)

AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting – (AAT Level 3 Accounting)

AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting – (AAT Level 4 Accounting)

If you are interested in starting a career in Accounting or Bookkeeping and would like further information about the AAT courses available give Premier Training a call on 01469 515444 to discuss the options available and study with an AAT award winning provider.

Planning your AAT Distance Learning studies


Starting a Distance Learning course can be quite daunting and leave you feeling like you don’t know where to start.  The key to success is planning and setting yourself goals that are SMART :

Specific – try to list what you want to achieve that day. Pencil in topics to study each day rather than ‘study day’.  This will allow you to know the start point endpoints so you can plan better for your next study session.

Measurable – Being able to know when you have achieved your goal that day is very important. Break your studies down into chapters and where possible set your goal to read 2 chapters each session. Pencil in the days you have assignments due also.

Attainable – Make sure that your goal is achievable with any constraints in place (eg the time you have free that day to study, personal plans, family commitments, work commitments, having any prior knowledge needed for task planned that day)

Realistic – Distance Learning takes a lot of self-motivation.  Thinking of the long-term benefits and rewards that you will benefit from by achieving the qualification often drives students. Create goals that you know you will commit to, don’t just put pen to paper when planning to feel organised. You need to know your own strengths and weaknesses when planning goals. Your achievements will motivate you and drive you forward to success.

Timely – Set dates that are right for you! Everyone is different therefore set goals that are best suited to you.  Having deadlines to work towards can be motivational and challenging. Keeping a calendar to plan your studies can often make studying more manageable. Setting unrealistic goals will only cause stress and anxiety which can be very damaging. It can force students to move forward when they are not ready, make them feel overwhelmed and even put them off studying.

Don’t forget that plans change, that just life. Do not get bogged down with targets,  a calendar is an ever-changing plan. You may find some days you are racing ahead of your goals, do not get caught up on days when this does not happen. Change your planner as and when you need to with SMART goals to help you stay on track with new goals.

There are many websites which will give examples on writing effective Study Planners. Here is one you may find useful.

This video may help you break down areas to consider when writing a study plan:

 

You should never feel alone when studying Distance Learning as there is so much support out there. This includes groups on social media, blogs, conferences, networking etc.

Don’t forget if you are studying an AAT Distance Learning course you have your tutor for support, excellent online recourses as well as an online timetable which should help with planning your studies! We are only ever a phone call away.

 

You can find more information on our tutor support here and our AAT Distance Learning courses here.