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  • Accountancy around the world

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Nov 26, 2021

    We discuss how you can pursue your accountancy career abroad and the opportunities available when you gain a globally recognised accountancy qualification.

    This week our host Stuart Pedley Smith, Head of Learning here at Kaplan, explores accountancy around the world and how you can work abroad after qualifying in the UK.

    Kaplan’s Learn Better podcast covers topical subjects to support our past, present and future learners to succeed in both their studies and careers.

    Alex Swift, Insurance Director at R5 and former Kaplan student, highlights the opportunities available abroad and shares his personal experience of being an accountant in a foreign country.

    As well as sharing his own journey to Columbia, Alex provides advice on what you need to think about before making the move and how to pursue a career once in another country.

    We have had luck, I have been open to the opportunity, and undoubtedly the ACA and the financial background has put me in the position to pursue those openings.

    - Alex Swift, Insurance Director at R5

    Key topics:

    Alex’s journey

    Alex details why he decided to move abroad and how what he thought was going to be 6-9 months living in Columbia, turned into five years. Now after setting up a new company he doesn’t see himself moving back to the UK anytime soon.

    Alex also provides insight into how he networked to find work opportunities, and how he was able to use his ACA qualification and knowledge to change a casual conversation into a job interview.

    Being open to opportunity and questioning the why?

    Alex mentions that being open to opportunity doesn't necessarily mean actively pursuing and looking for opportunities, but just having an open mind so that when something does arise you are ready to truly consider it.

    When you are ready to consider opportunities he suggests that you really need to find your “why?”. Why do you want to pursue this opportunity? If you don’t have passion for what you will be doing, there is no point pursuing that opportunity.

    Globally recognised qualifications

    In the podcast we also hear from other students as well as Alex, and a key theme that is noted is the flexibility you gain with an accountancy qualification. Having a globally recognised qualification gives you the ability to work abroad without the need to retrain as needed in other professions.

    An accounting qualification can be a stepping stone to wherever you want it to be.

    Interested in finding out more?

    Tune in now to listen to the full conversation on accountancy around the world, or discover more information on routes into accountancy and gaining a globally recognised qualification.

  • Catching up with an ACA Prize winner

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Nov 18, 2021

    We caught up with Nathan Webb, who won the ACA ICAEW Whinney Prize for getting first place in his Case Study Exam - quite a feat. We’re really proud of his hard work and wanted to find out how achieved such success.

    Hi Nathan - what’s your background and what got you into studying accounting?

    I grew up in Kinver and went to King Edwards VI college to study business, maths and accounting. This is where I found my passion for accounting and realised it’s something I’d like to do for a job. I quite like problem solving and I’d say accounting is primarily a problem-solving job rather than a mathematical one. I originally picked accounting to study due to my interest in business and finance.

    What was it like studying with Kaplan? And which study method did you choose?

    Studying with Kaplan has been a great experience, as there is a massive variety of learning resources available to you inside and outside of tuition. I did classroom study for AAT level 3, 4 and most of ACA until the final 6 ACA exams, when I switched to remote learning during COVID.

    Failing an exam shouldn’t be something to be feared.

    What were your challenges?

    Balancing time between study, work and having a social life is always the standard challenge - it’s the biggest. However, I’d say the mental burden of expectation you place on yourself during exams, particularly as you get towards the end, needs to be talked about more.

    Failing an exam shouldn’t be something to be feared, and I was lucky to be surrounded by amazing colleagues who never put any pressure on me and gave me the confidence I needed to pass the exams. That being said, it was extremely stressful towards the end given how much I wanted to pass.

    How did you feel going into this exam?

    I felt well prepared, but very nervous. I made sure to balance revision between the two pillars of case study; learning the advanced information like the back of your hand, and learning exam technique and easily examinable areas to properly prepare for.

    How did you feel after your exam?

    I didn’t feel good coming out of it. I felt my calculations were incorrect. I had glossed over certain parts of the question and had to hurriedly make up for it when I realised, and my executive summary was lacking.

    On top of this, there were nationwide technical issues with the exams and I had concerns over whether my exam was saved. It goes to show that no matter how you’ve done, you’ll usually feel bad coming out of an exam.

    The short years of study and exams are definitely worth it to set you up for a good career and salary for the rest of your life.

    And you won the Whinney Prize! What did you do to make sure you’d ace the exam?

    I used every single resource available to me to prepare for the exam. I watched ACA webinars, followed case study tips pages, and completed the Kaplan mocks. I summarised the case study in my own words with calculations, breaking different areas of the advanced information up into categories.

    As I say, I tried to learn it as if it were my own business so I could answer any question about it. I then made sure to learn the marking scheme trends and common themes in order to pre-prepare potential answers for each question to maximise my chances of getting marks. This was invaluable as this was my first port of call during the exam.

    What advice do you have for people thinking about studying accounting?

    Accounting is a very vast and varied industry. There will be a niche that suits almost everyone so find the part of it that really interests you. I would say the short years of study and exams are definitely worth it to set you up for a good career and salary for the rest of your life.

    It’s completely doable for everyone who applies themselves. I never got an A* at college or school, yet won a prize at ACA. You will get out of accounting what you put in, so use your interest to drive you forwards and there’s no limit to what you can achieve.

    Interested in ACA ICAEW? Or want to start in accounting?

    If you’re inspired by Nathan’s success, have a look at our ACA ICAEW pages for more information about the qualification. If you’re just starting out, and have never studied accounting before, have a look at our AAT pages for an introduction to the field.

  • Is your organisation prepared for a green and sustainable future?

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Nov 18, 2021
    If you want to save the world don’t join Extinction Rebellion, join a bank.

    - Simon Thompson, Chief Executive of the CBI

    On 13th October 2021, we hosted a Green Finance webinar with the ACCA and CBI to discuss the importance of ‘green’ education in the Finance and Banking sectors and how it can also support organisations in the Accountancy sector.

    As industry leading bodies, they are keen to witness and drive changes to educational content and programmes through new, fundamental principles.

    Emmeline Skelton, Head of Sustainability at the ACCA, shared that she felt that bankers and finance professionals need to develop their knowledge of ‘green’ and sustainable finance, so that best practice becomes the standard practice.

    Rather than being a deep environmental, social and governance specialist, she believes it’s about holding a sustainability lens over their skills and knowledge instead.

    Simon Thompson, Chief Executive of the Chartered Banker Institute (CBI), is the Course Leader for the Certificate in Green and Sustainable Finance - the global benchmark qualification. With this course, he hopes to help others to gain the knowledge and awareness that can help to make real changes.

    Additionally, to offer ways for those in the industry to become more environmentally conscious the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has developed a new Certificate in Climate Risk and the Centre for Responsible Banking.

    However, experienced professionals are not the only ones who need to look at developing ‘green skills’. Apprenticeships can also look to integrate the learning of climate awareness and core foundations of sustainable finance for learners.

    This will help combat the need to create new and specific roles, and instead embed these skills into existing roles, giving employers more options to train their workforce, either by upskilling existing employees or hiring new talent.

    Steps your business and employees can take

    Simon suggested that there are 3 practical things you can do right now:

    1. Visit the Green Finance Education Charter site, hosted by the Green Finance Institute, and navigate the wide range of free resources available there from all 12 professional bodies.

    2. Visit the Green Finance Institute’s Centre for Responsible Banking, and take the free online “Foundations of Green Finance” e-learning modules.

    3. Watch the 40 minute WWF film “Too Big to Fail”.

    Beyond this, encouraging your teams and colleagues to get on board, get involved in the conversation, and challenge old ways of working will help drive change throughout the Accounting and Finance sectors.

    Interested in finding out more?

    Check out our sustainability podcast episode where we discuss the strengthening link between sustainability, the environment, and the accountancy profession.

  • Will A.I change the role of accountants?

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Nov 11, 2021

    If you’re studying or working in accounting, you’ve no doubt heard predictions that Artificial Intelligence (AI) could change the face of the accounting profession.

    Naysayers seem to take great pleasure in depicting future scenarios where human accountants have been replaced by machines and software. And trainee accountants could be forgiven for asking the question: Will I have a job in 10 years’ time?

    But while AI will undoubtedly affect the finance industry – just as it will impact most other industries – you can prepare for the new digital landscape.

    How to future-proof your accountancy career

    The key is to keep pace with forthcoming technologies. You can help to future-proof your career by broadening your knowledge base. If you invest in your own development, you can equip yourself with the skills to work alongside AI, rather than fear it.

    Kaplan’s range of accounting courses offer you the chance to add digital knowhow to your traditional accountancy skills. The key is not to skip the ‘nuts and bolts’ of accountancy, but to also learn how to work with new software, to interpret data, and to provide more meaningful insights to your presentations and reports.

    With the right qualifications, you’ll be in a better position to safeguard your current position and take advantage of future opportunities.

    So how will AI affect different accountancy roles? And what skills do accountants need to survive – and thrive?

    AI and Auditors

    Not so long ago, human and machine collaboration on an audit meant an accountant using a calculator. Now, AI can be used to carry out the time consuming, lower judgment, repeatable elements of the audit. Machines can zip through the data extraction that used to take weeks.

    But while AI will make quick work of high volumes of financial information, only the human auditor can bring their creativity and experience to interpreting that data. Businesses need qualified audit professionals to provide considered, constructive reports for their stakeholders.

    And it’s the human element that will allow firms to take advantage of machine learning, as these new insights can be fed back to the machines, meaning the AI-led analysis will be even stronger next time.

    However, many accountants feel they currently lack the required data knowledge and need to develop their data analytics skills if they’re to perform their role effectively in the next few years.

    Fortunately, accounting courses have evolved to help fill this skills gap. The ACCA, AAT and CIMA have all embedded digital learning in their courses. In fact, the AAT will be updating its Q2022 syllabus to put a greater emphasis on technology. The Level 3 qualification, for instance, will include block chain, AI machine learning, data analytics, cloud accounting and real-time data.

    As an auditor, to succeed in the age of AI you don’t need to be a data scientist, but you should be comfortable with data and be able to analyse it.

    AI and Management Accountants

    AI and cloud computing software reduces the time spent on day-to-day finance tasks, which allows accountants to switch their focus from compliance to advisory. As a result, accountants are increasingly taking on a business partner role.

    Findings by CIMA reflect that accountants will need tech knowledge and a digital mindset to affect and influence their own decisions, actions and behaviours, and those of their colleagues within the wider organisation.

    CIMA Operational, the first level of the CIMA Professional qualification, includes sessions on data usage, as well as a deep dive into the technology landscape and its impact on organisations and the finance function.

    It’s this knowledge that will help give management accountants the confidence to provide a more comprehensive business advisory service.

    Adding business value

    And it’s not just chartered and management accountants who are moving towards an advisory role. The industry is seeing this trend across a range of accounting functions. From bookkeeping and tax compliance to month-end work, automation and AI gives accountants more time to add value through advisory work.

    The ability to add context to figures, and to raise and resolve issues, is a useful asset. The ACCA Diploma in Accounting and Business (Level 4) reflects this key strand of accountancy. It’s Business and Technology element shines a light on how businesses are structured and how the role of accounting helps with the efficient management and improvement of a company, its people, and its systems.

    New skills for the AI age

    The best way to prepare for the advance of AI in accountancy is to arm yourself with a digital-ready skillset. Market yourself to your clients and employees as someone who has mastered the new technology, rather than someone who stands to be eclipsed by it.

    You can do this at the start of your accountancy career – the AAT Level 2 AQ2022, for instance, will test your knowledge of digital bookkeeping systems when it launches next year.

    And then continue to adapt by adding the extra levels of competence you need to be effective in your role as an accountant today… and tomorrow.

    Ready to gain the qualifications to help future-proof your accountancy career?

    Kaplan can support you with the course that’s right for you.

  • What steps do I need to take to become a self-employed accountant?

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Nov 11, 2021

    Self-employed accountants typically earn £52,000. Perhaps more importantly, 90% are satisfied with their jobs and work/life balance. These findings from the AAT Salary Survey 2021 show that becoming a freelance accountant has the potential to be a very rewarding move.

    But whether you’re an experienced accountant ready to go it alone, or considering retraining as an accountant to launch a new freelance career, where do you start? We’ve gathered some answers to help you on your way.

    Want to change career to freelance accountancy? Get the right qualifications

    If you’re not already in the profession, you’ll need to get qualified. Kickstarting your freelance accountancy career is easier than you may think.

    Kaplan has been helping people train for success for over 70 years, and we can offer you a choice of routes into accountancy. We provide training for all levels, and have four study methods to suit your lifestyle: OnDemand, Classroom, Live Online, and Distance Learning.

    The minimum recognised qualification in the UK is AAT. You don’t need any previous qualifications or accountancy experience to begin. Once you’ve gained your AAT Level 4 you’ll be able to offer your services as an accountant.

    Already have some accounting skills? The more you learn, the more you can earn

    From this stage, it’s worth developing your skills further. With Kaplan, you can progress through the qualification levels with ACCA, CIMA, or ACA ICAEW. That way, you can provide a broader range of accountancy services from bookkeeping through to payroll, tax and audits, as well as advising clients how to improve their business’s finances.

    You’ll need practical experience

    Alongside your qualifications, you’ll need relevant on-the-job experience. Prospective clients will want to know you can deliver what you’re promising, so it’s essential to have practical skills to back up your knowledge.

    If you can highlight your hands-on accountancy credentials from a previous role, great! But if you’re just starting your journey, it can be hard to get paid work before you’re qualified. Look into part-time roles, internships or volunteer work in a finance department to gain a practical understanding of accountancy systems and methods.

    Or how about an accounting apprenticeship? Apprenticeships aren’t just for school leavers. You can have a degree or been working for years and still start an apprenticeship. Whether you’re brand new to accounting or have some experience, an apprenticeship lets you gain on-the-job knowhow, while simultaneously studying for your professional qualification. If you’re aged 16 or over, live in England, and not already in full time education, it’s a great way to gain more accounting experience.

    Don’t overlook the legal side

    When you start working for yourself, you’ll need to set up as self-employed. You’ll also need to comply with industry standard guidelines and legal requirements before you can offer accountancy services.

    These include anti-money laundering regulations, registering with HMRC for your agent services account, and being registered with and monitored by a recognised supervisory authority such as AAT, ACCA, CIMA or ICAEW.

    You must notify the Information Commissioner’s Office as you’ll be holding personal data on your clients. And as even the most established firms can make mistakes, you’ll need Professional Indemnity Insurance to protect you against claims for professional negligence.

    Attract more clients

    When it comes to freelancing, the internet is your best friend. You’ve probably created a website, but is it working hard enough for you? As well as your contact details and information on the services you offer, include testimonials from clients and former colleagues.

    Join accountancy forums to raise your profile and connect with fellow professionals – they’ll be a source of advice and might pass on clients they’re too busy to handle.

    Above all, start networking with other firms in your area. Local business owners often support each other and use each other’s services. Find out about business groups near you. Or join a co-working space where you’ll meet others who might need your services.

    Then sell them more services

    It’s often easier to increase the revenue from existing clients than to find new ones. Once you’ve proven your worth by doing a good job in one area, offer to bring your expertise to something else.

    So if you’ve balanced their books by keeping track of revenue and expenses, offer to advise them on strategic business decisions. You could project profit margin increases and investment returns. Or pitch them on tax planning.

    There are a lot of options. And the more qualifications you gain, the more services you’ll be able to offer. So keep progressing through your qualification levels to expand your earning potential.

    Take your first steps to freelance accounting

    Becoming a self-employed accountant has a lot going for it. As well as the flexibility and freedom, you could enjoy more variety in your work. It’s a choice that could suit you if you’re seeking a new direction, or simply want to use your skills to be your own boss.

    Your qualifications, portfolio of work and your reputation will be your calling card. Concentrate on building them and you’ll be on the path to a successful freelance accountancy career.

    Ready to take your first steps to being a freelance accountant?

    Explore the popular accounting qualifications to get started or progress to the next level.

  • Well-being in your studies

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Nov 11, 2021

    We discuss why awareness of your own well-being is key to success, and how it can impact your performance.

    This week our host Stuart Pedley Smith, Head of learning here at Kaplan, explores the topic of well-being and it’s impact on your studies and working life.

    Kaplan’s learn better podcast covers topical subjects to support our past, present and future learners to succeed in both their studies and careers.

    Guest expert mental health speaker, Ross McWilliam of Mindset Pro, talks through the importance of acknowledging well-being and how to optimise our productivity through taking care of our wellness. He asks “Does being the best come at the expense of mental health?”, as well as sharing the 5 pillars to help you perform at your maximum.

    If you disregard well-being or don’t give it enough respect, it will come knocking on your door.

    - Ross McWilliam, Mindset Pro

    Key Topics:

    What is wellness?

    Wellness is being in a position to enjoy life and reach our potential whilst also being about to know when we are being compromised and know how to improve it when it happens.

    Being aware of your own wellness and well-being is key.

    The 5 pillars of wellbeing

    • Sleep:
      With sleep it is important to find what works for you and not worry about it too much as this itself can cause you stress.

    • Diet:
      People generally know what they should eat to maintain a healthy balanced diet. But making sure this is a priority can really help to support your wellbeing.

    • Exercise:
      Going outside, getting vitamin D and moving is a great way to improve your wellness. Exercise doesn't have to be going for a run or a 2 hour gym session. A great way to keep moving, without thinking about exercise specifically, is through activities like gardening. It keeps you moving and distracts your mind.

    • Being connected:
      We all know that being connected to other people is important to our wellness.
      Being connected to other people, doing something together where we don’t feel judged is essential for our wellbeing.

    • Self esteem and purpose:
      Self esteem and purpose is at the core of who we are. Learn, grow and enjoy life, don’t be too critical on where you are or compare yourself to others. Accept where you are in the world, or challenge it if you need to.

    Failing fantastically

    Often people talk themselves out of things to avoid failure. However, some of the best achievements in history have come from great people failing fantastically. So much can be learned from mistakes and we shouldn’t be scared to fail, as otherwise you can end up missing out on what you could have achieved.

    So, fail fantastically - like the greats.

    It’s not always who gets there first, it’s as long as you get there.

    Working at 85%

    People often believe you should always work at 100%, but that can leave little room for you to step up when needed. Instead you should think about working at 85% as this gives you the flexibility to take on extra work when it is needed but without causing yourself to burn out.

    Interested in finding out more? Tune in now.

  • How to understand Rollover Relief within Tax

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Nov 05, 2021

    One of the topics that tax examiners say students struggle with is rollover relief. This area features in tax exams across various qualifications such as: ICAEW, ACCA, ATT, AAT, and CTA. Here, a Senior Kaplan Tax Lecturer breaks down this important topic.

    What is ‘Rollover Relief’?

    When a business sells a building used in its trade, a capital gain will arise. If the sale proceeds are reinvested in a replacement building within a period of 1 year before to 3 years after the disposal, the gain can be postponed under ‘rollover relief’.

    The replacement building must also be used in the trade of the business and any sale proceeds not reinvested result in a gain that crystallises immediately.

    Simple Rollover Example: Apricot Ltd

    A Ltd sells an office building for £800,000, resulting in a capital gain of £350,000 in June 2019.

    In June 2020, A Ltd buys a freehold office building for £700,000. The replacement office building was sold for £1 million in 2025.

    Sale proceeds from the original office building retained by the company were £100,000, so £100,000 of the gain crystallises immediately.

    The balance of the gain (£350,000 -£100,000) = £250,000 is postponed by deducting it from the cost of the replacement office building.

    This means that the base cost of the replacement building is £700,000 -£250,000 = £450,000.

    When the replacement building is sold in 2025, we use the base cost to find the gain. Gain arising in 2025 will therefore be £1 million -£450,000 =£550,000.

    As the replacement building was bought after December 2017 there is no indexation allowance available.

    Holdover Relief

    If the sale proceeds are reinvested in a depreciating asset with a life of less than 60 years (leasehold buildings or fixed plant and machinery) then the gain is postponed under holdover relief.

    Now, the gain is held over separately until the earliest of 3 events -sale of replacement, replacement obsolete and 10 years after the replacement is bought. The important thing to remember here is not to reduce the cost of the depreciating asset.

    Simple Holdover Example: Apricot Ltd

    A Ltd sells an office building for £800,000 resulting in a capital gain of £350,000 in June 2019.

    In June 2020, A Ltd buys fixed plant and machinery for £700,000. The machinery became obsolete in 2024 and was sold for its £100,000 scrap value in 2025.

    Sale proceeds from the original office building retained by the company were £100,000 so £100,000 of the gain crystallises immediately.

    The balance of the gain (£350,000 -£100,000) = £250,000 is postponed under holdover relief and held over separately until the earliest of 3 events:

    1. Sale of replacement asset 2025
    2. Replacement obsolete 2024
    3. 10 years after the replacement is bought 2030

    The gain of £250,000 will crystallise in 2024.

    The cost of the machinery is unchanged at £700,000. When the machinery is sold in 2025 for £100,000, a capital loss will arise of £100,000 -£700,000= £600,000.

    HMRC will not allow the company to claim the capital loss as tax depreciation in the form of capital allowances has already been given.

    Tax Planning

    While rollover relief postpones the gain until the replacement asset is sold, holdover relief only offers temporary relief and the gain is postponed temporarily for a maximum of 10 years.

    As a result, given the choice you should recommend rollover as being preferable to holdover relief.

    Capital Gains Tax (CGT) Groups

    For CGT groups, the direct shareholding must be at least 75% while the indirect shareholding only has to be 51%. In addition, all group members must be UK resident. Companies in the same CGT group are treated as a single entity and gains can be rolled over between different group members.

    Simple CGT Group Example: Apricot Group

    Apricot Ltd owns 75% OSC of Blueberry Ltd. Both companies are UK resident.

    A Ltd sells an office building for £800,000 resulting in a capital gain of £350,000 in June 2019.

    In June 2020, B Ltd buys a freehold office building for £700,000.

    Sale proceeds from the original office building retained by the group were £100,000 so £100,000 of the gain crystallises immediately.

    The balance of the gain (£350,000 -£100,000) = £250,000 is postponed by deducting it from the cost of the building bought by B Ltd.

    This means that the base cost of the replacement building is £700,000 -£250,000 = £450,000.

    Given the above, you can now understand rollover relief and can easily pick up marks on this popular exam topic.

    Neil Da Costa is a Senior Tax Lecturer with Kaplan. He believes in keeping things simple and rigorous exam question practice. He is the author of Advanced Tax Condensed, which consists of a set of memory joggers designed to be used with the Kaplan Study Notes and Exam Kit. 

  • Don’t just take our word for it

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Nov 05, 2021

    Our learners share their experiences studying with Kaplan and explain why they’d recommend us as a training provider.

    We spoke to learners studying across a range of qualifications and study methods to understand their experience of Kaplan. Here’s what they had to say.

    The tutors and talent coaches

    Aaron Irons, CIMA:

    “I loved the way the lectures were run, I had literally no issues whatsoever with Kaplan whilst I studied. The tutors were great and if there was ever an issue you could just drop them an email. They’d also stay 5-15 minutes after class if you needed them to.”

    Apoorva Rawat, Oxford Brookes, ACCA:

    “I chose Kaplan first of all because of its quality. I’d read a lot of testimonials on the web page. I also chose it because of the tutors, I found a lot of them in the approved list, provided by the University.

    “My experience was pretty amazing. You wouldn't really believe it, but I actually got infected by Corona during the research stage of my assessment, and I told my Kaplan tutor that I didn't know what to do, so she said ‘let's apply for an extension’ and got it all sorted for me.

    “Luckily I did get the extension, as it allowed me to submit my best work which led to me winning the Best Research Analysis Project Prize. Kaplan was a good support and guiding experience. My tutor actually adjusted a lot of things for me, such as my schedules and stuff like that. It was a very good experience.”

    Tianna Oti, Accounting Apprentice:

    “Talent coaches are really friendly and open to helping out in any way they can.

    “I have regular catch ups with my talent coach who assesses me on my progress, gives me a training log and sets me regular targets. I’m also allowed to invite my managers along to meetings, so there's a real sense of openness between my manager and my Kaplan talent coach.

    “I can also get 24 hour support because there's a number or an email you can use to contact someone. I never feel like I’m alone whilst I am studying, which I find quite comforting. So if I have a last minute question, I can just go into my KapApp and they get back to me within 24 hours.

    “Finally, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in early 2020, and then got my role in September 2020. There was a lot out there to help me with my disability. I had a good relationship with one of my tutors and if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have known what support I could have gotten.”

    The study materials

    Aaron Irons, CIMA:

    “The materials, and everything that gets sent out, come in a big box. And there are revision cards and everything like that, so I definitely recommend Kaplan 100%. I had no issues whatsoever with Kaplan. It's been brilliant.”

    Apoorva Rawat, Oxford Brookes, ACCA:

    “All of my textbooks have always been from Kaplan. And the reason why I do not go for a competitor is because it's less detailed. With Kaplan if you study the whole textbook you know it’s coming up in the paper, so yeah I've been using Kaplan for all of my papers since F1, even right now as I am preparing for SBR.”

    Tianna Oti, Accounting Apprentice:

    “In terms of the resources you're given, they are very easy to navigate. The study materials I use are structured in a way that if you've never done accounting before, it's easy to use. The teachers also teach in that way.

    “We've got a mini pocket book that you can take on the go, wherever you're going to study. Then we've got a big workbook, a textbook and a mark scheme. It's all really organised and tidy so it helps, because part of the problem with studying sometimes is keeping organised and that can be overwhelming. Also, there's an endless amount of resources because we get access to an online portal as well - myKaplan.”

    The flexibility of study

    Aaron Irons, CIMA:

    “I studied Live Online. I think I mostly did the weekday sessions where it was 6-8:30pm on a Tuesday, and 6-8:30pm on Thursdays. So it was about 5 hours a week. I think the other option was to do the weekend, which is what I did on my final exam. It’s good as you have many options depending on what you need.”

    Apoorva Rawat, Oxford Brookes, ACCA:

    “I started studying ACCA in India, so with OnDemand I can access the resources online and study whenever I want. I just love flexibility. I avoid commitments so I love things that can be done whenever you want.”

    Tianna Oti, Accounting Apprentice:

    “Because of COVID I studied Live Online. With my MS, this helped as well because I wasn't able to be as mobile at times and it just helped that I could study from home and after work. Also all of the sessions are recorded and saved, so if you can't attend, you can always watch the recording back. I found them useful and I've passed all my exams, first time, so far.”


    Looking to take your next steps?

    Take our Help Me Choose quiz and discover the accountancy career path to suit you.

  • The Digital Skills Gap

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Oct 28, 2021

    With employer demand for digital skills outstripping the supply, we share how apprenticeships can give you the advantage in the jobs market.

    In this week's episode, our host Stuart Pedley Smith, Head of learning here at Kaplan, looks at the Digital Skills Gap and the opportunity it has presented for those willing to upskill.

    Kaplan’s Learn Better podcast covers topical subjects to support our past, present and future learners to succeed in both their studies and careers.

    Our guest this week is Jason Moss, Apprenticeship Development Director at Kaplan. Helping us to understand the difference between knowledge and skills, Jason explains what employers are looking for and how studying an apprenticeship to learn these digital skills can help further your career and increase your employability.

    As a technical person you need to be a bit more rounded than you used to be historically.

    - Jason Moss, Kaplan Apprenticeship Development Director

    Key topics

    What is the difference between knowledge and a skill?

    Knowledge is knowing how something is done, however a skill is the ability to do something, with little or no support and competently. With the digital skills gap the need focuses on people being able to put digital and technical skills (such as coding, software development, data analysis etc.) into practice.

    How are skills taught?

    With apprenticeships skills are taught in 3 levels: the delivery of the knowledge, the practicing of implementing these skills into a problem within a classroom or lab, and then finally taking these skills into the workplace to use in real life scenarios. These steps give learners a safe pace to learn and practice skills in an environment where they can make mistakes and it doesn’t matter. This then allows them to be confident when applying the learned skills within the workplace.

    What do employers want?

    Currently employer demand for digital skills is outstripping the supply available. But technical skills are not the only thing employers are looking for. Employers are also looking for people who are collaborative, logical thinkers, curious, creative and effective communicators.

    It’s important to be able to work seamlessly with others within the business as well as being productive independently.

    As a technical person you need to be a bit more rounded than you used to be historically.

    - Jason Moss, Kaplan Apprenticeship Development Director

    How are skills assessed?

    To make sure your learned skills are well and truly embedded and you can utilise them competently, apprenticeships assess you through a range of different methods.

    • Classroom/lab assessment:
      Initially you are assessed in the classroom/lab environment to make sure you are getting the right outcome and that you use the correct methods to get there.

    • Assignments in the workplace:
      Once it is shown that you are able to demonstrate the correct skills and knowledge within the controlled assessments, you will then be set a task within your workplace. This will test how you implement your learned knowledge and skills into real world tasks.

    • Employer assessment:
      Before going through the end point assessment your employer will sign off to say that you have demonstrated the knowledge, skills and behaviours learned on the apprenticeship to help you do your job competently.

    • End point assessment:
      An independent third party assessment organisation will review your portfolio of work and have an interview or professional discussion to assess that the relevant skills are shown. Often a task will also be set for you to complete under the observation of the independent assessor for them to then make a final decision on you successfully passing your apprenticeship.

    Starting your career and upskilling

    Whether you are starting your career or looking to upskill/reskill, there is a growing need for digitally skilled professionals, which is providing a lot of opportunity for those willing to learn and develop.

    Jason comments: “If I was somebody thinking of either starting a career or upskilling or reskilling in some capacity, then looking at these [digital] skills would be really advantageous and give me a fantastic opportunity.”

    Interested in finding out more?

    Tune in now to listen to the full conversation on apprenticeships and the Digital Skills Gap, or check out our apprenticeships pages for more information.

  • How to progress from AAT to ACA (ICAEW)

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Oct 21, 2021

    If you’re coming to the end of your AAT qualification, or you completed it a while ago, you may want to consider doing an ACA qualification.

    Here’s a bit more information to help you make your decision.

    What is ACA?

    ACA stands for Associate Chartered Accountant, and is administered by the Institute of Chartered Accountant in England and Wales (ICAEW). It’s a great option if you would like to be a chartered accountant and work in accountancy and finance. It’s also a globally recognised qualification, so it can open doors in many different industries.

    ICAEW is one of the oldest accountancy bodies in the world. It has more than 184,500 members and students in 148 countries.

    How is the ACA qualification structured?

    ACA consists of three levels - Certificate, Professional, and Advanced. You also have to complete 450 practical work experience days. In total, it’ll take around three years to complete the qualification.

    For former AAT students, they may be eligible for a reduction to 300 days of practical work experience as they can apply for a credit of prior work experience from when they studied AAT.

    What are the entry requirements for ACA?

    Well it’s really good news if you’ve already done AAT, as you may be able to start at the Certificate level straight away. You’ll already have a great knowledge base from your previous studies, so this will suit you perfectly.

    Also, you may be exempt from some of the Certificate level papers. These include:

    • Accounting, Management Information and Business and Finance
    • Assurance if you have completed optional External Auditing paper at level 4 (Professional Diploma)
    • Principles of Tax if you have completed BOTH optional tax papers at level 4.
    For more info on exemptions, please visit the ICAEW fast-track site. 

    How hard are the ACA exams?

    They are tougher than the AAT exams, but not impossible. You will already have a lot of knowledge, but you will need to study hard as the exams go into a lot more detail than they did for AAT. Pass marks are around 50-55% for all exams, so you don’t need to panic that you have to get really high marks to succeed. You may find it a steep learning curve, but it’ll be worth it.

    Why do ACA after AAT?

    AAT is a great qualification, and lots of people do well with it, but qualifying as a Chartered Accountant will open up more career opportunities and allow you to progress further in accountancy.

    Could I earn more with an ACA qualification?

    You can earn a lot more with ACA than you can with AAT. A qualified chartered accountant salary, according to the ICAEW salary survey 2020*, is £63,715 a year, but you can earn well over £100,000 a year with experience, and depending on where in the world you are.

    Ready to take your next step?

    If you’re interested in moving on to ACA, have a look at our ACA pages for more details, and more information about our study methods. Also our student services team is always on hand for any questions and advice.

    *ICAEW Salary Survey 2020

  • Sleep and study

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Oct 14, 2021

    We discuss why sleep can impact how we learn and why it is fundamental to our mental health.

    This week our host Stuart Pedley Smith, Head of learning here at Kaplan, explores the topic of sleep, how it affects how we learn and our mental health.

    Kaplan’s learn better podcast covers topical subjects to support our past, present and future learners to succeed in both their studies and careers.

    Guest Dr Nishi Bhopal, Psychiatrist and Sleep Specialist, explains how fundamental sleep is to your mental health and how we learn. Focusing on consolidation, one of the three primary aspects to learning, she helps to provide understanding as to why sleep deprivation can affect your recall of information.

    Sharing top tips on how to get the best night's sleep, Dr Bhopal points out how obsessing over the amount of sleep you get can actually have a further negative impact on your mental health and your amount of sleep. She explains that although sleep should be a priority, you need to listen to your body rather than focusing on a specific time.

    Key topics

    What is sleep?

    Sleep is a state of being where your awareness of your environment and environmental stimuli is reduced. Similar to hibernation and being in a coma, the main difference is sleep can be rapidly reversed.

    The three primary aspects of learning

    There are three primary aspects of learning: acquisition, consolidation and recall. Sleep is most important to the consolidation aspect. This is when we file away the information into the correct places to help us when it comes to recalling it at a later date. During this phase we also get rid of any extraneous information that we don't need to know. Sleep deprivation can cause consolidation of information to be impacted.

    I visualize the brain almost like an office, where you’ve got multiple filing cabinets, and with sleep deprivation you can imagine you have an office with papers everywhere. Nothing is filed in the right places.

    Top tips for a good night's sleep

    • Get into bed and get up at the same time each day - Having a routine can really help you to sleep better as well as combat the symptoms of “social jetlag”.

    • Don’t get into bed until you are sleepy - Although this sounds counter intuitive, we need to make sure that you associate being in bed with sleep. Lying in bed for hours on your phone will cause your body to instead associate being in bed with being awake, causing you to struggle to sleep well.

    • Find something to help you unwind and relax - Lots of people struggle to fall asleep as their mind is active and thinking about different things and trying to solve problems. This can make it hard to fall asleep, and so doing something that helps distract your mind and relax you before going to bed can be really beneficial in helping you get to sleep.

    Sleep deprivation and the impact on mental health

    Sleep and mental health are directly related, in fact they have a bidirectional relationship. This means that when you aren’t sleeping well it affects your mental health and when you are experiencing issues with mental health it causes issues with sleep. However, there are several different things you can do to help you have a good night's sleep.

    It’s really hard to improve your depression and anxiety, reduce stress levels and of course optimise learning without adequate sleep.

    The economic issue of sleep

    Sleep deprivation can impact the economy financially. In the US it has been noted that workers lose an average of about 11 days of productivity each year due to sleep issues*.

    Some large companies have even implemented nap rooms into their offices to help their workers get the sleep they need to increase their productivity.

    Tune in now to find out more.

    *Sourced from the Washington Post.

  • Salary estimates for an Apprentice Accountant in the UK

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Oct 14, 2021

    As an apprentice accountant studying towards an intermediate (level 2), advanced (level 3) or higher (level 4-7) apprenticeship, you don’t have to give up earning a full-time salary. The government funds your studies through your employer as you learn knowledge, skills and behaviours specific to your role. But how much do accountancy apprentices typically earn?

    In this article, we bring you up-to-date information on the salary you can expect as an accounting apprentice in the UK. And how salaries can differ by role, level of qualification, and location.

    Student salaries are up 10%

    The good news is the average salary for accounting students is on the rise. According to the AAT Salary Survey 2021, student salaries are up 10% since 2019.

    The Association of Accounting Technicians’ research was particularly positive for students taking the apprenticeship route, revealing students on apprenticeships are 11% more satisfied than students not on apprenticeships – 83% vs 72%.

    What is the minimum I will earn?

    There are strict Government guidelines on the minimum apprenticeship wage. It’s linked to your age and how long you've been an apprentice, but many employers pay more than is legally required. They know that to attract good candidates, they need to offer a good salary.

    How much can I expect to earn at each level of my apprenticeship?

    How much you earn also depends on your prior accountancy knowledge, which qualification you are working towards and where in the UK you work. Apprentice accountants in popular locations with a higher cost of living like London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds tend to be paid more. On average, salaries in the south are higher than in the north.

    There are several levels of apprenticeship, each providing a gateway into different accountancy/finance roles:

    Level 2 accounting apprenticeships are the equivalent of 5 GCSEs at A* to C grade (or 9 to 4 on the new scale). You could be working in an entry-level role such as credit controller, accounts/finance assistant or junior clerk on a starting salary between £10,000 and £14,000.

    Level 3 accounting apprenticeships are equivalent to two A-level passes. At this stage, you’ll be stepping into an assistant accountant, advanced credit controller or trainee accounting technician role. These involve more responsibility, so your starting salary will be between £11,000 and £16,000.

    Level 4 accounting apprenticeships are the next stage up from A-levels, Level 3 BTECs, Scottish Highers and other equivalents. You could work as a trainee tax adviser or internal audit practitioner, and expect a starting salary of between £12,000 and £17,000.

    Level 7 accounting apprenticeships are for those aspiring to become leaders in accountancy, taxation, finance and business. They include chartered accountant apprenticeship pathways with ACCA, CIMA or ACA. You’ll provide financial information and advice to organisations big and small, and play a key part in the financial health of the organisation, so salary expectations rise to between £14,000 and £18,000.

    Graduate accounting apprenticeships give you the opportunity to gain a full bachelor’s or master’s degree. You can work as an accounts manager or accounts technician, and expect to earn between £16,000 and £20,000.

    Will I get paid to learn?

    Yes! Time spent on training is included as part of your regular working hours, which means you will be paid for it. You’ll spend at least 20% of your working time being trained.

    Which areas of the UK offer the best pay for apprentice accountants?

    Current AAT research shows that London is the top paying region for accounting students in the UK. On average, there is a 32% difference in salaries between London and the lowest paying regions in the North East and North West.

    What can I expect to earn as a qualified accountant?

    As you progress through the apprenticeship levels you will become more qualified – and therefore more employable. Your salary will reflect that, and rise as you gain your qualifications.

    There’s certainly plenty of incentive to move up the ladder in this sector as, according to Accountancy Age, the average salary for accountants in the UK is £63,715.

    Where can I find an accountancy apprenticeship?

    At Kaplan, our recruitment team receives hundreds of apprenticeship vacancies from employers each year looking to hire new talent. Take a look at our live accounting apprentice job opportunities across the UK and find the right opportunity for you.

  • Changing Careers: studying whilst in a full-time job

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Oct 07, 2021

    Danny Green, AAT student, shares what ignited his decision to change careers and how he balanced his studies whilst in a full-time job.

    I’ve always liked accountancy, whether I was conscious of it or not.

    I first truly realised I wanted to do accounting in my previous marketing role - as I moved the company to a new accounting system. Here and there, I was dabbling.

    I got very familiar with the system as I had 1-on-1 training on it, and this allowed me to train the whole company. As I was really enjoying this, I spoke to my neighbour who was a chartered accountant, and with my love of problem solving and numbers, it sounded like the right career for me.

    So, I finally bit the bullet and signed up for the AAT whilst working.

    Balancing furlough, full-time work, and studies

    Not long after my first exam, however, I moved jobs to a Telecoms support manager because it was more technical and paid more. As I had so much to learn with starting a new job I took a year off studying.

    When Covid hit I was put on furlough. After a couple months I decided I didn't want to waste any time and jumped straight back into studying (there is only so much Netflix you can watch). Since I had already paid for it, I thought I should get back into it.

    Being on furlough made it easy to study as I was able to do eight hours a day, as if it was a 9-to-5 job. This helped me progress quickly and I ended up doing one exam every two weeks.

    Once I returned to working full-time, I had to adapt to how I studied. I try now to do a minimum of one hour a day with the occasional 2-3 hours where possible. Then I have the weekends off - especially now we can go out and enjoy it!

    With OnDemand you can work at a pace that suits you. I sat one exam before I took a break and then when I restarted I took the other four within the space of two months. You just have to be flexible and work around what you have on.

    Changing careers

    If someone wants to start their accounting career whilst working, I would tell them it is not as time consuming as you think. On average think about doing 10 hours a week, but that’s completely flexible, you just have to have a good balance between life and work.

    If there’s something you really want to do, but you feel hindered by the cost or the time needed to do it, you need to take a step back. Really consider the end goal and the future benefits. Ask yourself ‘Will it be worth my while in the long run?’. If the answer is yes, then proceed. Even if it does cost you a little bit of money and time.

    Employers are impressed if it’s evident that you’ve invested in yourself. It shows how willing and dedicated you are. I think of it as spending money to make money.

    Also, it's very motivating when you have a career you really want to succeed in. When you're young, you can be unsure of what you want to do and sometimes you need that spark that helps you realise. That’s what happened to me, and the work with the accounting system was the one thing that made everything click.

    Since completing my Level 2 and starting my Level 3, I have been able to move into a job within accounting. I feel as though my hard work is already paying off and I am now on the career path that I want.

    Find out more

    Have you thought of becoming an accountant but don’t know where to start? Find out more on our AAT pages. You don’t need any previous qualifications or accountancy experience to get started.

  • Why Accountancy continues to be important

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Oct 01, 2021

    With so many technological advancements and changes to the roles within accountancy, we discuss why this profession continues to be important.

    Our host Stuart Pedley Smith, Head of Learning here at Kaplan, asks the question “Why does accountancy continue to be important?”.

    Kaplan’s Learn Better Podcast covers topical subjects to support our past, present and future learners to succeed in both their studies and careers.

    This week, Paul Barnes, Managing Director of MAP, helps us understand why accountancy is still so important. Speaking about personal development, computerisation within the industry, and value perception, this episode explores ways in which accounting will continue to be important, and how to make it a successful career path for you.

    People’s lives are changed by better understanding their finances.

    Key topics

    The broad range of opportunities in accounting

    Accounting and finance can cover a very broad range of roles and responsibilities. Whatever your passion may be it is very likely you’d be able to find a position to fit your interests and skills within this industry.

    Paul explains that you don’t need to worry if you begin heading down a path that doesn’t quite suit you. There are plenty of opportunities and routes beneath the accounting and finance umbrella, so there is no need to panic that you have chosen the wrong industry for your career.

    Computerisation and the 4th industrial revolution

    It can often be thought that the evolution of computers could make many jobs obsolete - especially within the accounting world. However, there are still things only humans can do. Having someone who can have a meaningful conversation and offer sensible advice is a skill set in itself.

    In the episode our guest talks about how we should see computers as a tool, allowing us to have more time to speak with clients and offer the services which provide added value.

    Try to look at everything as an opportunity rather than a threat.

    Service value and value perception

    Building a relationship with a client or employer you are delivering a service for is very important. The way in which you deliver a service or report is where the real value comes from.

    The same service delivered slightly differently can massively change the value perception.

    Paul argues that value perception from your client is key, if they are unaware of the work you have put in it could mean you spend hours on a service that is underappreciated. Good value perception coupled with an accurate and professionally delivered service, means that you will be worth more as an individual.

    Being proactive in your development

    Finally the subject of being proactive and curious is covered, as it allows you to be ready to find your weaknesses and in-experiences to allow you to progress.

    You can quickly limit your development if you are quiet and don’t ask questions. Having a strong curiosity can make sure you are continuously looking to better yourself and learn more, helping you to progress in your career.

    Tune in now

    To hear more about these topics, tune in now.

  • Our new two day ACA-CTA Bridging courses

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Sep 24, 2021

    We've just launched our new two day ACA CTA Joint Programme Bridging courses, aimed at our joint programme students. Here's some more information about the courses.

    Who is the ideal student for the course?

    Our two day ACA CTA Joint Programme Bridging courses are specifically for students on the ACA CTA joint programme. Students on this pathway should take our CTA bridging course before starting their first CTA Advanced Technical paper which will be either Owner Managed Business (OMB) or Taxation of Major Corporates (TOMC).

    What is different about this course/what different topics are covered?

    The course aims to provide a smooth transition for our joint programme students as they move from their ACA to their CTA tax studies.

    The course will build on knowledge gained whilst studying ACA Tax Compliance and also introduce the core topics that are examined as part of the first CTA Advanced Technical paper.

    The courses are delivered online via our award winning Live Online study method. Students will receive expert tuition delivered by experienced OMB and TOMC tutors. They will also have access to our academic support team should they need it.

    Students won’t have to sit assessments as part of this course - the course is designed to fill any knowledge gaps they may have before starting CTA.

    What qualification will I receive at the end of the course?

    The ACA CTA joint programme allows students to achieve two prestigious qualifications in a shorter amount of time. They will become both an Associate Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser when the joint programme is completed.

    Interested in the ACA-CTA bridging courses?

    The courses launch on 13 December 2021, but are available to buy now. For more information see our bridging course page.

  • What part does sustainability play in accounting?

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Sep 16, 2021

    Sustainability: What part does it play in accounting?

    Our host Stuart Pedley Smith, Head of Learning here at Kaplan, helps tackle the subject of sustainability within the world of accounting.

    Kaplan’s Learn Better podcast covers topical subjects to support our past, present and future learners to succeed in both their studies and careers.

    This week Richard Barker, Professor of Accounting at Oxford University, joins us to explore sustainability. With a lot of confusion around sustainability, and what it really means, this episode will help provide clarity on what it is and why it is important to employees and businesses.

    We delve further into the role sustainability plays in society, how knowledge of this growth space could help accelerate your career, and how in this space you can utilise any wider skillsets gained from other degree subjects alongside your accounting qualification.

    Key Topics:

    • What is sustainability?
    • Financial vs Sustainability reporting
    • New generation career opportunities
    • Sustainability reporting's role in society
    • Recommended reading

    Tune in now to join the discussion

  • WorldSkills UK finals - who will take first place?

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Sep 13, 2021

    The finalists for the WorldSkills UK Accounting Technician competition have been announced.

    WorldSkills supports young people across the world via competitions-based training. This particular competition has been designed by Kaplan tutors to ‘reflect the role of an Accountant and the standards that are expected within the financial sector’.

    Following the qualifiers held in July, four teams will be moving on to the final in our Accounting Technician competition: Riverside College, Lloyds Team 2, City of Glasgow College and LIFO the Party (Bridgend College).

    In the next stage, to help the teams prepare and practise for the finals, they will take part in a "development day". The aim of this day is to cover relevant topics that they'll face in the finals.

    The finals will take place on Monday 15th November at MediaCity UK, where the four teams will come together to compete for 1st place. They will have 4 hours to work through a case study, which they will then present back to the judges. The winners will be announced via an online broadcast from Channel 4’s studios on Friday 26th November at 4pm.

    We'd like to congratulate, thank, and recognise all of the teams who entered and have been a part of this year's competition. It's been great to see everyone overcome the virtual challenges and still put in a huge effort to make the competition a success.

    Keep your eyes peeled for the confirmation of the date for the UK LIVE finals, and for more information about the Worldskills competitions check out their website.

  • Kaplan shortlisted 3 times for the 2021 Learning Tech Awards

    by Sharon Cooper | Sep 10, 2021

    After one of the most challenging years in our history, we have been shortlisted 3 times for the Learning Tech awards.

    The Learning Technology awards represent one of the most prestigious international awards within the learning sector, so we’re very humbled to be recognised for another year.

    As stated on their website:

    [The Learning Technology Awards] recognise the commitment, enthusiasm and passion for learning technologies across the world. Finalists are selected by our independent judging panel of experts organised by the eLearning Network.

    We have been shortlisted for the following:

    The best digital learning transformation programme implemented in response to COVID-19.

    This submission detailed how we introduced two new digital programmes during the pandemic, to ensure our learners could continue to study and move forward in their professional careers.

    The best learning technologies project - private sector

    This nomination is for the creation of our digital training solutions with input from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). With them, we created 2 digital pathways for finance professionals to develop their Data Analytics skills.

    Best learning game

    This nomination was for the educational business game we created alongside Lloyds Banking Group and Interpretive. The game was a unique experience designed for apprentices to develop work-place skills.

    Good luck to all of the nominees! The ceremony will be held on the 17th November. For more information and the full shortlist visit their page.

  • How the HMRC are ‘making tax digital’

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Sep 02, 2021

    Our Senior Tax Lecturer, Neil Da Costa, gives an overview of the new changes to the tax system - designed to make them more digital friendly.

    HMRC has introduced the ‘Making Tax Digital’ Initiative in order to make it easier for individuals and businesses to get their tax right and keep on top of their affairs.

    This follows HMRC’s introduction of personal tax accounts in 2015, which allow individuals to manage their personal tax online and now they plan on extending this initiative to other taxes.

    Here is a breakdown of some of the main changes that will happen.

    Making tax digital for VAT

    Since 2019, VAT registered businesses with a turnover of more than £85,000 have been required to keep digital records and submit digital VAT returns. With regard to businesses who have a turnover of less than £85,000, they will have to use MTD from April 2022.

    Businesses will have to maintain digital records which will include all the current VAT supporting documentation such as the business name and address, VAT number, time of supply or tax point and rate of VAT charged. In addition, businesses can claim back VAT on assets like machinery, computers and furniture so digital records of assets bought also need to be maintained.

    When preparing the quarterly VAT returns, it is necessary to adjust for issues such as errors or mistakes discovered in previous returns etc. or reverse charge transactions relating to overseas supplies so digital records need to be maintained as well.

    If the business is part of a special scheme such as the retail or flat rate schemes, then daily gross takings need to be maintained.

    Software enabling MTD

    HMRC does not provide the required software, so businesses will initially use spreadsheets to summarise the VAT transactions and calculate the amount payable. The business then needs ‘bridging software’ to convert the records into the correct submission format.

    The bridging software from companies such as Xero, QuickBooks, Sage, Zoho and FreshBooks will then pull the information from the spreadsheets which will need to be preserved for at least six years.

    The government estimated these costs to the small businesses at £70 a year for four years or £280 but the ICAEW estimated the cost at £1,250.

    Making tax digital for sole traders

    Self-employed individuals have to use MTD from April 2023 so will have to keep records digitally and submit income tax updates to HMRC. This will move self-employed tax to a real time system which lets you see how much income tax you owe as you go.

    Once the digital records have been submitted for the entire year, the final report for the accounting period is computed and the sole trader can claim any capital allowances or loss relief.

    Making tax digital for landlords

    Landlords with rental income of more than £10,000 are also required to use MTD from April 2023 and will also have to keep records digitally and submit income tax updates to HMRC. This will also move landlords to a real time system which lets you see how much income tax you owe as you go.

    MTD pilot scheme for sole traders and landlords

    Sole traders and landlords have the option to join the digital returns pilot scheme now.

    Since 2019, VAT registered businesses with a turnover of more than £85,000 have been required to keep digital records and submit digital VAT returns. With regard to businesses who have a turnover of less than £85,000, they will have to use MTD from April 2022.


    This is a major shake up to the tax system and we will all have to be used to digital records. Eventually, paper records will not meet the legal requirements.

    To find out more about our tax related courses please visit our tax qualification pages.

    Neil Da Costa is a Senior Tax Lecturer with Kaplan in London. He is the author of Advanced Tax Condensed which summarises the entire syllabus using memory joggers. 

    He is also a passionate advocate for mental wellness and diversity.

  • Diversity in accounting

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Sep 02, 2021

    “Never underestimate your ability to have influence.”

    This week our host Stuart Pedley Smith, Head of learning here at Kaplan, explores the topic of diversity within the accountancy profession.

    Kaplan’s learn better podcast covers topical subjects to support our past, present and future learners to succeed in both their studies and careers.

    Guest Alice Olafare, Co-found of New Gen Accountants (NGA), shares her experiences and what led her to co-founding the NGA community initiative. She discusses the challenges diverse candidates may face, the resources they can lean on for support, and the benefits of a diverse workforce for everyone.

    Together Stuart and Alice explore what diversity is, why it is important within the accounting profession, and how to champion it and give longevity to the movements that have taken place over the past year.

    Make it a movement, not a moment.

    - Alice Olafare, Co-founder of New Gen Accountants

    Key topics:

    • What is diversity?
    • New Gen Accountants community initiative
    • The benefits of a diverse workforce
    • How to champion diversity.

    Tune in now to find out more.

  • The benefits of ACCA to employers

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Aug 04, 2022

    We often talk about the merits of studying ACCA from the perspective of potential learners, but why, and how, could it benefit employers and organisations as a whole? Read on to find out more.

    Firstly, what is ACCA?

    ACCA stands for Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. It’s a globally recognised qualification and is ideal for those wanting to become a chartered accountant, or work in accountancy, tax or audit.

    Why should your employees do ACCA?

    By completing the ACCA qualification your employees will gain essential skills and knowledge needed to add value to your organisation. They will have extensive finance and business skills, adding knowledge to their teams. They will be able to take on higher level roles and responsibilities, and communicate effectively with important internal and external stakeholders on key business and financial matters.

    Is it just an accounting qualification?

    Not at all - there’s a lot more to ACCA than first meets the eye. It’s not just an accountancy qualification as it focuses a lot more on business as a whole. For example during Applied Skills the subjects include Corporate and Business Law in England and globally.

    Learners also study Performance Management, discovering techniques for planning, decision-making, performance evaluation and control. It’s not just spreadsheets and numbers.

    And at the Strategic Professional level, your employees will study ethics and professional skills, as well as business leadership, and advanced financial and performance management. They’ll get a lot more out of this, as will you, than if they did a low level accounting course.

    What is the ACCA approved employer programme?

    The ACCA Approved Employer Programme recognises employers’ high standards of staff training and development. The ACCA recognise and reward organisations that support the ACCA qualification, and set the highest standards of employee support. By becoming an approved employer your organisation will receive a number of benefits via ACCA, including free recruitment services, quality assurance, research and industry insights, discounts on courses, and support from ACCA themselves.

    How do I get my employees ACCA qualified?

    Have a look at our ACCA pages and see what the qualification involves. Most people can start Applied Knowledge with three GSCEs and an A-Level (or equivalent qualifications) - you can check on the ACCA website to see the various entry requirements.

    If any of your employees have already completed the AAT qualification, they can start at Applied Skills. They would have to apply for an ACCA exemption - more information can be found on the ACCA website.

    Need more information?

    If you’d like to speak to one of our team about getting your employees ACCA qualified, or any other qualification, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

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