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  • How does CPD work for ACCA?

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Dec 12, 2019

    In today’s dynamic business environment, continually improving your knowledge, skills and experience is essential for furthering your career and helping your clients.

    The CPD process is a way for you to document all the formal and informal professional development activities you do, and how you apply them in the workplace.

    What is ACCA CPD?

    Continuing professional development, or CPD, is an essential part of your ACCA membership. It provides you with the skills needed for your job, and to help your career prospects.

    CPD also increases your productivity, confidence and credibility in the eyes of employers.

    Who needs to record CPD hours?

    Every active ACCA member needs to do CPD each year. New members must start recording their verifiable and non-verifiable CPD from 1 January after becoming a member. Those on the retired register don’t need to complete CPD.

    What qualifies as CPD?

    There are so many activities that you can do to gain CPD for ACCA. You can attend networking events, conferences, seminars, webinars, undergo face-to-face learning, do an online course, or read technical articles. They all have different amounts of CPD units assigned to them. You can find events and online CPD resources via the ACCA website.

    How do I go about doing my CPD?

    There are four different routes you can follow to complete your CPD, so you can choose the one that suits you best.

    1. Unit route

      This route is for if you want to plan and organise your own CPD. You’ll need to complete 40 relevant units of CPD every year, made up of at least 21 verifiable units and up to 19 non-verifiable units. One unit is one hour of CPD.

      A verifiable CPD unit for ACCA means that it is relevant to your career in accountancy, and you can explain how you use what you've learnt in the workplace. You will also have to provide evidence that you completed the activity. For example, if you went to a relevant conference, you would need to show proof that you attended, such as a course certificates or invoices, confirmation of a CPD task by colleagues or managers or notes taken at a meeting.

      A non-verifiable CPD unit can consist of reading or research - something that isn’t related to a specific outcome. You don’t need to prove that you’ve done this.

      If you complete more than 21 verifiable units in any year, you can carry forward up to 21 units to your next CPD year. This might happen if you’ve been studying intensely for an MBA or another qualification. Unfortunately, non-verifiable units can’t be carried forward. Please note that you cannot carry forward CPD units in your first year of CPD.

    2. Unit route if you’re part-time or semi-retired

      If you’re working less than 770 hours a year, so around 17.5 hours a week, then you can do the part-time or semi-retired route.

      This means you will only need to do 19 hours of non-verifiable CPD. You can set your own level of verifiable CPD units, but you need to make sure that it’s enough for your role, and you’re continuing to learn.

      There are some conditions that apply to this route:

      1. You need to follow the full unit route if you’re not eligible for this one.
      2. You can only follow this route if you’re not responsible for audit or other regulated report work.
      3. You will need to show that you have technical support when carrying out your duties.
      4. You should not follow this route if you are involved in the preparation or presentation of accounts that investors rely on.
      5. You should not follow this route if you are a non-executive director of a listed company.
    3. ACCA Approved Employer route

      If your employer holds an Approved Employer professional development approval then you can complete your CPD via their employee development programme. You’ll follow it by taking part in their appraisal process and completing your personal development plan with them.

      You will need to submit your annual CPD declaration to ACCA to confirm that you’ve done this route. Before choosing your route it’s always best to check with your employer to see if they have approved status.

    4. IFAC body route.

      If you’re part of another professional accountancy body, you may have a choice of CPD programmes. You can follow another CPD programme if:

      1. You’re a full member of the other accountancy body
      2. They are a member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC)
      3. Their CPD policy complies with IFAC's International Education Standard (IES 7).

      You will still need to submit your annual CPD declaration to ACCA to confirm you’ve followed this route.

      Submitting your annual CPD declaration

      Every ACCA member needs to submit their annual CPD declaration by 1 January of the following year. If you’re a new member you will start your CPD year on 1 January, so you won’t need to submit anything.

      It’s very simple to submit your CPD units - you log into myACCA or you can return a printed form version that can be downloaded from the ACCA website.

      You’ll need to confirm: which of the four CPD routes you followed, whether you’ve met the CPD requirement, if you're an engagement partner responsible for audits of financial statements, and if you’ve kept your professional ethics up to date.

      What if I haven’t met the required CPD units?

      Don’t worry, ACCA can help you out. Just let them know as soon as you can and they can see if you’re eligible for a different route, or even a waiver. You still have to make your annual CPD declaration, but you will just state that you haven’t managed to complete them.

      Interested in ACCA?

      If you’re interested in the ACCA qualification, and want to learn more, check out our ACCA pages for more information.

  • What job can I do whilst studying a CIMA qualification?

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Dec 10, 2019

    If you are studying the CIMA qualification, you’re able to get a really good job even if you haven’t completed all 16 of the exams.

    You can also study while you work, which is a definite benefit. Here are a few roles you can do while studying the different levels of the qualification.

    Certificate in Business Accounting level jobs

    This is the first level of the CIMA qualification and upon completion you will receive the Certificate. These papers are BA1, BA2, BA3 and BA4. Below are a few jobs that you could expect to be eligible for whilst studying.

    Sales Ledger Clerk - responsible for processing invoices and making sure that every penny owed to a company is accounted for and invoiced. You could expect to earn around £22,000† per year.

    Accounts Assistant - providing administrative support to accountants, undertaking clerical tasks such as typing, filing, making phone calls, handling mail and basic bookkeeping. You could expect to earn around £21,000* per year.

    If you choose to study the Professional qualification at each level there are three objective test subjects - Performance, Financial and Enterprise. These subjects are then consolidated at each level with a case study exam.

    Professional Operational level jobs

    Financial analyst - work in banks, pension funds, insurance companies, and other businesses. Financial analysts provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. You would have to be able to assess the performance of stocks, bonds, and other types of investments. You could expect to earn around £36,000* a year in this role.

    Junior Financial Analyst - responsible for assisting senior analysts in various accounting and financial management duties. Depending on the structure of the organisation, a junior financial analyst may be part of the accounting or finance department. You could expect to earn around £23,000* per year.

    Professional Management level jobs

    Fund Accountant - responsible for keeping all aspects of fund accounts in order for the business. Work includes creating financial reports, controlling transactions and tracking yields and interest. You could expect to earn around £45,000* a year in this role.

    Financial Accountant - responsible for budgeting, performing internal audits and managing tax payments, amongst lots of other duties. You would be a point of contact and authority for managers. You could expect to earn around £38,000* per year in this role.

    Management Accountant - interpreting financial data, and making informed strategic decisions that benefit the business. You might be working on monthly management accounts, year-end accounts, profit and loss reports, analysing balance sheets, budgets and forecasting. You could expect to earn around £40,000* a year in this role.

    Strategic Professional level jobs

    Financial Controller - responsible for overseeing the preparation of financial statements and ensuring insightful data from the reports. Must also verify the authenticity of financial reports, regulatory compliance and analysis of financial data. You could expect to earn around £55,000* per year in this role.

    Financial Manager - a varied role, depending on the organisation you work for. If the business is larger, then the role could be more about strategic analysis, but in a smaller organisation a finance manager might be more involved in the collection and preparation of accounts.

    Other responsibilities could be management and development of junior staff, being the point of contact for audits, both internal and external, and reporting actuals to management. You could expect to earn around £49,000** a year in this role.

    Do any jobs offer CIMA study support?

    Many companies offer their employees funding support and mentorship whilst they are studying towards a CIMA qualification. Support is available for a range of roles from graduate trainee accountant to part-qualified and assistant management accountant.

    If you’re taking the employer-funded route, you can typically invoice your employer for your course or apply for an apprenticeships programme.

    Want to start your CIMA journey, or thinking about your next steps? Find out more.

    † salary checker 2019

    * average salary checker 2019

    ** average salary checker Nov 2019

  • What is a Commercial Accountant?

    by Sharon Cooper | Nov 07, 2019


    Our video focuses on Rohit Thapa, one of our ACCA students. He is currently working in the finance department of an automotive company as a commercial accountant. He also has one eye on becoming a fully Chartered Accountant. 

    We thought we’d look into commercial accountancy and tell you a little bit more about the role.

    What is a Commercial Accountant?

    A Commercial Accountant is responsible for the efficient running of an organisation’s accounts, including everyday duties such as general entries, balance sheets, ledgers, reporting and advice management on tax issues, budgets and forecast and planning. 

    They would have responsibilities such as:

    • Investigating accounting and financial anomalies
    • Analysing financial information and preparing reports
    • Variance analysis and WIP reporting
    • Completing tasks and reporting within financial deadlines
    • Supporting contract negotiations

    How much can a Commercial Accountant earn?

    A Commercial Accountant salary ranges from around £27,000 to £52,000, depending on experience. Average salary is roughly £35,000*.

    What skills do Commercial Accountants need to have?

    You’ll need to have good communication skills to be able to explain financial reports to those who might not have the same level of knowledge as you do.

    You’ll need to be adaptable as the world of finance is always changing - whether it’s regulations, compliance, the stock market, or local markets.

    IT literacy is a must have. You’ll be using niche software, and will need to be able to embrace technology to improve systems, processes and result delivery.

    Be confident. You’ll need to be able to talk to heads of departments, company leaders, and decision makers to convince them to make the right call.

    What qualifications do I need to be a Commercial Accountant?

    You’ll need to either do ACCA, CIMA or ACA to become a qualified accountant, and then you can go into the commercial side of accountancy.

    More information about ACCA, CIMA or ACA.

    *Source: March 2020

  • Meet Rohit - ACCA online learning

    by Sharon Cooper | Oct 29, 2019

    Rohit works for an automotive company in Cardiff - and is studying ACCA OnDemand.

    Watch his video to see how OnDemand helps him with time management, flexible study, and his career progress. Rohit highlights the reason why he prefers this study method to others.

    With University, you can’t rewind the lectures - but you can with OnDemand.

    - Rohit

    OnDemand is our award-winning, flexible study method, that allows you to study when you want, where you want.

    Expert tuition on your terms. Find out more about OnDemand.

  • What salary can I earn with an ACCA qualification?

    by User Not Found | Oct 23, 2019

    (Updated in Dec 2021)

    Though these are uncertain times, one thing that remains constant is the high demand for accountancy and finance professionals - worldwide.

    An ACCA qualified salary

    The ACCA offer one of the leading accountancy qualifications out there. Not only does it open doors to careers in chartered accounting, but ACCA-qualified students can work in many other areas of finance.

    Some of these are: banking, auditing, financial consulting, taxation and law, as well as other general areas of business management.

    Right now its a candidates market, so you may be able to search around for the best salaries

    ACCA Global*

    Undoubtedly there is money to be made, but take everything into consideration when deciding on a new role. You must always be mindful of what's important beyond the pay cheque.

    Here is an overview of potential salaries that ACCA members typically earn.

    Trainee accountants

    Many trainee accountants study ACCA while on the job.

    The salaries and packages on offer, to trainee accountants, can vary by region, and tend to reflect the cost of living. It's also worth considering that there are quite a few countries that offer exceptional salary packages due to their tax benefits.

    As an example, the top 100 accountancy firms tend to offer salary packages that are reflective of the country in which an employee is working, in line with factors such as living expenses.

    Ellis King, Morgan McKinley*

    Countries such as Gibraltar and Dubai, for instance, are keen to attract new accountancy talent and the large tax benefits on offer mean they can be attractive to accountants seeking their first role.

    Typical UK trainee accountant salary: £19,000 - £27,000 (Source: Total jobs)

    Certified chartered accountant

    Many who complete the full ACCA qualification go on to become Certified Chartered Accountants.

    The starting salary can vary, depending on the location and size of the company, the sector, and any other qualifications.

    Once qualified, salaries can start at £25,000 and can increase to £45,000 (senior accountant roles).

    Once you've built up significant experience, however, your salary can rise to in excess of £100,000 (for director level role).***

    Starting salaries for the corporate sector and public practice are usually higher than in the public sector. Salaries are also generally higher for chartered certified accountants working in banks and insurance companies.

    Some organisations offer additional benefits, such as profit-sharing schemes, private health insurance, pensions, car allowances and bonuses.

    For bonuses, they vary due to the company but tend to be more common in financial services and the corporate sector.

    Typical ACCA qualified careers in the UK (average salaries):

    • Banking - 25-30k
    • Auditing - 23-35k
    • Financial consultant - 45-50k
    • Taxation - 25-40k
    • Business management - 29-60k

    (Source: &

    Average UK ACCA salary overall is £35k-58k (Source: Totaljobs)

    For a full breakdown, by region, see the Robert Walters 2020 Global Salary Survey.

    The world is open to you

    In addition to a healthy salary and a wide range of career options, ACCA students can: use the ACCA letters after their name, receive accounting and finance knowledge, and gain valuable skills in management and strategy.

    The flexibility of the course and the wide range of skills gained also means that ACCA careers have the potential to take you to many levels of seniority, over time.

    We hope this gives you an idea of the potential career you can have, and the salary you may expect, after becoming ACCA qualified.


  • How to pass CIMA’s case study exams

    by User Not Found | Oct 08, 2019

    Experienced Kaplan tutor, Andrew Mower, gives expert advice on how to pass your case study exams.

    Plan your answer

    When you read your tasks, summarise what you’re actually being asked. Jot them down on your whiteboard, or as headings in your answer box. More often than not, tasks are split into multiple parts, so if you plan your answer you’re less likely to miss something.

    Timing is vital

    When planning your answer, give each requirement a time scale. Unless one requirement is bigger than the rest, it’s a good idea to split your time equally. Remember - once the time stops on a task, you can’t go back.

    For example:

    If the exam starts at 10am, and there are three tasks within the exam, a suggestion of timings could be as follows:

    • 10.00am - 10.10am - reading and planning (10 mins)
    • 10.10am - 10.35am - requirement 1 (25 mins)
    • 10.35am - 11.00am - requirement 2 (25 mins)

    If you’re strict with your timings you shouldn’t write more for one requirement than the other, and then run out of time.

    Start strong

    Whilst tasks are in a set order, the requirements of each task aren’t. This means you can tackle them in any order - but it’s best to submit them in the order they’re asked.

    But this means you can focus first on the requirements you’re more confident about - the easy marks. This will also boost your confidence, and you may be more prepared to tackle the harder one afterwards.

    Structure your answer

    Don’t just blurt everything out. You need to make it coherent, so it’s best to structure your answer with headings, subheadings, short concise paragraphs and a neat conclusion. It’ll make your answer easier to understand, but will also help you write it.

    Know the pre-seen information and apply it

    This is key. Going into the exam you should know the company really well and know the key facts and figures like the back of your hand. This really helps to apply your knowledge to the company and get the marks.

    Did you know?

    We are the official publisher of CIMA study materials and the only training provider to work with CIMA directly. All our materials are examined by CIMA before we publish.

    Markers don’t want generic answers - they want answers that tie back to the company. Referring to the company, and specific people’s names in your answer, is a good way to ensure you are applying it to your case study. As well as demonstrating you have picked up information from the pre-seen.

    Keep typing

    The more you write, the better chance you’ll have of scoring well. So just keep writing, you can’t lose marks, but watch your timings and stick to what you have worked on.

    Practice makes perfect

    It’s vital to practice applying the knowledge you have learnt at the Objective Test papers into structured reports. If you are doing the Operational Case Study this will be your first time writing reports for a CIMA exam. I would suggest you look at past exam questions or see if you can find some resources on your live pre-seen.

    I strongly encourage you to submit answers to your Kaplan tutor. By doing this they can give you guidance as well as giving you advice on style, structure and generally answering the question.

    Final words

    My last message to you is to say ‘good luck’ in your exams. If you work hard, and are confident you've done the best you can, then I'm sure you'll get the results you need.

  • Maria’s story: success in the 21st century classroom

    by User Not Found | Oct 03, 2019

    There are various ways to study, and with evolving technology it’s easy to forget the impact a live classroom can have.

    This is why we wanted to share Maria’s story. Her course success - which came via the classroom - reminds us why the live learning experience continues to have a strong presence with future accountancy professionals.

    I mostly studied in the classroom, sometimes used Live Online. But I loved the lectures at Kaplan, they were amazing.

    As I live in Coventry, I’d have to get the train or drive to the Birmingham centre, every Saturday and Sunday 9:00am to 5.30pm. And then I’d work - full time - in the week! So yeah, it was pretty hardcore.

    Many of the lecturers went above and beyond. They’d give you your lecture and then stay after it to answer any questions, after their allotted time. They cared, it was impressive.

    I’ve met some great people on the course

    My company paid for my course – they put me on Classroom at first but then I had the option to choose a different study method, like online or Distance Learning. But I stuck with Classroom as I liked it. It worked for me anyway.

    I like the interaction you get with the lecturers.

    The main strength is the way they are with the students. When they’re there, in front of you, they build your confidence and motivate you. ACCA exams are really hard so you need it! I think the course is even harder than uni!

    Our tutor was inspiring

    It makes a difference, having that personal connection.

    You can build relationships with the teachers. With me I would actually ring up and seek out my favourites: ‘Which room are they in, what are they teaching?!’ - I was like a stalker! Joking.

    One tutor, one of my favourites, was great. He was always on time and made sure we learnt in exam conditions. His pass rate was something mad like 100%! He was constantly testing you, but we didn’t mind as he had a big personality.

    He was really engaging and spoke to every single one of us. He knew all our names and was always making jokes. He was pretty inspiring too, he’d go running on his lunch break! Not a long jog, but still. Pretty inspiring. Everyone in the room felt the same – you felt like it was OK to fail.

    I’m working as a commercial analyst now and I’m just waiting for my results, but it’s all finished.

    I had a great last lecture though, very entertaining – the tutor started by getting up pictures from famous movies and we had to decide which film it was from. And from there she went straight into advanced audit. Crazy transition, but I liked it.

    I’ve met some great people on the course. After one of the classes we all built a WhatsApp group and are still in touch. We use it to help each other sometimes. I don’t do that after every class, and we only met each other once, but the atmosphere was so positive in that class we wanted to keep it going.

    It’s worked, because we still go to lunch together and socialise. We’ll be telling each other our results that’s for sure.

    Choose your way to study

    We offer a range of ways to study. Each has its own unique quality, but they’re all a blend of face to face, support and online materials.

    We have classrooms available in 25 UK based locations.

  • Luke’s story: AAT to ACCA, a worthy commitment

    by User Not Found | Oct 01, 2019

    Meet Luke. He’s 23, from Hull, a former welder, and due to become fully chartered. A trainee accountant, his company are funding his education, which will propel him towards a more senior role.

    Here’s how he found moving from AAT Foundation to ACCA.

    Moving from one to the other was always the plan, and the AAT qualifications laid the foundations and prepared me for the next stage.

    Studying ACCA has already opened doors for me in my job, and will continue to when I‘m fully qualified. I found that it goes into a lot of detail. Module by module, you learn things you can apply to the workplace, daily.

    If you follow your tutor’s advice, you’ll be set

    At first the transition seemed really daunting. I was dreading it. I thought ‘I’m not going to have much of a life!’. But I quickly realised it wasn’t too scary, and that was partly down to Kaplan.

    By attending the tuition, revision, and QBD sessions I massively boosted my chance of success with the exams. I could see that straight away.

    And if you follow the tutor’s advice then you’ll be set. By completing the home study tasks, and putting enough revision time in, you’ll increase your chance of passing even more.

    Balancing work and life has been a challenge though. When studying for my ACCA exams it was hard finding the time to study, work and have a social life. I’ve gotten a lot of grief from my mates. They pressure me to go out a lot as I’m still young, but when I’ve got 6 weeks to go until an exam I know I need to knuckle down.

    Sometimes they’re not happy, but it’s necessary. You’ve got to take the hit if you want to pass.  Ultimately, having a really flexible revision schedule made things much more manageable though.

    You’re never feel left to fend for yourself

    Kaplan can be really flexible for your study path.

    Did you know?

    96% of employers think ACCA is a respected qualification.

    Source: ACCA’s 2019 employer survey

    You can pick and choose (to some extent) the order you’d like to sit the modules. You can also choose to sit one or two modules per sitting. This was really helpful, as you can tailor your studies around busy times at work, or in your social life. The module timetables are set up to suit various approaches.

    It was also the support that went above and beyond. The knowledge and support from the Kaplan tutors is great. Not only are they hands on, you feel like you’re being prepared to sit an exam, at the highest standard.

    When you ask them a question the answer doesn’t feel generic; it feels like the industry answer.

    The support is always available too, so you never feel left to fend for yourself if you need help.  The tutors genuinely want you to succeed.

    There are many routes into accountancy, with our various study methods and qualifications, we’re bound to have the right option for you.

  • Intelligence: You may be ‘cleverer’ than you think

    by User Not Found | Sep 24, 2019

    Intelligence is a concept we often use to define people.

    David is “clever” or “bright”, maybe even “smart” - and it can also be a way you define yourself. The problem is that accepting this “identity” can have an impact on motivation. For example, if someone thinks they aren’t very clever, how hard will they try? Effort would be pointless. And yet sometimes it’s the effort that makes the difference.

    This is where Howard Gardner comes into play. A Professor of Cognition and Education at Harvard, he’s an inspiration when it comes to intelligence theory.

    Multiple Intelligence Theory (MIT)

    It’s not really Howard Gardner who’s inspiring - it’s his ideas.

    He’s famous for his theory that ‘the traditional notion of intelligence, based on I.Q,. is far too limited’. Instead, he argues that there are 8 different intelligences. He first presented the theory in 1983, in the book Frames of Mind – The Theory of Multiple Intelligences.

    Here’s how Gardner defines intelligence:

    The capacity to solve problems, or to fashion products, that are valued in one or more cultural setting

    (Gardner & Hatch, 1989)

    Here are his theories on different types of intelligence:

    1. Spatial – The ability to conceptualise and manipulate large-scale spatial objects e.g. airplane pilot, sailor, driving.
    2. Bodily-kinesthetic – The ability to use your whole body, or parts of the body, to solve problems or create e.g. dancer.
    3. Musical – Sensitivity to rhythm, pitch, meter, tone, melody. May include the ability to sing, play musical instruments, and/or compose music e.g. conductor.
    4. Linguistic – Sensitive to: the meaning of words, the order among words, and the sound, rhythms, inflections, and meter of words e.g. poet, writer.
    5. Logical-mathematical – The ability to understand the logic between  actions or symbols e.g. mathematicians, scientists.
    6. Interpersonal – The ability to interact well with others. Sensitivity to others’ moods, feelings, temperaments and motivations e.g. negotiator, teacher.
    7. Intrapersonal – Sensitivity to one’s own feelings, goals, and anxieties, and the ability to do what is right for yourself.
    8. Naturalistic – The ability to make distinctions in the world of nature. For example, such as between one plant and another, or one cloud formation and another e.g. taxonomist.*

    Intellectual strengths

    Identifying which intelligences apply to you is an interesting exercise, but be careful, these are not learning styles. They are simply intellectual strengths.

    For example, if someone has higher levels of linguistic intelligence, it doesn’t necessarily mean they prefer to learn only through lectures.

    You might also want to take this a stage further by having a go at this simple test.**

    Building your self-esteem

    Gardner argues that schools largely focus their attention on linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence, and reward those who excel in these areas.

    However, if you were more physically intelligent the school wouldn’t consider you to be “clever” in the same way as an equally talented maths student.

    They might advise you to think about a more manual job. Yet someone with high levels of physical and spacial intelligence may well find themselves playing for Manchester United earning over £100,000 a week!

    Gardner’s intelligence theory offers a fresh perspective on intelligence. For students, it can  help build self-esteem and motivation when a subject is proving hard to grasp.

    No longer do you have to say “I don’t understand this. I’m just not clever enough”. Change the words to “I don’t understand this yet, I find some of these maths questions challenging as it’s not my strongest intelligence”.

    For me, this is what make Gardner’s MIT so powerful. It’s not a question of how intelligent you are, but which intelligence you work best in.

    Discover your difference, the asynchrony with which you have been blessed or cursed and make the most of it.

    Howard Gardner

    As mentioned, Howard Gardner is not the most inspirational figure, but it’s his theory which can help you better understand yourself and others. This could be a powerful way to change your perception of who you are and what you're capable of.

    Now that's inspiring!

    Stuart Pedley Smith is Kaplan Head of Learning, this piece is inspired by the theories of Howard Gardner.

    *This is an abridged version from Stuart Pedley Smith, Kaplan’s Head of Learning.
    **Please note, this is for your personal use. It’s main purpose is to increase your understanding of the intelligences.

  • Answering your AAT exam questions

    by User Not Found | Sep 20, 2019

    Got a question about your AAT exam?

    Here we’ve put together a list of the most common questions we get asked.

    Q: How long will it take to get results?

    A: For students, these are accessed within the Your Assessment Results service. Assessment Venues do not have access to student result data.

    Results for assessments that are computer-marked are available within 24 hours after it’s been submitted.

    Results for assessments that are at least partially human-marked by AAT are released six weeks from the date the assessment was submitted.

    Synoptic Exam Results will be released online six weeks from the Friday of each synoptic assessment window.

    Q: Can I re-sit straight away?

    A: You should only enter an assessment when you’re well prepared and  expected to pass it. If you’re unsuccessful you should discuss the results with a tutor and revise appropriately before retaking.

    There are resit restrictions in place for students who are aged 16-19, in a full-time study programme, and studying one of the qualifications listed on the AAT website.

    Q: I have specific requirements, when in the exam. What do I do?

    A: For students with particular assessment requirements, please speak to your AAT Approved Centre in advance of your exam date, to allow them to arrange additional support.

    Q: Where can I resit the exam?

    A: You can resit your exams at any AAT approved centre.

    Q: How much does it cost to re-sit the exam?

    A: At Kaplan, a resit exam costs the same as your initial exam; there are no additional charges.

    Q: How should I approach answering the questions in my exam?

    A: Follow Kaplan's 'two wave approach'. Work through all the questions initially, answering all the ‘easier’ questions first, then work through the remainder.

    If you get stuck with a question, don’t spend too much time on it. Leave it to the end but remember to go back to it. Make sure you answer all questions.

    Q: Will all areas of the syllabus be examined; are there any I can ignore?

    A: With computer based tests, questions are selected from a large database. It means you could be asked anything from any area of the syllabus, so be familiar with all topics.

    Q: Are the computer based test questions random?

    A: Yes, the questions are selected at random, although the structure of the exam remains the same. So the person you are sat next to in the exam is likely to have different questions from you.

    Q: Will the questions in the exam be like those I’ve seen in my text books and on the AAT website?

    A: The live exams are not seen by us and the style of question is always evolving. The question styles seen in the material are based on expert knowledge and information provided by the AAT practice assessments.

    You need to have a full understanding of the syllabus and be prepared for any style of question. The more practice, the better.

    Q: Do I need to do the subjects in a set order?

    A: For Foundation Certificate, we advise you complete the Bookkeeping Transactions (BTRN) unit before studying for Bookkeeping Controls (BKCL) or Using Accounting Software (UACS).

    You should complete your studies for all units (with the exception of Using Accounting Software) before you attempt the synoptic assessment.

    For Advanced Diploma, we advise that you complete the Advanced Bookkeeping (AVBK) subject before studying for Final Accounts Preparation (FAPR).

    Our Advanced Diploma Synoptic Assessment (AVSY) course covers the syllabus areas relating to the Ethics for Accountants (ETFA) and Spreadsheets for Accounting (SPSH) subjects, which are assessed only as part of the synoptic exam. They also allow you to recap on your learning from earlier subjects. This is so you’re well prepared ahead of the exam.

    For Professional Diploma, you should only start studying for the Professional Synoptic course (PDSY) once you've completed the other three mandatory units. They all form part of the Synoptic Assessment.

    In the Professional Synoptic course, we'll cover the Accounting Systems and Controls unit that will be assessed in the Synoptic Assessment. There are only six exam windows for this assessment in a year, so please bear this in mind when you start studying for the Professional Synoptic course.

    Q: Do I have to renew my student membership with AAT if I’m just waiting for my final exam result to come through?

    A: Yes. The AAT will not release exam results if your student membership is not up to date. However, the student membership renewal will last for 12 months which means you can apply to be a full member of the AAT (use the letters M.A.A.T) whilst still on the student rate.

    You will not need to pay full membership fees until your renewal comes around again.

    Q: Is there a time limit on qualifying?

    A: There isn’t a deadline for students to complete a level once they are registered.

    Q: If I take a break from studying, do I still need to pay my membership fees?

    A: The AAT membership fee is for 12 months of membership, rather than for each level of the qualification, etc. So it’s dependent on the date of your initial registration and how long you intend to break for.

    Q: What can I take into the exam room?

    A: You may bring pens, pencils, erasers and calculators. No other equipment is allowed though. Within the assessment room, these must be placed on your exam desk or stored in a transparent case. All equipment, including the transparent case, will be checked and approved by the Assessment Centre prior to the start of the assessment.

    Students are permitted to use a scientific calculator but they cannot be used if they:

    • Emit audible tones
    • Can print
    • Allow text, dictionaries or mathematical formulas to be stored and retrieved
    • Can communicate with other devices or the internet
    • Are functions of a personal organiser or any digital device.

    The following items are not permitted:

    • Mobile phones
    • Dictionaries
    • Computers other than those being used for the assessment
    • Memory sticks
    • Study text, revision cards, course notes
    • Books and papers
    • Any other form of digital, electronic, recording or programmable equipment, including, but not limited to:
      • Tablets
      • Dictaphones
      • Smart watches
      • Cameras in any form, including wearable devices

    You must have official photo ID (Driver's License or passport) if the invigilators of the exam haven’t met you before.  However, we can admit students with no ID if they are known to two members of staff, and if a declaration is signed.

    Q: What should I do if I am struggling with a particular area of the syllabus?

    A: If there’s a particular topic you’re struggling with, review your course notes and text books before attempting more. Don’t waste time writing revision notes. The best revision is question practice. You can contact your Kaplan tutor for assistance too.

    Try and think of fun ways to practice – perhaps hold a quiz with colleagues who are also studying.

    Q: How long are the CBT exams?

    A: The duration of your exam will depend on the unit you’re sitting so refer back to your course notes and text books for this information. Arrive at the exam location 30 minutes before the exam start time, and allow 15 minutes after it before you leave.

    Q: What do I do at the start of the exam?

    A: You’ll need to follow the instructions on screen. This will include entering a keycode which will be given to you by your invigilator.

    Your name, AAT student number and name of the exam will appear on screen. Make sure this is the correct exam that you’re planning to sit. Inform the invigilator if any of the info isn’t correct.

    There is one page of formal instructions onscreen, informing you of specific information for your exam. Please read this and follow the instructions.

    Q: What do I do once I finish the exam?

    A: The CBE will automatically end once the time is up.

    You can finish early if you’re certain you’ve completed every question to the best of your ability, by clicking on the 'Exit' icon. Don’t feel pressured to finish early simply because other people may have.

  • Stuck on CIMA Management Accounting? You’re not alone

    by User Not Found | Aug 22, 2019

    We know that lots of people are struggling with Management Accounting (P1) and Advanced Management Accounting (P2), so here are some tips to help you in your exams, and you can sign up to our exam advice webinar.

    Read the question and answer the question - don’t leave anything blank

    Make sure you understand exactly what the question is asking, and answer just that. Don’t waffle or go off on a tangent. You’ll be marked for a correct answer - not the number of words you use. And never assume that the person marking your paper knows what you mean. Make sure you answer the question that was actually asked, not the one you would have liked it to be. If you’re not 100% sure, at least put something. One mark is better than no marks - that’s what a blank answer gets.

    Watch the time - practice your exams

    So many people get caught out as time definitely flies in exams. The more mock or practice exams you do, the more used to the time constraints you’ll be. Don’t let the time run out in a real exam.

    Build your confidence

    You have 90 minutes to answer 60 questions. Do the easy ones first. Read through the questions and jump on the ones you understand quickly and can answer. Then you will feel more confident coming back to the trickier ones. 

    Brush up on your maths and make sure you can use your calculator

    You can’t pass an accounting exam without encountering numbers - and numbers mean maths. You need to be able to rearrange equations, understand double negatives and simple algebra. Don’t think you can get by without properly preparing.

    You will also need to use a scientific calculator for basic discounting and compounding - this is tricky without a calculator. Make sure you know how to use yours - there are plenty of useful guides online to help you.

    Watch our CIMA Management Accounting webinar

    For more hints and tips, a walk through of some exam questions on key topics, and answers to common questions, watch our webinar.

    Syllabus change

    Remember the 2019 syllabus is examinable from 4th November, with the final 2015 syllabus exams on the 3rd Nov. Although the syllabus changes for P1 and P2 are fairly minor, you will still have some additional study to complete if you have studied under the 2015 syllabus and plan (or have to) sit the exam under the 2019 syllabus. Save yourself some extra work and get your exam booked and ideally passed before the end of October.

  • AAT qualified jobs and salaries by level

    by User Not Found | Aug 19, 2019

    There are just so many jobs to choose from when you’re AAT qualified - you can really pick what you feel suits you best.

    AAT is an accountancy qualification that makes you instantly more employable, leading to a great career.

    Did you know?

    85% of AAT members working with UK companies say they feel very or quite secure in
    their job.

    AAT salary survey 2021

    What qualifications or experience do I need to study AAT?

    None. You don’t need any prior qualifications or accountancy experience to begin studying AAT. Anyone, from school leavers to career changers, can start the qualification.

    Great careers, in-demand skills

    With an AAT qualification there are plenty of careers to choose from. Here are just a few to consider:


    Bookkeepers allow businesses to have a full view of their finances at any time. They keep financial records up to date and accurate. They also deal with other tasks such as:

    • Purchase orders / invoicing
    • Sales accounting and credit control
    • Financial admin
    • Data processing
    • Payroll accounting
    • Preparing financial statements.

    Average salary: £24,000 (
    AAT course: Bookkeeping / Advanced Bookkeeping

    Accounts assistant

    Accounting Assistants support the Accounting department. They perform tasks such as:

    • Processing and recording transactions
    • Preparing reports and budgets
    • Act as a go between for clients and suppliers
    • Fact checking
    • Filing
    • Admin

    Average salary: £21, 000 (2021 AAT salary survey)
    AAT course: Foundation Certificate or Advanced Diploma

    Payroll Manager

    Payroll Managers are required to be responsible for the payroll team.

    They deliver training and supervision to ensure legislative compliance.

    Essentially they have a relationship with HR, and address any issues with payroll that employees may experience.

    Average salary: £37,000 (
    AAT course: Professional Diploma

    Did you know?

    80% of those who have completed an AAT qualification agree that it has increased their earning potential

    AAT salary survey 2021

    Finance Analyst

    Financial analysts typically work in: banks, pension funds, insurance companies, and other businesses. They advise businesses and individuals on investment decisions.

    The work involves: the assessment of stocks, bonds, and investment performances.

    Average salary: £39,000 (Glassdoor)
    AAT course: Professional Diploma

    Tax Manager

    They create, implement and oversee tax plans for their clients (businesses or individuals).

    Their primary goal is to accurately manage clients' tax reporting for compliance.

    Average salary: £57,000 (totaljobs)
    AAT course: Professional Diploma

    Chartered accountant

    Completing the Professional level gives you exemptions if you decide to progress to fully Chartered Accountant status. This applies to: CIMA, ACCA or ACA (ICAEW). So you’d be exempt for up to six papers for these qualifications.

    Essentially, you’d fasttrack through your studies.

    These are world renowned qualifications, which can bring huge benefits for your status and career.

    Average salary: £38,000-£41,000 (
    AAT course: Professional Diploma and beyond

    Interesting fact

    76% of members say they are very or quite satisfied with their
    current job

    AAT salary survey 2021


    The AAT Professional Diploma lets you choose from five options. This gives you the chance to become an expert in a chosen field such as: Tax, Audit or Credit Management.

    Combined with the knowledge you’ve already developed, these specialisms will vastly enhance your career prospects.

    Learn from the best, be the best

    Whether you’re a learner or employer, we offer the full range of AAT options, driving you to succeed. We have:

    • 70+ years training accountancy
    • 75 FTSE 100 firms using our services
    • 45,000 students per year
    • 8 out 10 top accountancy firms using our services

    So what are you waiting for? Begin your AAT career with us now.

  • You voted for us as a Top Apprentice Trainer - thank you!

    by User Not Found | Aug 06, 2019

    Thanks to our current apprentices, we are now one of RateMyApprenticeship's Top 50 UK Training Providers for 2019-2020. We came in 4th place and we’re so grateful to everyone who voted for us.

    Votes came from current apprentices who reviewed over 300 training providers. We were the highest rated accountancy firm on the list, and placed higher than big brands and educational companies, including Siemens, Manchester Metropolitan University, and the Open University.

    Did you know?

    We train over 5,000 apprentices every year, and 75 of the FTSE 100 companies use us for training. We have a team of over 200 qualified and expert tutors to deliver top rated courses around the country.

    The award ceremony was held in July and celebrated the achievements of apprentices, employers, schools, colleges, and apprentice training providers. There were over 350 guests on the night and it was a dynamic and fun event.

    The audience was treated to an afternoon of inspiring speakers including: Tim Campbell (MBE and winner of the BBC’s The Apprentice), and Jamala Osman (winner of Britain and Ireland’s 2018 Young Citizen Award and TEDx Speaker). There was also a panel discussion with business leaders from across the industry.

    The Top 50 table is now live on the RateMyApprenticeship Awards site.

    Thank you once again to everyone who voted for us - it’s fantastic to know that we’re providing the training you need.

  • Exam resits - get back on that horse

    by User Not Found | Aug 06, 2019

    Failing exams is a fact of life.

    I’ve blogged about it many times because we all deal with it at some point.

    In the exam world, we follow failure with a resit. But what should happen between failure and sitting the new exam? How can we best study for an exam we’ve already sat?

    Repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.

    C. S. Lewis

    Change your mindset

    Your mindset is made up of assumptions and beliefs that lead to an opinion. What’s important is recognising they are assumptions. Carol Dwecks* work around Fixed and Growth mindsets states the importance of having the right mindset and how to think about it.

    She argues that students who believe that intelligence is fixed, find it difficult to move forward. But those with a growth mindset think the opposite. They believe in improvement, that intelligence is not fixed, and that failure is something to learn from. This puts them in a better position to learn from their mistakes and try again.

    The difference between ‘average people’ and ‘achieving people’ is their perception of and response to failure.

    John C. Maxwell

    Failing an exam is a fact. Why you failed, and what caused it, are often assumptions. The secret here is to revisit your assumptions. Find out what you think they mean, and change the negative mindset to a positive one.

    It’s easy to think you’re fooling yourself. But this is not about putting a positive spin on a set of poor results. If you didn’t do enough work, telling yourself it will be better next time will achieve little. The positive mindset here is recognising that working harder will give you a better chance of passing, which of course it will.

    Here’s another great way to think of it:

    A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances.

    B.F Skinner (famous behaviourist)

    Learn from your mistakes

    Spend time finding out what may have caused the failure. Was it a lack of work or effort? Be honest with yourself. Was there one area, or topic, where you had no idea what to do? Did you run out of time?

    Examiners’ reports and script reviews can be very helpful. They provide personal feedback on your exam performance. However they are an additional cost and if you're on a budget you may find what you want from the published resources.

    If a script review isn’t available you could sit the exam again, but this time in the comfort of your own home (as opposed to the CBE suite). This can offer insight into what went wrong. It’s better if you can get your answer marked by a third party though. This doesn’t have to be an expert (e.g. a Kaplan Tutor) but it will help.

    Don’t worry about already knowing the answers. Think about this in the same way that the police reconstruct a crime - it’s to give you insight. Not knowing what you did wrong makes it  difficult to correct next time.

    Refine your study

    Firstly, remember you’ve done this all before. You’ve a base knowledge of the subject, and you’re not starting from scratch. So you’ll already have materials, revision notes and a bank of past questions. If you don’t - then the good news is you now know exactly what you need!

    Past papers – Analyse what came up in your exam and add the findings to your existing analysis of past papers. With objective tests, or where getting past papers is not possible, think about differences in terms of style, complexity etc.

    Revision notes – Although you’ll have existing notes, start with a clean sheet of paper and rewrite them. By all means, use your existing notes as a guide, but re-reading your old revision notes is not particularly effective. You might also want to consider an alternative note taking style, for example mind maps.

    New question bank – As with revision notes you’ll also have a book of past questions. Get a clean copy e.g. one with no workings or writing in the margin. This is a mindset trick. A clean copy will make each question feel new. Also consider buying or borrowing a different set of questions.

    Timetable – Having a timetable was important last time but it’s essential for a resit. You’re more likely to have limited time so need to maximise what you have.

    Get back on that horse

    I hope some of the above helps your quest for better results next time round.

    All that remains is for me to wish you the best of luck with the resit and take note of what Zig Ziglar** said – failure is an event, not a person.

    Stuart Pedley Smith is Kaplan Financial’s Head of Learning. For any learning subjects you may wish to read content about, email us on

    *Professor of psychology at Stanford University
    **Motivational speaker

  • End Point Assessments - the new way to quality assure Apprenticeships

    by User Not Found | Jul 12, 2019

    Meet Emily and Billie, two successful apprentices at York based Accountants - Garbutt and Elliott.

    With the help of the new End Point Assessments, we see how their AAT level Apprenticeships are driving them to career success.

    The EPAs are a new addition to Finance Apprenticeships. They encourage the apprentice to reflect on their learnings and identify the new skills they've acquired, since starting their course.

    It's been really great for me because it gives a structure to my work

    - Billie Godley

    As the new Accountancy Apprenticeship standards enter their third year of operation, more students and employers are preparing to take, or have taken, an End Point Assessment.

  • What can you earn with CIMA?

    by Sharon Cooper | Jul 03, 2019

    CIMA is a qualification that can open doors for you in any industry across the world.

    There are many benefits to studying for a CIMA qualification. 

    From learning real-life skills and competencies, to becoming more attractive to employers, it will also boost your earning potential.

    Even while you're still studying, you could see your salary increase as you move through the qualification.

    CIMA salaries

    According to research carried out by CIMA, qualified CIMA members in the UK are earning more than twice the UK national average at £63,000 in basic salary plus £7,200. That’s a total salary of £70,200 per year.

    With CIMA you’ll also earn whilst you learn, and students earned an average £32,000 in basic salary plus £2,790 in bonuses. Here is what you could expect to earn as you move through the qualification.

    • Operational - £30,000
    • Management - £32,000
    • Strategic - £39,000

    Source: 2019 Association of International Certified Professional Accountants Salary Survey

    And after qualification, the world’s your oyster!

    As a CGMA designation holder, you can earn more and go further. Even while you’re still studying, you can step ahead in the job market.

    CIMA Global*

    Potential roles and salaries

    Operational roles

    Junior Financial Analyst - responsible for assisting senior analysts in various accounting and financial management duties. Depending on the structure of the organisation, a junior financial analyst may be part of the accounting or finance department.

    Average annual salary: £25,699**

    Financial analyst - provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. You would have to be able to assess the performance of stocks, bonds, and other types of investments.

    Average annual salary: £37,363**

    Management roles

    Financial Accountant - duties include analysing general ledger transactions, posting journals, balance sheet reconciliations and variance analysis. Financial accountant make sure that budget holders and financial planners have the most accurate information.

    Average annual salary: £42,643**

    Business Analyst - providing support to senior management so they can make commercial decisions. Skills needed include: risk management, business partnering and financial modelling.

    Average annual salary: £42,542**

    Strategic professional roles

    Financial Controller - responsible for overseeing the preparation of financial statements and ensuring insightful data from the reports. Must also verify the authenticity of financial reports, regulatory compliance and analysis of financial data.

    Average annual salary: £61, 784***

    Financial Manager - a varied role, depending on the organisation you work for. If the business is larger, then the role could be more about strategic analysis, but in a smaller organisation a finance manager might be more involved in the collection and preparation of accounts.

    Average annual salary: £51,277***

    Start your CIMA journey now

    Kaplan has a comprehensive range of CIMA courses that we’re confident will guide you towards CIMA success and these higher salary figures. If you’re at the start of your CIMA journey, our flexible Certificate Level courses can be started at any time with Computer Based Assessments held throughout the year.

    Professional Level courses start every 3 months and give you the option to complete a level in 6, 9 or 12 months. This means you can fast track through if you want to complete a level sooner, so your earning potential could increase faster than you think.

    ** average salary checker Jan 2022
    *** average salary checker Jan 2022

  • ACCA Strategic Professional - your questions, answered

    by Rebecca Evans - Head of Product Management | Jun 27, 2019

    Just finished Applied Skills level, and now moving onto Strategic Professional?

    Many struggle to know what to do next. Read on for answers to the most common questions.

    When should I sit the Ethics and Professional Skills Module (EPSM)?

    Ideally you should complete your Ethics and Professional Skills module before, or alongside, your first Strategic Professional subject. The module will increase your chances of passing at this level, as it will supplement your technical knowledge - with the ethics and higher level professional skills you’ll need.

    It’s essential that the module is completed ahead of Strategic Business Leader (SBL), as the skills covered are explicitly examined in this subject. If you leave the EPSM until later on you’ll be at an unnecessary disadvantage.

    When should I attempt SBL?

    If you’re studying the ACCA qualification, under a Level 7 Apprenticeship, you must sit SBL as your final paper as it’s the formal end point assessment (EPA). For all other students, you can take it at any time (as long as you’ve completed, or are completing, the Applied Skills level).

    This is the longest exam, at 4 hours, and requires you to have professional skills such as: communication, analysis and scepticism. You may not have developed these in earlier subjects, or at this point in your career, so it’s advisable to get at least one or two Strategic Professional subjects under your belt first.

    Which options should I choose?

    At Strategic Professional there are two compulsory papers, SBL and SBR, and four optional papers, AFM, APM, ATX and AAA. There’s no set combination, although students often select ATX with AAA and  AFM with APM. When making your selection there are a few things to consider:

    • How much did you enjoy the underpinning subject? If you disliked FM you might find it hard to motivate yourself to study AFM, as we tend to spend more time doing the things we enjoy.
    • How well did you do in the underpinning subject? If you didn’t perform well, either scoring a low mark or failing a time or two, at the lower level subject it’s likely you’ll find the higher level subject difficult to pass. If you had three attempts at TX don’t opt for ATX!
    • What field are you working in currently / do you want to work in? If working in practice you should do AAA as it’s essential if you want to obtain a practice certificate. One of the AAA examiners has previously stated that those students not working in an audit environment may find the exam difficult. If working in industry you may find AFM and or APM more useful.
    • Employer preferences. If your employer is paying for your studies they may have a preference over which subjects you take. Even if they don’t, it may be courteous to check!

    Should I attempt AAA before SBR?

    Absolutely not! You should always complete Strategic Business Reporting (SBR) before, or alongside, Advanced Audit and Assurance (AAA). Sitting them the other way round is like running before you can walk.

    In SBR you learn about the accounting standards. In AAA you learn about auditing them. If you sit AAA before SBR you’re trying to learn how to audit standards you haven’t yet learned. Don’t put yourself at an unnecessary disadvantage. AAA is a tough paper with a pass rate usually hovering around 30%, so don’t make your job any harder!

    Should I take a different approach to my studies?

    If you’ve been studying diligently and scoring high marks at the lower levels then probably not. Keep doing what you are doing. However, if you’ve scraped by doing the bare minimum then now is perhaps time for a change.

    Research completed by Kaplan shows a strong correlation between students that complete their practice tests and assessments/pass rates, particularly at the Strategic Professional level.

    Getting them marked is even more important than at the Applied Skills level as all answers are long form (there’s no objective test questions), so good exam technique is essential. If your tuition provider offers to mark your answers, submit them on time to get the feedback you need. This will drive improvements and increase your chance of exam success.

    Whatever you choose to do at the next sitting - good luck!

  • How to make boring subjects, interesting

    by User Not Found | Jun 25, 2019

    When we think something’s ‘boring’ we struggle to engage with it.

    With accountancy, as with any study subject, some areas are perceived as more ‘interesting’ than others.

    But what if we could blur the lines between boring and interesting? Surely that would lead to improved learning & exam performance.

    Why do we get bored?

    Firstly, let’s define what boredom is.

    For many of us who are familiar with the feeling - a definition may feel vague. Here’s the dictionary description:

    “The feeling of being bored by something tedious”

    Not helpful. If we dig deeper we find:

    “The aversive experience of wanting, but being unable to engage in satisfying activity”

    Or put another way, what you’re doing isn’t interesting enough to prevent your mind from wandering.

    The brain is always searching for dopamine, which is the neurotransmitter that helps control your reward and pleasure centres. This suggests the ‘boring’ task is not delivering enough dopamine for you to continue.

    Evidence shows that people with low levels of dopamine production get bored easily, and they continually look for new and more stimulating activities. This so called “trait boredom” has been linked to dropping out of school, higher levels of anxiety, gambling and alcohol/drug abuse.

    The opposite of boredom is engagement

    When it comes to learning, we should look to change ‘boredom’ by becoming more engaged.

    One way of thinking about engagement is that it’s what you see when someone is motivated. There is evidence* to show that engaged students are more likely to do well in exams and aspire to higher education.

    So, what can I do?

    • Recognise when you’re feeling bored. This is the first step, because if you don’t know you’re bored it’s easy to conclude that you dislike the subject: ‘It’s not my fault, the subject’s boring’.
    • Your subject needs to be meaningful. Students often say, “I will never use what I have to learn”. The truth is you simply don’t know. I thought I’d never need to understand the Capital Asset Pricing Model** - little did I know, I’d actually teach it.
    • Be curious. Keep thinking, “that’s interesting”. Nothing is inherently boring, it’s only the way you’re looking at it. Curiosity is a state of mind.
      The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.

      Ellen Parr
    • Make it fun or turn it into a game. There’s no doubt that during your studies there’ll be a need for repetitive learning tasks  - which will be boring. But if you break it up into bite-size chunks and turn it into a rewarding game - e.g. ‘If I learn 4 definitions by 6pm I can finish for the day’ - you’ll be amazed how much easier it can be.
    • Find people who’re engaged with something and ask what they see. Why do they find it interesting? This might be necessary if your teacher fails to bring the subject to life. Interest and engagement are contagious.
    • ‘It’s too easy / it’s too hard’. Your boredom might come about because what you’re learning is basic. If that’s the case, ask for more advanced work.  And if it’s too hard, speak to your teacher, they will be able to help. This is an example of taking control.

    Often boredom strikes when you feel there’s nothing you can do, sitting waiting for a train that has been delayed. By taking some form of control e.g. checking alternative routes home, the boredom will pass.

    Don’t entirely write off boredom!

    There’s one small but important point on boredom. The feeling isn’t completely without it’s uses, and this TED talk illustrates that perfectly.

    It shows how boredom can lead to your most brilliant ideas. The talk argues that because the brain is searching for stimulation when bored, it can lead to increased creativity and great ideas.

    So yes, reframing boring as interesting is a good method to increase engagement, but it is not without it’s benefits.

    Stuart Pedley Smith is Kaplan Financial’s Head of Learning. For any learning subjects you may wish to read content about, email us on

    *Wang & Eccles, 2012a
    **A formula used in Financial Management to calculate shareholder returns

  • CIMA Strategic Case Study - Exam Tips

    by User Not Found | Jun 11, 2019

    Bronwyn Clarke came 1st in the world for the CIMA Strategic case study. Following this fantastic result, we seized the opportunity to ask her one simple question ‘How?’.

    Working for Network Rail, she’s currently a Management Accountant on their finance graduate scheme. She’s completed the full CIMA from foundation level, in little over two years, and has big plans for her career.

    I’d like to be a Finance Director one day and this will stand me in good stead

    So before the CIMA syllabus changes come into play this year, read her first hand insights for the case study exam.

    Start revising the technical parts of F3/P3/E3 early

    Failing, and therefore having to re-sit my MCS, was a blessing in disguise. I don’t think I’d have done so well in SCS otherwise. I had to cram my 3 strategic OTs into about 2 months but that meant it was still fresh in my mind coming into SCS.

    I don’t think you need to be obsessive with detail, and some topics will be more applicable to certain industries. However, true understanding rather regurgitation is key here. After this, spend time closer to the exam doing practice and pre-seen related revision.

    Know the pre-seen

    This is key. Going into the exam I knew the company from the pre-seen as well as my own and knew the key facts and figures like the back of my hand. This really helps to apply your knowledge to the company and get the integration marks. Plus, it saves you time in the exam!

    Industry analysis is important

    This is essential at this level, because you’re thinking strategically so your competitors and industry are far more important. CIMA are bound to pick a well-known industry, so do your research and you’ll find loads of material out there to extend your knowledge.

    Don’t just blurt everything out

    Don’t jott down everything you know about a particular topic - with no regard for how it reads. If you emailed something like that to a real board of directors they’d think you were mad. Use your CIMA knowledge to explain the implications of certain things for the business.

    If they ask you for advice give them an answer with clear pros/cons for each option. If applicable, explain what other people in the industry are doing and how that’s impacted their business. This isn’t operational; only 25% of the marks are awarded for the technical knowledge from previous papers.

    Plan your answer

    Plan your answer before writing anything. It’ll make sure you’re being coherent and will make you feel relaxed when writing (if you’ve basically completed it in note form).

    Submit all of your mocks

    Do them beforehand and in the most exam-like conditions you can. After it, read the feedback or the whole exercise will be pointless.

    Another thing I found useful for revision was looking back over past exam questions and bullet pointing how I would answer them. It doesn’t take as much time as a mock but tests your knowledge and indicates which areas to improve upon.


    Bronwyn believes that much of the key to her success was based on revising the technical aspects early on, then moving onto the industry and practice questions closer to the exam. Also, with a keen eye on the style and approach to writing the case study - and as much practise as possible.

    In-depth knowledge of the pre-seen and industry are key to doing well. Also, remember in the exam that you’re writing from the perspective of a Finance Manager – it’s not a ‘cram it into an hour’ essay!

    We hope you implement this advice and use it to boost your studies - leading to your own exam success!

  • AAT Apprentice - combining work and study

    by User Not Found | Jun 06, 2019

    Meet Abby Lacey. She’s 42, and an Office Manager for Thames Valley Berkshire LEP Ltd.  A recent AAT Apprentice with Kaplan, she’s now looking to progress to Level 7.

    In a previous life, she was a self-employed virtual PA who did some bookkeeping. She had ambitions to qualify, but time and finances wouldn’t allow it.

    Here is her story...


    How did you get onto the Apprenticeship?

    My CEO suggested I look into different qualifications. I thought an Apprenticeship would be great not only for me, but for our company. We are a small operation, with only ten staff, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have an apprentice!

    Will you continue to progress through other levels?

    I’d like to progress to Level 7 in the long term, but time and finances are always an issue!

    What is your long term goal?

    I’m happy in my current role but hope, in the medium term, to expand my financial responsibilities. In the long term I’d like to work for myself, and this qualification will really help.

    What support did you receive from Kaplan? Can you see the benefit of training with a provider vs doing it on your own?

    I have an excellent Talent Coach and am studying in the classroom. Kaplan has been brilliant for me and I wouldn’t change it! From the student services department, to my tutor and the admin staff at Reading, everyone has been really helpful.

    What’s been the hardest part about your AAT and how did you deal with that?

    Not passing AVBK the first time round.

    Having been out of study for many years, and being a perfectionist, it was difficult to admit  defeat, but thankfully I have a great boss and a supportive network of colleagues, friends and family. They boosted me, and luckily I passed the next time round.

    Have you managed a good work-life balance throughout your studies?

    It’s fairly tricky, but I’m able to have one day a week away from work. I also have a very understanding husband and son who leave me to it.

    You do have to be disciplined and stick to your plan.

    Do you have any advice for people looking to work in the accountancy industry?

    An Apprenticeship is a really good way of combining work and study, if it’s available to you.

    Accountancy is a great industry as it’s so varied. You can be working as a sole trading bookkeeper or working in large corporate departments – there’s something for everyone.
  • 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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