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    I'm struggling as to what I should do. I'll give you a brief background of my situation, I'm 20 and have just left uni [I quit it]. I wasn't happy paying £3k on lecturers reading from a powerpoint. I was doing business studies and have always enjoyed the accountancy and finance side of it. Actually got 90% in my end of year exam, 20% more than what the next person got so I'm quite good at it.

    But the thing is, I want to either do CIMA or ACA but not sure which one. I don't think I can get in to either one of them straight away so I guess I have to do the AAT first? Also I've been looking at jobs and training schemes, I haven't got the best academic background and don't think I could on a training scheme like Baker tilly, I've scrapped through everything and done the very least to pass, I know that isn't the right attitude but I feel going down this route would be best as I like learning from a practical point of view. I just like to know what you guys think about it, maybe someone who has been in my position could help.

    I mean are there other ways to get up the accountancy ladder and also on job adverts, they ask for a strong academic background, will that back fire on me if i've just got an aca or cima?

    CIMA and ACA are quite different - I'm assuming you know the difference? First you need to pick which area of accountancy you want to work in - industry or practice - and then think of the qualification that's most relevant to that sector. A good compromise is ACCA as you'll see industry and practice vacancies specifying that as a required qualification.

    If you do AAT you should be able to start at intermediate level and you'll have done that and technician level within 2 years. You'll then get exemptions from your next qualification (for ACCA it's 3 out of 14). Probably looking at about 3 years to finish ACCA after exemptions ... not sure about the others.

    I don't know much about bigger firms but I started with a small firm after I quit uni. Get all your exams and study requirements paid for etc, on the job experience also helps a lot. If you can't get with a big firm then a smaller firm might be worth a shot, will be better than doing it on your own anyway. Will also count towards the work experience requirement that the qualification may have (3 years for ACCA).

    If you are qualified I think they'll probably forget about college performance since professional exams are somewhat more difficult. Especially if you put lots of effort in to get high passes.

    Any more questions then just ask.
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