At this year’s online AATitude Festival, we welcomed over 1,500 delegates from across the UK. The festival offered a unique space to draw together a multitude of perspectives, experience and expertise.
Our ambition was to inspire accountancy students but also give some much-needed motivation, structure and technical help to students who needed it.
The conference was opened by Gareth John (Chief Executive), Nick Craggs (AAT Distance Learning Director) and Ben Bullman (Managing Director and Tutor for Cambridge).
Throughout the week we had career sessions with industry experts, and got stuck into the detail with skills and technical sessions. Here’s a snapshot of what went on.
How to achieve a distinction panel discussion
Nick Craggs our AAT Distance Learning Director thought the ‘how to achieve a distinction’ panel was one the best sessions. We had three students: Nick Wiggs, Phoebe Warner and Denitsa Gavrilova, who came to share their tips as to how to not just pass the exams, but get a distinction. Only 1% of students achieve a distinction at level 4, both of which Nick and Phoebe did! It was really interesting to hear what they did in the run up to their exam, and on exam day. The advanced synoptic exam is a very hard exam, and the lowest pass rate of all level 3 exams, yet Denitsa got a perfect 100%, and she shared her tips as to how to attempt this exam.
How the AAT supports you and your studies & Training on communication skills for accountants
To begin with our Director of AAT studies Crystal Haygreen was joined by Ross Grange and Neil Maguire from the AAT. They took us through the support and resources AAT provide to help student members with their studies. Their new learning portal has all the resources from the old study support area but also has some great new resources. A key note from this session is the value of AAT Comment. Crystal discovered this about a year ago and has since spent hours viewing the articles and resources! Therefore we can’t stress enough how valuable this is to student members.
Alexandra Bond Burnett then presented to us a high energy, engaging session on communication skills for accountants. Alexandra is a coach, trainer and accounting professional, she is on a mission to help finance professionals become impactful communicators. She shared with us some great tips and thoughts to help our aspiring accountants enhance their careers with effective communication. With the increasing automation in the industry the accountant now has more time to spend on business advisory, effectively building relationships within the organisation or with clients has never been more important.
Stories from AAT students who are changing their lives with the qualification…
We had a brilliant final headline act hearing the study and career journeys of Rebecca Fay (former AAT Apprentice of the Year), James Duggan former (Royal Family chef turned accountant) and Arsenal and England player Leah Williamson. Such inspiring stories for aspiring accountants. And a surprise cameo from another AAT student Stephanie Millward MBE and her Paralympic Gold!
Skills Session – Improve your time management
In one of our early morning skills sessions we focused on time management. This session covered the essential skills to help you think in a more focused and effective way and to ensure that personal productivity and satisfaction are enhanced. This was a short interactive and information-packed session which you can watch below.
Due to success of our mini skills sessions we will be running more Free Virtual Mini Skill Sessions starting on 23 September – you can find out more and book your place here!
Skills to succeed in synoptic assessments
Nervous about sitting your Synoptic? Want to know how to pass your Synoptic Assessment first time? Crystal Haygreen and other colleagues share their top tips on how to pass these tricky papers!
Accounting qualifications to consider after completing AAT
It was an early on the final day of festival for Ben and Gareth, but worth it for a great chat about study options after finishing AAT. We regularly see how the AAT helps students enter and successfully progress with ICAEW, CIMA and ACCA. Ben and Gareth talked through exemptions, timescales, top tips and Ben’s personal experiences of succeeding with study beyond AAT.
The changing role of the accountant and the future of accountancy
Gareth John is personally fascinated by the way that technology, automation and AI is affecting the world of finance. Therefore Gareth was delighted to host a panel discussion on this topic with leading industry observers. He was joined by Graham Hambly, editor of PQ Magazine, Steven Drew, Head of Markets and Products at AAT, and Andy Turpin, Director of the Virtual Finance Office at PEM Chartered Accountants. The session covered a broad mix of the practical and human changes that we are already seeing affecting the way that accountants work which you can watch below:
Inspirational career stories from successful MAAT’s
Gareth always loves hearing how ambitious individuals have used AAT as a spring-board to incredible career success. So it was a real treat for him to be joined by Warren Tilbury, Managing Partner of PEM Chartered Accountants, and Jo Nockels, Financial Controller at TaxAssist Head Office. Both of them give really engaging and relatable insight (including why failing exams shouldn’t hold you back!) into what has led them to such career heights.
Keeping motivated and successfully studying at home
We opened this session with some motivation from our very own Gareth John. Gareth discussed how he motivates himself to achieve his goals and how accountability from others can push him further. When it comes to creating success in your life, being accountable to someone other than yourself is a real motivator!
AATitude Accountancy Festival Playlist
These are just a few of our highlights from the AATitude Festival. However you can see all our recordings on our YouTube Channel here.
Free AAT online revision sessions open to all!
If our AATitude student festival has rekindled your study spirit then our free AAT revision sessions will be perfect for taking you to the next stage of your qualification progression. Since the start of lockdown we have been running free weekly online revision sessions for each paper at each level. Furthermore these are free of charge and open to any student. So far over 4,000 students have used them to help get back on track with their studies. You can find recordings of past revision sessions here.
Our free AAT Revision sessions will be running until the end of the year and so we would be delighted if you would like to stay part of our student community. To find out more or to book your place please click the button below.