This is a blog series which aims to provide our AAT Tutor’s insights into various topics around their role at Accountancy Learning.
For this edition, I spoke with Ferhaan Mahmood, Senior AAT Tutor and QA Manager. Ferhaan kindly provided his expertise and perspective on the learning environment at Accountancy Learning.
For some background info on Ferhaan, follow this link: Ferhaan Mahmood – Accountancy Learning
Can you tell me about your role at Accountancy Learning?
I wear a few different hats at Accountancy Learning, one of which is being a tutor to apprentices working at Levels 2,3 and 4.
My role is using my technical knowledge and expertise to help, support and guide people (learners, their employers and other colleagues) in an understandable and relevant way.
Being a tutor at Accountancy learning, I have regular meetings with my learners, guide them through our extensive learning resources, teach them tricky accounting concepts (and what “tricky” is will be different for each person), help them to set targets against their goals, and make sure they’re meeting the requirements of their apprenticeship including helping learners to reflect on their work-based activities and how they meet the apprenticeship criteria.
As a tutor, I am also a contact point for employers, conducting regular progress review meetings, and help employers with any queries they may have about their employee’s apprenticeship and how they’re progressing.
Why did you choose this industry?
I studied accounting at college and university so a natural progression for me was to become an accountant.
I really enjoyed working with numbers and also writing, and accounting allows you to do both (more on this later). I worked in various roles in different organisations. I particularly enjoyed financial analysis and management accounting work.
Colleagues, friends, family used to say to me, “you’re pretty good at explaining stuff, you should teach this.” And one day, I finally thought I’ll give it a go, and do some part-time work. I caught the teaching bug, and now 15 years later I still love it!
What do you most enjoy about your role?
When I look at a financial report or a set of accounts, I don’t just see a set of numbers.
People might not think it, but those numbers are telling a story about that organisation, or that project, or that period in time. What story is being told, and how can we translate that story so people who don’t know the language of accounting can understand it?
To me that, in a nutshell, is what the role of the accountant is. As a tutor, I am looking to unlock that story telling potential in my students.
I love the concept of learning and how learning takes place for different people. Every learner is different, every organisation is different. People learn in so many different ways and what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for everyone.
The key is to find what works for each person. We can think of it, as someone trying to run a race, but they’ve got obstacles in their way. How can I, as a tutor, help them remove these obstacles so they can run their best race? I love working on the answer to this with my students.
What should learners expect when studying an AAT course with Accountancy Learning?
Accountancy Learning wants to make sure that each learner is on the right course for them.
That’s why we work closely with you from the moment you apply to make sure we understand your situation, your needs, and what your learning and career goals are.
Your tutor will be involved with you from your apprenticeship sign-up meeting. It means you and your tutor get a chance to meet and learn a bit about each other right at the start of your learning programme.
Accountancy Learning has a great online learning portal with extensive learning resources, which are added to, updated, and amended regularly.
There’s great technical expertise amongst our large team of over 20 accounting tutors.
Lots and lots of support from tutors who want you to do well. If you’re an apprentice learner or a distance learner with tutor support, you will have regular contact, support, and feedback.
How does the learning environment differ from other training providers?
Having worked with many training organisations over the years, I would say what Accountancy Learning does particularly well is providing a personalised learner-centred service.
The learning process at Accountancy Learning is a teamwork project. The best teamwork takes place when everyone plays their part. Accountancy Learning as a training provider provides learners with great tutors, extensive learning resources and lots and lots of support.
We work with our employers to build working relationships, so we better understand the particular environment our learners are working in.
As an Accountancy Learning learner when you communicate with us, engage with the learning resources, complete the targets agreed with your tutor, provide regular updates and let us know what’s going well for you and what you need more help with, we’re able to help you in removing any obstacles in your path, so you achieve your learning goals.
What advice would you give to new learners that are thinking about venturing into the industry?
I would advise learners who are thinking about accountancy as a career option to reflect on what they enjoy doing as well as what they are good at doing.
People often have this misconception that you need Einstein levels of mathematical genius to be an accountant. It’s not true. Can you add, subtract, divide and multiply comfortably? If the answer is yes, you have the ability for accounting.
Do you enjoy working with numbers? Do you enjoy interpreting and then translating those numbers so you can explain what these numbers mean? Do you like the idea of telling the story of what the numbers are telling you? If the answer is yes, you will enjoy accounting roles that require financial analysis and then reporting on that analysis.
Other qualities which can be helpful are being organised, methodical and having a keen attention to detail.
Are there any exciting industry trends or news stories that have caught your eye recently?
Many accounting processes can be performed by accounting software, and in the very near future many more will be also.
Artificial intelligence AI is something which seems to be the buzz words in technology at the moment, and its more than just using Chat GPT to write your English homework for you – there are huge implications for accounting.
The accountancy sector has seen one of highest AI adoption rates in the UK, as AI really helps with automating many accounting processes.
This is really useful and makes this an exciting time to join the accountancy sector because it means the accountant can then focus on the interpreting of that data and providing insights to clients which can help them to learn lessons about their previous years’ business activities and plan for the future.
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