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 Ian Strawbridge, AAT Tutor. Ian kindly provided his expertise and perspective on the learning environment at Accountancy Learning.
For some background info on Ian, follow this link: Ian Strawbridge – Accountancy Learning
Can you tell me about your role at Accountancy Learning?
My role as AAT Tutor at Accountancy Learning is largely to help and support learners.
This manifests itself in many different ways and although I previously looked after apprentices and distance learners, my role now is largely supporting the apprentices.
As such, this means that not only do I support levels 2, 3 and 4 regarding their AAT studies, but also on updating their training logs and working on their work-based knowledge, skills, and behaviours over their programmes.
This also involves lots of employer engagement regarding progress updates and review meetings. This can be as part of our in-person college day sessions or supporting our online-only learners.
I’m also involved with Accountancy Learning’s Functional Skills provision and support students on their development of this and working towards exam requirements.
Why did you choose this industry?
To start with, I accidented upon a job in accountancy and my first job was as an accountant in practice.
I was sending CVs to various establishments, and an accountants replied. I fell into the trap of thinking I was good at Maths, so I’d be suitable (see below).
More recently I also taught English to primary school-age children overseas. So, teaching accountancy just seemed like a natural next step for me! I’ve been in the role three years now and haven’t regretted it once (well… maybe sometimes…), but it does end up taking over our life somewhat.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve caught myself thinking about how to help learners whilst out for walk or in the supermarket!
What do you most enjoy about your role?
I enjoy the satisfaction of helping learners on their journey.
Oddly enough, and contrary to what you might think, it’s actually the more challenging learners that can give the most satisfaction when they complete. For them, you know you’ve really made a difference.
I like seeing how different tutors approach things when issues arise. It’s so easy to learn a lot from the different personalities of colleagues and then apply that to my thinking for the future.
I also like the different challenges and issues that each day brings, ‘never a dull day’ certainly applies here!
What should learners expect when studying an AAT course with Accountancy Learning?
Some excellent tutoring!
There are many members of the team here that are simply brilliant at what they do. It’s not just about targets or achievements here, it’s about how we support learners, and our caring team do that very well.
We also have several options to cater for each type of learner we see. Apprenticeships aren’t for everyone, but we have alternatives that mean we can look after learners well regardless of whether they are an apprentice with us or not.
Student should be willing to dedicate the time to their studies, with plans in place to help them. Sometimes things can be tricky, especially early on, but often, there’s a ‘light-bulb moment’ and suddenly everything clicks into place. It’s nice to see that happen in real time.
How does the learning environment differ from other training providers?
I actually learned AAT from tutors that are still at Accountancy Learning!
I won’t say how long ago that was (too long), but back then, it was a classroom environment, with stand-up teaching. What we can offer on our self-study basis now is flexibility to fit studies around personal and work commitments.
Units can be sat in any order; study can be completed at any time. This is massively advantageous and those learners that want to succeed have every chance of doing so.
This also allows our tutors a more personal touch, we are able to really get to know our learners on a one-to-one basis.
What advice would you give to new learners that are thinking about venturing into the industry?
I think being good at Maths is a popular misconception among non-accountants.
It’s just numbers, if you can’t do algebra or trigonometry, don’t worry as that’s an infinitesimal part of accounting. Being comfortable working with numbers and more basic Maths like addition and percentages etc. would be useful, though.
Problem solving and puzzling skills would be a more useful barometer than Maths, I think. This sector opens a lot of doors, nearly every business you can imagine has a finance department.
I once worked in industry in a doctor’s surgery, the opportunities really are endless!
Are there any exciting industry trends or news stories that have caught your eye recently?
The nature of the role these days is very different to how we would have learned in the past.
Computers play such a massive part now in automating things, but it’s important to know what they’re doing. Otherwise, how do we know when the output in wrong?
At a certain level, everyone can do the accounts, and the role becomes about what you do with them, how you help clients, the questions you ask to move businesses forward. Accountancy doesn’t change, but the world around it does, and accountants have to keep up!
However, the main thing I think at this very moment, is around firms struggling to recruit good-quality candidates. There is much speculation as to why this is, but what this does go some way to say is that there are opportunities out there for those that want to grab them.
Enrol with us today
If we have managed to convince you that the learning environment at Accountancy Learning is the right one for you, we have a range of course packages to choose from. Head here to browse: Courses – Accountancy Learning
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For any other questions, please get in touch with us, we are always happy to help.
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