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Which route should I take after ACCA

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Hi Everyone,

I am currently an ACCA affilate (after 8 years of studying) and will be applying for full membership shortly.  I am now looking towards expanding my tax knowledge/qualifications and would really like some advice from people who have studied ATT and CTA. 

My inital thought was to do CTA, however I am also a full time working mum of 3 children under 10, so on reflection I might not have the time at this point in my life to dedicate to studying CTA? But then I am worried that with ATT being a technical qualification, that I would be repeating quite a lot of the knowledge I already gained by passing ACCA P6 in March 2018?  Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated

Also, I have to distance learn due to the children, thougths on the best study provider would be helpful too (I used BPP for the majority of my ACCA studies) 

Many thanks


Replies (7)

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Lone Wolf
By Lone_Wolf
15th Aug 2018 09:22

My advice, as a father of 3 kids under 10...sell the kids.

More seriously, I've never done any accounting qualifications (after university that is), so can't really comment o the breadth covered in the tax exams. However, I found ATT did cover a broad area, and was really good from a practical sense. Chances are, if you're not dealing with more complicated corporates, or tax advisory work, then ATT would give you enough to tackle most of the compliance work you will face.

There's a lot of talk about the jump from ATT to CTA, but I never found it too daunting. For me, the knowledge base was largely the same, you're being tested more on how you respond to the question. So, an ATT question may ask you to calculate the tax on an incorporation of a sole trade, and it is pretty clear what you have to do.

For CTA however, the question isn't as clear what you have to do, and you have to take the scenario and offer potential solutions, and know that incorporation is one.

So for me, what you need to know isn't that much different, but more how you apply what you know to the scenarios presented. I'd say the main difference in knowledge was anti-avoidance rules. Can't remember covering them too much at ATT, but there was a fair bit in CTA.

I sat CTA with 2 kids (5 and 2 when I sat my last exam), so it can be done. My wife only works at the weekends, which is the time I had to study (because my employer thought the best way to have someone pass CTA was to make sure they work late most nights through the week), so it is doable even with those responsibilities, but can be difficult at times.

So it'll ultimately come down to how much you think you'll use the knowledge once you're done. If it's just basic returns, might not be worth the bother of CTA, but if you want to try your hand at advisory then it would be beneficial. Also, think of how marketable CTA will make you to employers as well.

Thanks (2)
By Maslins
15th Aug 2018 09:34

Theoretically CTA is on a par, difficulty-wise, with ACCA. ATT is a level below. However of course as they both specialise in tax, they will go into more depth on tax than ACCA does...but in turn you're not having to learn about audit, business finance/management, all the other stuff that's part of accounting training.

If you went through ACCA fairly smoothly, you may find ATT a bit easy. However, if you feel like ACCA was a real hard slog, and perhaps your life outside study is harder now than it was, CTA might be a bit too much for you at the moment. Only you will know.

FWIW I did ACA (equivalent to ACCA), then CTA soon after. I didn't have kids. I passed all ACA exams first time, but did slip up on 1-2 CTA exams first time round, had to resit. They're not easy!

Thanks (2)
By Waves
15th Aug 2018 09:49

Hi Sara,

You appear to be practicing accountancy as a director/shareholder while an ACCA student.

That is in breach of their rules and they can ‘throw you out’.

Thanks (1)
By Constantly Confused
15th Aug 2018 10:29

It's been a while since I did the ACCA but I found the level of tax knowledge needed was comparable to the tax module of my degree, which was on par with the ATT (though the ATT has a lot more on each topic).

So the level of difficulty is comparable between ACCA and ATT in terms of tax papers, but of course you have 3(?) tax papers at ATT where at ACCA you had one.

I did the ACCA off my own back through home study and just buying the books then the ATT the same way, and didn't have trouble with either. The CTA I had actual tuition and still only just got through with a near miss on one paper (of the 4 one is the the ATT again, but whistlestop, 2 are ATT papers on steroids which, as Lone Wolf says, are more how you approach the question. I describe it to the Juniors as the ATT being 50 marks for obvious things, 30 for demonstrating knowledge and 20 for being a clever [***]; the CTA is more 20/40/40 IMO. The fourth paper is hell on earth and the place a lot of people fail, though if you have just done the ACCA you might be able to dodge it).

I'd do the ACCA or ATT again for giggles if someone paid me and be confident I'd pass, I wouldn't risk my pride and 100% success record by doing the CTA again...

SO! I would suggest at least getting the ATT books and working through them. You don't have to sit the papers, but it will give you a very solid foundation to move to CTA from either way.

Thanks (0)
By cbp99
15th Aug 2018 11:27

Having done ACCA and ATT, I would say that ATT covers much more than the ACCA tax papers.
If you were comfortable with BPP, carry on with that, although. Kaplan, which uses Tolley study material, is perhaps the most economical for distance learning.

Thanks (0)
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
15th Aug 2018 17:20

I don't have either (I am a FCA) and my tax work suffers for it.

That said there is no way I would study for it now. I have these things called evenings and weekends!

Id say it depends how much you like studying, its certainly not going to harm your career, but is it going to enhance or degrade the rest of your life?

Thanks (0)
By SaraP1502
16th Aug 2018 08:13

Thank you all for taking the time to respond to my question. I think I may go down the ATT route at this time in my life, with the possibility of doing CTA once the children have grown up...unless I sell them first (only joking)

Thanks (1)
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