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Preparation for practice - should I take tax exams?

Preparation for practice - should I take tax...

I qualified about 25 years ago as an ACA.  I have spent much of my career working in large companies with some exposure to tax issues but this has been a minor part of my job.

As the big half century comes closer I have decided to prepare for my second career as a sole practitioner.  I have plenty of time to get my ducks in a row...perhaps a couple of years.  What should my preparation entail?  In particular I am thinking of training for the Association of Taxation Technicians exams.  Is this worth doing?  Would it stand me in good stead or would it be a waste of time?  With my knowledge (even if it is a little out-of-date) and modern software packages will I have enough fire power to provide a good service to clients?

Thanks in advance for any constructive advice....



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By Glennzy
04th Feb 2013 10:54

I would do ATT

i had been working in Industry for over 12 years and was beccoming concerned that my knowledge was becoming too industry specific and my all round general knowledge was out of date. I therefore enlisted on an on line course to do ATT which was very useful as It brought my knowledge up to date better than any CPD courses could do in the same space of time.

The exams are not too bad and I got through them by doing maybe 5/6 hours per week study on top of my day job.

I have now returned to practice and think I would have struggled unless I had done this "refresher course". I was planning on doing the CIOT exams straight after but have now had to put my efforts into setting up new business but hopefully will do it in a few years.

Thanks (1)
04th Feb 2013 10:44

would agree...ATT would be fine

covers the majority of what you need.

Thanks (0)
04th Feb 2013 10:56


I am all for accountants being as highly qualified as they can be, but remember that most clients in SME sector neither know nor care about what exams you have passed. Sad but true.

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By blok
04th Feb 2013 11:34


I would suggest that ATT would be worthwhile and would fill in some gaps.

Thanks (0)
04th Feb 2013 11:35


I too qualified ACA over 20 years ago and am now looking to start up in practice. I started ATT last year and just passed my first exam (doing 2 more as we speak). I'm sure I have done most of it before but I was shocked at how rusty my tax knowledge was. ATT is just right for me....really practical and 'hands on'. I didn't enrol on a course, just bought the book at £50 per exam and did it myself.

I have become an Accountingweb junkie and spend loads of my free time on here getting myself up to speed and preparing. I find that I can easily follow most of these threads now and if I can't, I go away and fill in the gaps in my knowledge. I am expecting the transition into practice to be the hardest thing I have ever done career-wise to date and am preparing accordingly. Once I get started I intend to take it slowly (with the help of my current part-time role).

Another thing you may need to consider is whether you will get an ACA practicing certificate with no practice experience. Probably not so you may need to consider resigning and going it alone (as many on here have sucessfully done).

I'm sure you will get lots of responses - don't write off the "beware - it's hard" responses. They are right and you will need to work really hard to get up to speed. If that doesn't daunt you (it doesn't daunt me) then good luck!




Thanks (1)
04th Feb 2013 21:30


Life is funny. Clients want an experience and preferably qualified accountant, but fail to appreciate the costs associated with qualifications, annual fees, CPD points and other expenses.

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