Share this content
30

Which professional body is better AAT OR IFA

AAT OR IFA

Didn't find your answer?

I would like to ask for professional advice, I am an ACCA member with over 10 years senior level experience (financial Controller) in Industry and commerce, xero certified, have a small bookkeeping clients and I have also done sub-contract work with more than 3 practices. I recently applied for ACCA practising certificate, I am not 100% sure if I will get it so I want plan my future. I am thinking of either becoming an AAT member then gain their practising certificate and the other option is to become a IFA (institute of Financial Accountants) with practising certificate too. I am not sure which one is better as I am likely to resign from ACCA with a heavy heart if I do not get a practising certificate. I strongly believe the time is now for me to start my own practice. Thank you in advance for your asistance.

Replies (30)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

avatar
By Wanderer
16th Aug 2019 03:49

If you resign from ACCA you can practise without a PC from anyone.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By FRAS
16th Aug 2019 08:24

Thank you Wanderer, but I prefer having some form of professional body for MLR and other benefits like networking etc and I am not sure which one is better AAT or IFA?

Thanks (0)
By Moonbeam
16th Aug 2019 08:33

Lots of others with the same situation have gone for AAT. I would say it's a much better recognised organisation out of the two you mention.

Thanks (3)
avatar
By adam.arca
16th Aug 2019 09:09

It's a bit like asking what's better, red or blue.

I, and I think most practising accountants, would say AAT because it's in our environment and there are quite a few qualified accountants these days who came through that route. Plus I personally have only ever dealt with a couple of IFA members and they were both shocking.

Joe Public, however, who don't understand the intricacies of all our qualifications, may well vote for IFA as it "sounds" more qualified.

Thanks (3)
Replying to adam.arca:
RLI
By lionofludesch
17th Aug 2019 16:49

adam.arca wrote:

It's a bit like asking what's better, red or blue.

No argument there. Red is always better.

Thanks (1)
Replying to lionofludesch:
avatar
By LostinSuspense
22nd Aug 2019 16:38

What about purple?

Thanks (0)
Replying to LostinSuspense:
RLI
By lionofludesch
22nd Aug 2019 18:03

Purple ?? Not many teams play in purple.

Newcastle Thunder, Minnesota Vikings, Melbourne Storm, Wexford - struggling after that....

Thanks (0)
Replying to lionofludesch:
By Red Leader
29th Nov 2019 16:13

lionofludesch wrote:

adam.arca wrote:

It's a bit like asking what's better, red or blue.

No argument there. Red is always better.

Of course it is.
Thanks (0)
avatar
By GR
16th Aug 2019 09:17

I am a practising member of both. I have found the IFA more useful in terms of signing accounts, accountants certificates, and other references. I generally don't use my AAT membership, despite paying for it, because it sometimes gets rejected by banks, etc (which is very embarrassing). I believe employers recognize AAT more but in my experience banks etc recognize IFA more. Although the AAT is doing a lot of work at the moment to change this. There is also another organization called the AIA that I believe is more recognized than the AAT and IFA with banks etc. Please free to get in touch should you need any help.

Thanks (2)
Replying to GR:
avatar
By adam.arca
16th Aug 2019 10:40

That's a very interesting summary, thank you. It's pretty much where my gut feel led me to but it's good to have it confirmed by someone at the coalface on this topic.

Thanks (1)
avatar
By NH
16th Aug 2019 10:02

AAT

Thanks (1)
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
16th Aug 2019 11:26

I suggest you get Harry Hill involved, and have him organise a fight.

On a more serious note, having got so far, what not just get enough experience to get your ACCA cert? You will tend to find whilst many clients are oblivious, the better quality clients (ie the ones you want) are easier to attract if you have your stripes.

Thanks (1)
Mark Lee 2017
By Mark Lee
16th Aug 2019 17:56

Keep in mind that having the technical skills to advise clients is one thing. Having the business skills to attract the type of clients you want and to build your own practice requires a degree of experience and insight that you probably won't get from any of the professional bodies.

I recommend getting a copy of Della Hudson's book: The Numbers Business' as this covers almost everything you need to think about as you are starting your own practice.

Thanks (1)
Replying to bookmarklee:
avatar
By FRAS
16th Aug 2019 23:23

Thank you, Mark Lee i have ordered Della Hudson`s book on amazon and i look forward reading it as soon as i receive it as i want to be successful.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By spilly
16th Aug 2019 22:19

You could have membership of both, then eventually you will become a FAAT FCCA.

Thanks (7)
Replying to spilly:
avatar
By FRAS
16th Aug 2019 23:15

I hope so too, thanks

Thanks (0)
Replying to spilly:
avatar
By FRAS
16th Aug 2019 23:15

I hope so too, thanks

Thanks (0)
Replying to spilly:
By Red Leader
17th Aug 2019 15:13

I see what you did there. Naughty.

Thanks (3)
Replying to Red Leader:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
21st Aug 2019 15:30

So did I, it raised a grin on a boring Wednesday afternoon. I could possibly argue I already have that combined qualification.

Thanks (1)
avatar
By spilly
16th Aug 2019 22:22

Seriously though, if you need to sign off stuff for banks and mortgage applications, AAT will often not be sufficient.
Clients won’t care either way.

Thanks (2)
Replying to spilly:
avatar
By NH
17th Aug 2019 08:10

For those that are saying that the AAT is not sufficient for signing off mortgage applications, in over 20 years as AAT acting for hundreds of clients I have only ever once had an issue where a bank insisted on a reference being signed off by a Chartered Accountant and that was a very unusual client situation, in the last few years almost every request has just been for the TYO and Tax Calc.
If in doubt I would ask the AAT for a list of banks that will accept AAT, the last list I have seen from 2013 showed 106 banks.

Thanks (1)
avatar
By thestudyman
17th Aug 2019 13:46

What makes you think after 10 years you won't get a PC from ACCA?

Thanks (0)
avatar
By spilly
17th Aug 2019 18:39

ACCA want supervisory sign-offs, which can be difficult to obtain when working in industry, particularly if there is not a more senior accountant in the business.

Thanks (0)
Replying to spilly:
avatar
By FRAS
18th Aug 2019 00:57

That is true

Thanks (1)
Replying to spilly:
avatar
By thestudyman
19th Aug 2019 08:03

spilly wrote:

ACCA want supervisory sign-offs, which can be difficult to obtain when working in industry, particularly if there is not a more senior accountant in the business.

There may be alternatives. E.g. Does the company use an external firm of accountants for any accounts or tax preparation? They may be able to validate some of the work.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By AJLang
20th Aug 2019 10:21

I went through my qualification with AAT and have had my practising license since 2014.

I am surprised at some of the comments about banks not accepting it as a qualification? I have sent off many accountant's certificates and documents to banks for mortgage applications etc , not once have I had any knocked back.

I have no immediate plans to go further qualification wise, AAT is fine for all the work I do.

They do have quite alot of support available for everything from CPD to help with MLR etc. Can't fault them for their support at all.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By IanClark
21st Aug 2019 15:18

I have a practice certificate with the IFA as does our practice, and yes, I too could regale with shocking stories of handovers from Chartered Accountants, such as negative NBVs on Fixed asset schedules, TBs which don’t balance and worse. It would seem, there are good and bad accountants in all accounting bodies.

Of the organisations mentioned, AAT has a really good training program, my experience has been that those who practice through it tend to stick to bookkeeping and basic accounting, although of course there are exceptions.

I understand that the AIA is a much smaller organisation certainly worldwide, although I think potentially access to Audit? and since the IFA/IPA merger the IFA is now part of a very large accounting body with over 35,000 members, so has a strong IFAC presence.

I’m biased as I help organise it, but the IFA CPD sessions, certainly in London, are very popular and attended by ACCA and AAT practice certificate holders as well as our members. And the IFA are very proactive with recognitions not just with building societies and banks, but also the Home Office, Charity Commissioners and even the CAA

The annual conferences held all around the country are very well organised and attended, and in general the IFA are very helpful to practice members.

We have ACCA qualified staff, and we have had no problems signing off their experience, although none of them have practice certificates.

If you wish to contact me, I’ll happily put you in touch with local IFA practitioners, and you can talk to them.

Thanks (2)
avatar
By LostinSuspense
22nd Aug 2019 16:45

I feel very guilty never having heard of IFA's (I assumed IFA was Independent Financial Advisor).

IFA does however 'sound' better.

Thanks (0)
Replying to LostinSuspense:
RLI
By lionofludesch
22nd Aug 2019 17:49

LostinSuspense wrote:

I feel very guilty never having heard of IFA's (I assumed IFA was Independent Financial Advisor).

IFA does however 'sound' better.

I thought it was Irish Football Association.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Helix123
29th Nov 2019 13:08

I know it’s a bit late to reply on this thread. However I just wanted to mention few things. AAT is a level 4 qualification, where IFA is a level 7 qualification. If you are a IFA member you get AAT full membership. But if you are an AAT member you have to study for level 5,6,7 in order to get IFA membership. IFA is recognised by HMRC and banks, but unfortunately not in the home office list as far as I know. Hope this helps.

Thanks (1)
Share this content