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Accounting Career Trajectories - episode 3

In the third of a series of interviews with Rebecca Wood of Fellows Finance with a focus on career development and career choices for accountants, Rebecca speaks to Tom Baigent. Tom is a MAAT qualified accountant who has gained all his experience within private practice. 

Did you always want to become an accountant?

No, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I got to a stage in my life where I needed a career and having always been good with numbers, I decided to give it a go as an office junior while studying for the AAT.

What made you decide to complete the AAT?

I wanted to make a start in the accountancy profession but had no experience or qualifications so thought the AAT was a good place to start. 

Do you feel that the AAT qualification held you back in any way or has it helped you to progress further?

The qualification has really boosted my knowledge along with my 6 years’ experience. This has allowed me to demand a good salary and gain more senior practice roles. 

Have you ever considered taking a further qualification such as the ACA/ACCA?

I have considered further studies to enhance my knowledge and further my career however, I have a large family and a full-time job so finding the time and energy is a major struggle. It’s definitely something I’d like to do in the future. I have found that not following up with any further studies definitely holds back your salary and potentially puts new employers off. 

Have your previous places of work offered a further qualification as a study package? If not, would this persuade you to move firms?

I am in the process of moving to my fourth practice role at the moment. All of the roles I have worked in have offered study support. It wouldn’t alter my decisions if they didn’t offer this as further study is not a priority for me. 

Do you think your career would be further along if you completed a degree at university?

I don’t think so. The AAT qualification offers practical knowledge which transfers straight into accountancy roles. Having worked with a graduate who has an accountancy degree, it appears that degrees do not offer the same knowledge. He had to learn the basics from scratch which has slowed down his progression. 


If you missed our other career trajectories, you can see them here! Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 4, Episode 5, Episode 6, Episode 7.

If you would like to get involved and let us know about your career path so far, please contact




61 Bridge Street
HR5 3DJ 
+44 (0) 207 903 5019
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