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Why are project management skills important after the AAT qualification?

Why are project management skills important after the AAT qualification?

What is AAT?

The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) is a professional organisation for accountants. It is the UK's largest professional membership association for accounting professionals, with over 150,000 members in over 90 countries.

What are the multiple levels of the AAT?

AAT qualification is divided into four levels. The AAT Access Level 1 course is the most basic, while the Level 4 diploma is the most sophisticated.

Here's a basic review of the various AAT credentials:

AAT level 1

AAT Access (Level 1) — This course provides a basic introduction to accounting and finance. It is a quick course that serves as the first step in becoming an AAT member. Once you've earned the AAT certification, you'll be able to apply for a wide range of accounting professions. There are no prerequisites, although candidates must be at least 16 years old.

AAT level 2

The foundation stage of AAT courses critical accounting skills and regulations such as the double-entry system, trial balances, and credit control. This course introduces essential accounting skills and principles such as the double-entry system, trial balances, and credit control. There is no prerequisite to have completed Level 1 before taking this course.

AAT Level 3

The intermediate level of AAT Level 3 expands on the theory learned in earlier classes but focuses more on practical accounting duties, such as formal account preparation. The AAT Diploma in Accounting will be awarded to you once you have completed the course.

What is the purpose of AAT?

The AAT Accounting Qualification is highly regarded in the financial world. It is to provide students with all of the necessary practical skills to pursue a career in finance.

AAT qualifications are internationally recognised and are often required for a variety of accounting roles. They are ideal for anybody seriously contemplating a career in accounting since they may be studied regardless of age, experience, or previous qualifications.

How much time does it take to become an AAT?

Because the AAT courses are self-paced, you will have a lot of control over this. Each level should take between six months and a year to complete (although this might be substantially shorter if you're currently employed in the accounting field).

You'll be able to access the Future Connect training course whenever it's convenient for you, thanks to tutor-led videos that you can fit into your schedule.

What is project management?

Project management is a client-centred procedure that greatly enhances the likelihood of delivering the intended objectives. It can assist an accounting business in better planning its resources and ensuring that work is delivered to clients on schedule.

An accounting certified business can use the project management approach to manage its engagements in the future. Rather than in the past, as with timesheets. When effectively executed, project management may help your company stand out from the competition by defining success in the same manner that your clients do.

Objectives:

Objectives are high-level statements that describe the project's desired outcomes, such as preparing a client's tax return. Because they are mostly activities, they should begin with verbs such as generate, create, or develop and be followed by specified, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-sensitive (SMART) things to be completed. For lack of a better term, an objective should be objective; that is, it should be accomplished by the previous due date or not. Something that would happen as a result of the involvement in the long run.

What is the purpose of project management for an accountant?

Aids in the development of a strategy and the reduction of chaos

The need for meticulous preparation before beginning any job cannot be overstated. The more the complexity of a project, the greater the possibility of chaos.

Project management aids in the reduction of uncertainty and the prevention of accounting chaos. It aids in the avoidance of common blunders such as overestimating the speed with which a product or service can be produced or underestimating the cost.

Maintains emphasis on project goals

A project is a transient and unique undertaking; consequently, there is no blueprint to follow. As a result, as the project proceeds, the project objectives get jumbled.

In today's world, project failure is primarily due to a lack of clearly defined goals. Project management assists in clearly determining project objectives in accounting and ensuring that they are met so that the project's actual output matches the client's expectations.

Streamlines the project with business strategy

A project isn't considered successful unless it has met all of its accounting business objectives. Completing the short-term goals of multiple separate initiatives leads to long-term corporate strategy.

Project management guarantees that the accounting project is on track and that no work is completed under the organisation’s business plan.

Keeps the process under control.

Project management is a proactive approach to ensuring that the appropriate people are doing the correct tasks at the right time. People prefer to operate reactively without project management, handling problems as they arise with no predetermined purpose or method.

Project management assists in taking a proactive approach by precisely identifying risks and developing a strong plan to reduce them from the outset. It also aids in the division of large jobs into smaller, more manageable subtasks. Accounting managers can deal with difficulties more efficiently and effectively if they have clear deadlines and milestones in place.

Helps with quality control

When working on any project, quality control is also a crucial factor to consider because, in the end, the customer is most concerned with the quality of the product or service supplied.

When teams are under pressure to complete the project on time and within budget, it isn't easy to keep quality in check. This stress may cause a drop in overall job quality, resulting in client dissatisfaction.

Project management aids in the definition of deliverables and quality standards so that everyone understands what they should strive

Lowering costs

According to a recent survey by PMI, "on average, firms globally squander 9.9% of every dollar invested owing to poor project performance," which translates to $99 million for every $1 billion invested.

Project management may assist save costs by fully using existing resources, reducing penalties associated with delays, and improving overall output quality.

Importance of project management skills after AAT

Traditionally, digitalisation programmes have been managed by the IT department. 'Delivering the project on schedule and budget' was frequently the sole criterion in those circumstances.

People and organisations, particularly in the financial sector, have become more digitally sophisticated. Finance managers may now be involved in transformation initiatives such as installing enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

ERP and finance.

Large ERP installations impact every facet of a business, with the finance department at the epicentre. As a result, it's understandable that a financial manager would ensure the project's success.

After all, they're the ones who know how to use the general ledger and accounts structure, which is an important part of any ERP system.

If an ERP project is to succeed, the financial component must be flawless.

What about the finance manager's reporting, forecasting, and budgeting responsibilities? An ERP deployment will influence all of them, emphasising the relevance of the finance team's requirements within the scope of an ERP project.

The project team includes financial professionals.

The finance manager must deeply appreciate and comprehend the project implementation process and how the new system will alter present procedures and reporting timelines.

Although the new transactional system offered a large number of schedules, granularity was compromised as a result. The team can no longer obtain the information without devoting even more time to the assignment — it's become a highly time-consuming procedure.

It was a significant omission during the requirements gathering process. You might have caught it sooner if the finance manager had been adequately involved in the project, right down to the scope and needs.

How to Ensure the Accountability of a Project Manager

you should set expectations

Project expectations are frequently unpredictable, causing project managers to clash with their priorities. The lack of well-written and clearly defined paperwork on duties and accountabilities is the key issue that leads to scenarios where the manager and his team make poor judgments and lose focus on the project.

Keep track of achievements.

Following the work progress to see if milestones (particularly critical path milestones) are met and what difficulties develop when a milestone is missed is known as tracking. It's a continual process that informs an executive sponsor about how the project progresses at any given stage in the implementation life cycle and what needs to be changed.

When a critical path milestone is too far away, the sponsor might meet with the project manager for one or more sessions to review which activities on the way to the milestone are most likely to fail or hit a snag.

When a critical path milestone is too near to the current date, and the sponsor has no time to explore workarounds with the team during meetings, the sponsor must make rapid and efficient task timing decisions.

It implies that the sponsor must work with the project manager to examine the quality/results of each job accomplished before, estimate expenses, and review team input from previous periods. The project manager will bear responsibility for present performance when calculating the time needed to complete current tasks in terms of prior arrangement.

Concentrate on Results

You should monitor success, and performance is a good indicator of whether team members are concentrating on the proper tasks and objectives for the project. The sponsor must guarantee that the project manager's professional and personal values are aligned with the project's performance goals.

There are two ways to get the manager's attention on the performance goals. The first is that the executive sponsor releases performance indicators regularly (e.g. weekly) to ensure that everyone participating in the project is aware of the results.

Positive and constructive feedback and prizes, recognition, and performance talks will motivate the team, open up prospects for advancement, and guarantee that the project manager is held accountable.

The sponsor's second strategy ensures that the project's priority understands it according to its goals, other initiatives, and daily tasks. There should be no second-tier projects, only work completed on time and according to predetermined objectives.

Conclusion:

Project management necessitates taking a step back from work at hand and examining how each component fits into the wider picture, only to discover it as part of a larger mosaic.

If accountants want to become trustworthy business consultants who are more than just compliance checkers, they must understand the larger picture. Aside from technical expertise, successful accountants strive to balance a variety of talents, and project management assists them in putting these skills to use.

Accountants who successfully manage projects will develop their technical abilities, such as scheduling and risk and budget analysis, and learn new skills, such as relationship building and leadership attributes, which will help them become tomorrow's effective corporate leaders.

FAQs

Q.1:What is the significance of project management in accounting?

Project management is essential for managing resources like time and money. It's also a good approach to guarantee that documentation, processing, and payments arrive on schedule.

Q.2: What is the relationship between project management and accounting?

Accounting is in charge of creating and maintaining a chart of accounts with cost codes that project managers may use to manage and forecast the project successfully.

Q.3: What are the benefits of having project management skills?

You may use project management abilities to help you lead others. Skills in project management aid in the balancing of priorities. You may use project management skills to keep track of resources.