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Why do accountants need project management skills to post AAT Qualifications?

Why do accountants need project management skills to post AAT Qualifications?

AAT qualification is becoming extremely popular among students seeking to begin their accounting careers. Moreover, employers and business owners hire individuals with AAT qualifications due to their expertise and well-developed skills.

However, students must know that AAT is not the end of accounting courses that can equip them with all business skills and knowledge. To develop more advanced skills in accounting, accountants need to adopt further accounting training courses. An essential skill for accountants working in large or small businesses in project management.

Project management facilitates the businesses to stay in their budget plan, effectively plan and distribute assets and resources, and run business smoothly. Your role as a project manager within the industry is to prepare, create, and analyse, financial information for your company’s management team. Through this, you will facilitate them to make informed decisions to secure stability, profitability, and growth in future.

Moreover, your job role will include establishing and maintaining financial policies and management information systems. You will need to offer high-quality advisory services by bridging between finance aspects and management.

To acquire the abilities to perform these crucial roles, you need to extend your accountancy courses towards more advanced level accounting qualifications, such as chartered accountancy. You will need to study further AAT Level 4 and become a chartered project manager.

Importance of project management in future accounting courses

Future accounting fields are rapidly moving towards digital transformation, where new projects will emerge. Usually, the IT team is responsible for handling digital transformation projects. The project management team is only required to ensure that the project is delivered on time and the cost is within the budget.

But with the progress of technology in accounting and the increased tendency of accountants to become tech-savvy to handle their financial matters. Now finance managers and accountants are more involved in transformation projects like ERP, Enterprise Resource Planning implementation.

Significance of finance for ERP

Large ERP implementations impact all aspects of the company, with greater influence on the finance department. Therefore, to ensure the successful implementation of ERP, finance managers must have an active part in the process.

They are the ones with technical knowledge and understanding of general ledger and account structure that are core components of the ERP system. To make most of an ERP project, the role of finance manager or accountant is crucial as the project impacts the reporting, budgeting, and data forecasting aspects of businesses.

Role of an accountant or financial expert in the project management team

The finance or accounting expert is responsible for understanding and appraising the project implementation process. They can inform the process of changes in new systems and the reporting schedule.

Accounting qualification to become a project manager.

An expert project manager has the temperament, skills, and experience for the job role. Moreover, to become a qualified project manager, you need to have three years of relevant experience in the field. Having effective communication skills, formal training, and PMP certification can help.

To get a job as a project accountant or manager, you need

  • Bachelor’s degree in accounting such as Bachelor of Accounting and Bachelor of Business
  • Chartered Accountancy certification (CA)
  • Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) qualification
  • Graduate Diploma of Chartered Accounting (GradDip CA)

Capability to become a chartered management accountant

  • Having a Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualifies you to become a chartered management accountant. The individuals who are new to accounting and business must undertake CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting (Cert BA) consisting of four subject courses and computer-based assessment. You are eligible to undertake the course after completing the graduate course.
  • You can also undertake the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and train-chartered management accountants. In the final part of training, you can opt for business management modules rather than taxation and audit courses to become CMA.

Your employment in the company as a project manager will be based on employers’ needs. Some business requires just one degree or both, and three to four years’ experience, UCAS points and excellent skills in mathematics and English.

  • You can also avail of the graduate scheme from any company that is competitive but will offer your learning while earning.
  • Though pre-entry post graduation is not required, some companies prefer employees having a Master of Business Administration (MBA) after CIMA professional qualification.
  • After qualifying, you need to gain professional experience in project management or accounting. Moreover, it would help if you undertook professional development activities every year.

Advantages of becoming a project manager

Becoming a qualified project manager will allow accountants to significantly enhance their technical skills such as scheduling, budget analysis, and risk management. Also, it develops other soft skills in them, including leadership qualities and relationship building. These skills enable accountants to become successful business managers and leaders.

The other advantages of becoming a project manager are detailed below.

  • Project variety offers you the opportunity to work on different projects and utilise your skills to manage them. Courtesy to a variety of projects, there is no dull moment in a project management job.
  • Interacting with new people enables project managers to develop their people skills and interact with different business leaders to learn from their experiences.
  • Travel opportunities are numerous for project managing accountants. If you love travelling, then project management is your dream career.
  • Learning opportunities are available at every step of project management where you learn from other parties, colleagues, and employees from various departments.
  • The organisation is key to effective and successful project management, and through the position, you can learn organisation skills.
  • Working in different industries is another benefit of a project management role. You can choose to work in IT, construction, management, retail, health, food, insurance, bank, financial service, and advertising.
  • High salaries are another plus point for project managing accountants who earn more than other accountants and accounting job positions.
  • Job satisfaction is high for project managers who gain contentment from teamwork and project completion.

What are the job responsibilities of project managers?

Project management is a combination of accounting and business management skills. The core responsibility of the project manager is to envision future perspectives and analyse the business performance. The job is sometimes advisory, where project managers advise on conflict resolution, problem-solving, value improvement, and changing the circumstances.

Moreover, it involves managing and decreasing operational and production costs and implementing new and cost-effective strategies. You can choose to work in a single department of the organisation.

The job responsibilities vary depending upon the management structure; however, the major roles are as follows.

  • Preparation of regular financial statements such as profit loss accounts, cash flow, budgets, commentaries, and variance analysis.
  • Offering support facilities by working with different departments and management teams to facilitate their financial decision-making.
  • Ensure spending is aligned with the budget and does not exceed the cost.
  • Facilitating informed strategic decisions and defining business strategies to improve the process.
  • Offering advice on financial implications and business decisions.
  • Analysing the financial performance and supporting short and long-term business planning and forecasting.
  • Acting as a negotiator in major business projects, grants, and loans.
  • Providing a professional opinion on financial matters and suggesting ways to improve the company’s performance.
  • Communicating and interpreting financial data to non-financial managers.
  • Bridging the matters between other managers to determine the context of finances and accounts.
  • Monitoring and evaluation of the financial data system and advising improvement when required.
  • Executing corporate governance procedures, internal controls, and risk management.

Skills required to become a project management accountant

To become a qualified project management accountant, you must acquire the following skills in accounting.

  • Commercial awareness

It would help if you had high commercial awareness, an interest in business, and a detailed understanding of organisation working and resource management.

  • High mathematical skills

To become a project manager, you must have high numeracy levels and skills in mathematics.

  • Effective communication skills

Communication skills are the core of project management. Therefore, you must have effective and well-developed accounting skills to explain the complex situation and financial information to clients and the team.

  • Professionalism and Commitment

Being a project manager means you are a leader who needs to model high levels of practice to teach your employees. Therefore, you must be a professional who fulfils commitment and act expertly.

  • IT proficiency

Future accounting training courses and practices will be based upon digital technology. Therefore, you need to develop technological awareness to become a proficient and efficient project manager. Moreover, expertise in software accounting is also crucial for business purposes.

  • Project management skills

Project management skills are also crucial such as leadership, communication, time management, problem-solving, risk management, negotiation skills, and technical skills.

  • Strong interpersonal skills

Project management is all about teamwork, and you need to develop strong interpersonal skills to collaborate with colleagues, staff, and clients.

  • Confidence

You cannot survive in the business management field if you lack the confidence to face a difficult situation, accept your failures, and interact with people with higher authority.

  • Logical mind

Logical and analytical thinking is another core skill required for project management. Thus, it would help if you made your mind logical and analytical to solve complex and novel issues in accounting.

  • Motivation and physical strength

Without physical strength, your mind cannot work properly, and you cannot be internally motivated. Thus, prioritise your mental and physical health above all to achieve your goals.

  • Organisational skills

Organisational skills involve your ability to manage various processes at a time and work under pressure to meet deadlines.

  • Language skills

Language skills are also crucial for project management skills as you will need to communicate with different clients from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities. Their language can also vary; therefore, you must be an expert in understanding the needs and desires of others.

Job roles as project manager

As a project manager, you can perform various organisational functions, including human resources, marketing, IT and operations, finance, and non-finance fields. The non-financial strategic position for project managers include:

  • Project manager
  • Business analyst
  • CEO
  • Head of marketing
  • Head of planning

Eight career options after post AAT Qualification

You can choose the following careers.

  1. Accounting and finance
  2. Achieve professional MAAT status
  3. Study chartered accountant courses such as CA, ACA, ACCA, CIMA etc.
  4. Become a tax specialist or auditor
  5. Adopt profession in bookkeeping and payroll
  6. Work as accounting tutor or professor
  7. Adopt a leadership role in a business setting
  8. Become forensic expert


Project management opens the gateways to better prospects and enhanced salaries. After completing your AAT qualification, you must seek project management courses to improve your skills and have wider scope in the market.


Should accountants undertake project management courses?

Accountants must acquire project management qualifications to improve their technical skills and open new job opportunities for themselves. You can also avail various benefits of project management to enhance your accounting performance.

How is project management useful for accounting?

Project management is significant for managing time, cost, and other business assets. It is an effective way to ascertain that you do everything on time and process the information and payments.

An AAT qualification is equivalent to what?

AAT qualification level 1 is equivalent to GCSE, AAT level 3 is equivalent to two A-level courses, and AAT level 4 is equal to QCF qualification. You can earn exemption from several classes in chartered accountancy qualification after completing AAT.

Is AAT globally recognised?

AAT qualifications are well-recognised in the financial industry as it equips the students with the required practical skills to help them build a career in finance. The accountancy courses are internationally recognised and are prerequisites for various accounting positions.

Is project management qualification worth it?

Project management is an excellent career choice with high salaries and job opportunities in various fields. However, the course is demanding and highly stressful; thus, you need to have resilience and problem-solving skills to work in the area.

What is the average salary of the project manager in the UK?

The increased inclination of employees towards contract-based jobs and recruitment of young professionals caused a decrease in salaries from £47,500 to £50,000 in 2018. However, a 13% increase in salaries of project managers was seen for under 35 years professionals that rose to £35,000.