Cost-of-living crisis: Financial skills are more valuable now than ever before

For almost everyone, the cost-of-living crisis rings alarm bells. For many, it may lead to questions about second jobs and alternative streams of income to help deal with the load. But the importance of remapping your current finances cannot be understated. Rob Alder, Head of Business Development, Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) comments

Whether you’re a business owner looking to fight through the latest economic turmoil, or you’re simply trying to take care of your own household bills while staying afloat, accounting skills and a better understanding of your financial situation can be vital to finding solutions.

Here at AAT, we’re proud to deliver a broad range of qualifications for accountants building their skills and careers, alongside support to anyone interested in basic financial management via our AAT Essentials courses. Recently, we commissioned research into how financial skills and qualifications can help people through economic uncertainty. The findings speak for themselves.

Rob Alder 
Head of Business Development
Association of Accounting Technicians

Of those in the accounting and finance sector, 74% say the knowledge gained in their role has helped them to navigate rising costs, with 75% feeling they can plan better in the current climate. Furthermore, 73% say their wok has given them a positive outlook on the future.

It would be a stretch to say anyone should see the current situation as an opportunity – but there’s definitely no better time to start analysing incomings and outgoings to help budget more effectively. Our research has shown that rising costs have prompted 26% of those asked to regularly examine their earnings and expenses, with 33% thinking about how they can make savings, both in a business or household context.

Organisations with trained accounting experts – armed with the qualifications that AAT provides – are benefitting from expertise that can make a real difference to business. Business owners and entrepreneurs are fighting to maintain profit margins and having financial literacy within their companies when it comes to areas like payroll, cost-cutting, supplier contracts, resource management and many more has never been more vital.

Supporting small and medium-sized businesses through difficult times is fundamental if we want to see our economy back to its best and thriving in the coming years, and employees also report increased job satisfaction as a result of being financially trained.

But we’re not just talking about businesses here. For every individual, the cost-of-living crisis presents its own challenges. Those with financial qualifications not only have access to the skills and knowledge to plan better – managing household bills, travel costs and other general expenditure – they can also help their wider social circle to cope with the current situation too. Our research found that 71% of those with accounting qualifications or skills feel better able to support friends and family in dealing with financial hardship.

It’s no surprise to see people and society placing more value on financial skills as the economy lacks stability – it is those skills that will help individuals and businesses through these challenging times and hopefully back to a more prosperous future.

Accessibility is important to us at AAT for this reason – everyone can benefit from these skills which is why we offer a range of qualifications that are open to all, regardless of previous experience or age. This includes our AAT Accounting Qualifications that provide a non-degree route into chartered accountancy, as well as the AAT Bookkeeping Qualifications that can support business growth through accurate and up-to-date financial records.

Becoming financially trained doesn’t always entail traditional study routes and long courses either – there are also apprenticeship routes that promote the ability to earn while you learn and hone real business experience along the way.

As well as offering a range of financial qualifications, AAT gives small businesses free advice on financial management through – the web platform funded as part of AAT’s charitable activity.

I’d urge everyone to have a look at what AAT can offer them, and to make sure they take care of their finances whilst we navigate this challenging period. There will be better times ahead where purse-strings can be loosened – but right now, investing in the skills and expertise to maximise our current situation and make our money go as far as it can is the most productive thing we can do.

Main image credit: The Good Brigade/ Getty Images