Many people go straight from school to university at around the age of 18, which is what I did. The question of whether or not a university education offers value for money is in the news. Here we will just point out the alternative that accountants can follow.
With numerate A levels it is possible to go straight into accountancy. Typically the entrant into accountancy will start by doing the Member of the Association of Accounting Technicians qualification, which may take two or three years. This may be followed by study for the Chartered Accountant qualification, or the Chartered Certified Accountant qualification. These are both professional qualifications and in the world of accountancy, they have a higher standing than a degree, even a degree in accountancy. At the end of the qualification, there is no student loan to repay, and the accountancy trainee will have received a modest salary. Once qualified, the accountant is free to look at some other qualification, such as Chartered Tax Advisor, or may then decide to go to university to do a degree such as Master of Business Administration. An MBA may need to be self-financed, but the student can have several years to prepare for it and can earn a good salary in the meantime.
Of course some people will simply prefer the student experience, but there is an alternative for accountants to consider.
David Porthouse & Co are accountants in Carlisle serving clients in Cumbria and North West England. They have a major interest in new technology and are developing an optical number recognition/datepoint system for scanning bank statements with the intention of attacking the cost of accounts preparation. They also have a spreadsheet system which can be e-mailed back and forth.