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Same old story!(8 Posts)
I'm a qualified accountant about to be made redundant from my lovely 3 day a week company accountant role. I've been working for the company for two years and was a Big 4 auditor prior to that for 10 years before having a family.
It's the same old story - how to find work which will fit with the children and allow me to spend precious time with them but still earn some money...however two years on from when I was last job hunting one child is about to start school and one is about to start preschool so I have a lot more flexibility with the hours I could work and not pay for childcare.
I'm thinking about going self employed and have heard of a few people managing to get sub-contracting work from small firms to get some small practice experience prior to going to it completely alone - does anyone have any experience in this and how did you get the work??
Other options are teaching accountancy - although I have no teaching qualifications - or possibly even marking.
Any accountants out there who have made the transition from employed to self employed? I would love to hear about your experiences and your suggestions...thank you!
I can't really help on the questions you ask about accountancy-specific stuff, but one suggestion for you if you're looking to get clients as a new business, is have a look online and see if your town or city has networking events for freelance/self-employed/small businesses.
I've just started going to the ones in a nearby town and I've discovered that self-employed folk and small businesses seem to be falling over themselves to find low-cost (ie. not big firms with big prices) help with specialist stuff such as accountancy. It's a great way to meet people and spread the word that you're setting up and try and think of something as a point of difference.
Thank you, I've read about these sort of events and will carry out some further investigations.....
Try looking on EventBrite for free networking events in your area: even my local federation of small businesses events are posted on there. Plus have a look to see if your local council offers any help for start up businesses. If they have a centre they might well take your cards/leaflets.
The main accountancy colleges (you know exactly which I mean, as you trained with 1 of them) use markers for the progress tests for the professional exams & are always on the look out for reliable ones. It's harder to get work marking the real exams without teaching the papers. You may be able to get freelance work at a local college teaching AAT, but competition is fierce to break into tuition for the other professional exams.
The icaew runs a course on setting up on your own. Don't under estimate how hard it is to get clients initially, but word of mouth recommendations can then be used to build you business. I started with a single Sage set up & some freelance marking. I will never earn what I used to, but I now have enough work to keep me happy & juggle family life.
I forgot to mention, you'll need your practising certificate, PI insurance and software (I use ptp for statutory accounts & tax returns, Sage & QuickBooks).
Talking from a freelance perspective, though not necessarily an accountancy perspective, I always recommend to my freelancer friends that they get an accountant to help them with their finances.
Also any charity/small business/social enterprise will probably be trying to do it themselves and could easily benefit from your valuable skills - and wisdom about how best to manage their finances.
All to often accountants are seen (by freelancers) as simply number crunches and the decoder of the tax man's thoughts. When actually they should be much more like CFO's for small enterprises. Offering advice on strategy as much as running the books.
So I would pitch yourself to small firms/companies/charities and offer them a deal in which your prices are pretty competitive to other accountants, but that comes with your need for flexibility. Plus if you sell in the value of saving them money in the long run and helping them navigate the choppy waters of commerce you could build a flotilla of small clients that way? One who need a tax return, a few phone calls, some skype meetings etc but aren't so large that they become demanding?
Anyway just a thought!
Also if you're thinking of going freelance you might want to check out my ebook - which is basically everything I wish I'd known when I started in 100 pages.
Schools, especially academies now take care of all their finances so you might be able to get school hours there. Just a thought.
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