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Career advice from a chartered accountant?

(16 Posts)
mishfish Tue 17-Oct-17 20:38:35


Thanks for reading.

I had my children relatively young due to illness and disability when I was younger and always promised myself that my 30s would be about developing my career

I'm a certified bookkeeper and have. Few private clients whilst also studying the AAT qualification. I'm nearly finished with level 3 and will be moving straight onto the professional diploma and was hoping to after move onto CIPFA or similar. My thoughts were to complete as much study as possible before beginning to look to return to employment in roughly around 3 years when my youngest will be eligible for the 30 hours "free" childcare.

I'm looking at jobs online and I'm noticing that a lot of the chartered accountancy roles (including more junior ones) require a candidate to be degree educated.

Will I struggle to break a certain barrier without a degree? Realistically would I be better off getting a degree before returning to the work place with my AAT diploma or do I stick to my original plan?

Many thanks

mishfish Tue 17-Oct-17 20:41:35

Sorry for horrific post- smashed screen and steam from the bath is making the keypad play up!

mishfish Tue 17-Oct-17 20:42:33

PPS- also acknowledge that I wouldn't be charged until I've completed the relevant experience in the workplace!

WishingCarrot Tue 17-Oct-17 20:46:49

I’m an FCA.

More and more larger firms are taking school leavers rather than graduates. Look into entrance criteria of the top 10.

If they’re prepared to take school leavers with no prior work exp I’m sure they’d jump at the chance to take an older person w/o degree.

ClashCityRocker Tue 17-Oct-17 20:50:11

I'm an ACA and CTA.

Focus on your Aat and getting as much experience as possible. I don't think a degree would add anything or improve your employability particularly.

As you are already a bookkeeper with experience of dealing with clients, I would imagine many firms would find you appealing.

ClashCityRocker Tue 17-Oct-17 20:53:32

Also, unless you specifically wish to go into public finance, I would be looking at ACA, Acca or cima if you wish to work in industry.

But, I would suggest you start applying with just your Aat. Chartered status without much experience is a bit neither fish nor fowl - let them pay for your study and give you experience at the same time.

Kez100 Tue 17-Oct-17 20:57:58

I'm an FCA. No degree. I'm proud that my industry never went the all-degree route and have different routes in.

Experience and professional exams are the key. ACCA and ACA, both excellent options.

Etymology23 Tue 17-Oct-17 21:04:46

We take AAT qualifieds on into our grad programme whether or not they have a degree - don't have to go through our normal processes, as we treat them as experienced hires. I think getting involved with networking events in your area is likely the best way to do this perhaps?

BarchesterFlowers Tue 17-Oct-17 21:08:17

I am CIPFA. Fell into it after doing a risk management project for an organisation. Love it, did it in my late 30s/early 40s when I had a few years off after DD, started with a vv part time role (1 day a week)!

I really enjoy my role which is really diverse, I have other chartered quals in different sectors and my job brings them all together which is amazing.

BarchesterFlowers Tue 17-Oct-17 21:09:34

Forgot to say that I employed someone who self studied AAT from scratch without a degree. Similar circumstances to you. It wasn’t a barrier at all.

That was the point of my post in the first place!

ClashCityRocker Tue 17-Oct-17 21:12:26

Also, just to add, unless things have changed, you won't be able to achieve chartered status until you have two years (I think) of relevant experience behind you. You would need to check this with the relevant organisation of course but it certainly used to be the case for most of the accountancy bodies - you can't just pass the exams and join the institute, and you can't call yourself a chartered accountant without joining the institute.... Hopefully someone will correct me if I'm wrong!

mishfish Tue 17-Oct-17 21:13:34

@ClashCityRocker that's entirely right. I worded my OP poorly. I'd be part qualified until I completed the relevant experience for the required time

ClashCityRocker Tue 17-Oct-17 21:18:24

We have also employed people who have self studied aat as adults. And bookkeeping skills are also attractive.

I suspect you would be able to get a firm to fund your chartered qualifications should you wish. When the time comes, I would suggest sending speculative letters out to local firms. We've taken on a fair few juniors that way - in fact we often don't have to advertise these roles as there is enough speculative interest to fill them with decent candidates. It probably varies by area but I know at least three other firms who are in the same boat.

trilbydoll Tue 17-Oct-17 21:20:11

I'm ACA and no degree smile I did AAT after A Levels.

The problem with self study CIMA / ACCA is you can end up exam qualified but no experience. Generally if possible I would recommend getting a training contract in practice and getting the exams and experience together.

mishfish Tue 17-Oct-17 21:28:37

Thank you everyone

I forgot to add that I had roughly 3 years experience working in accounts departments before leaving due to my circumstances

I've been self employed providing bookkeeping for 2 years and it's only the equivalent of 1 day per week as I currently have 2 children under 3 at home (as well as my eldest whose at school full time) and I'm awaiting surgery to fix an issue with my already false knee. Once the knee is sorted I'll be open to taking on more clients.

My GCSEs weren't amazing and I didn't go onto any further study too interested in boys and weed at that age blush

wishing that's good to hear and I'll have to look into it- my only concern would be starting on a school leaner salary but perhaps that wouldn't be the case if I already had experience and some qualifications

clash my theory behind taking as many exams as possible before returning to employment was concern about managing a house hold, 3 children and exams. I'm not sure if it would be too much. I thought if I could get the majority out of the way it would be less time I spend where I'm juggling so many different things

barchester I'm really glad it worked out for you, and that you considered employees with similar circumstances to mine!

trilby that's one of my concerns and one of the reasons I'm doing private client work at the moment. It's nothing heavy as their accountants meet their reporting requirements for them so I stick to the purchase and sales ledger, general ledger and bank recs but it's something!

Thank you everyone. I have this permanent internal fear that I've completely fucked up with not taking school seriously, my illness and disability (not my fault I know) and getting pregnant so young without establishing myself remotely beforehand and am desperately trying to rectify this for myself.

mishfish Tue 17-Oct-17 21:31:02

Clash that should read- concerns about damaging a household, 3 children, exams and working full time

I swear my Mumsnet posts aren't a reflection on the accuracy of my work grin

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