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Calling Practice Accountants/Auditors, please advise...

(9 Posts)
Isthereanyhope Sun 16-Mar-14 18:10:19

I am newly divorced as of Jan 2014. Up to the point of my divorce I was a SAHM for many years. I have four children at various ages the youngest being 13 years old.

I qualified as an accountant prior to stopping work falling in love and foolishly making myself financially dependent

I intended to go back to work. But life didn’t quite work out as planned. My childcare ie mum and dad in fact required my support and so contributed to my absence from the world of work (both are now dead, I was their carer for many years).

As a result I have not worked as an accountant since 1998.
[I currently work as a weekend carer, I needed the money and do a good job. Care agency management have said that they are happy to provide references.]

I now want need to find a job/spring start a career in order to meet the challenges of the next stage of my life.

How do I make my way back into accountancy, is it even possible? Has MNer done so in a similar circumstances?

Prior to marriage etc, I worked in industry as a financial accountant/financial controller.

Unfortunately, I do not have experience of Pivot tables/Sage software, due to the size of the company antiquated I worked for prior to stopping work. sad

I cannot afford to spend money on training courses: how would an employer look on completion of a training course without professional experience?

I am happy to travel as part of my work responsibilities (youngest is able to go for sleepovers and/or be looked over by older siblings). I have no plans to have any more children and would really like (need) to have a career.

I am ACCA qualified with full membership. Is it enough? Are there other avenues I could realistically pursue?

I sent an email to my association asking for advice many moons ago, they have yet to respond hmm

My idea is to write a covering letter with my CV explaining that I am qualified accountant but would like to be considered for part qual/junior auditor roles due to my circumstances etc? Is that likely to get any a positive response?

I would especially welcome comments from those in practice who hire/fire.

Thank you for any help you can give me.

Isthereanyhope Sun 16-Mar-14 21:05:31


Auntimatter Sun 16-Mar-14 21:17:03

I can't help on specifics as not in practice any more but do work in the field and suggest, to start you off:

- talk to recruitment agencies (financial) and see what they say. Emphasise your qualification, experience and transferable skills from non-working time (negotiation, project-management, people skills, etc: fancy words for normal family life). See where they suggest you start. Don't go in selling yourself short.

- post this same question on Accountingweb, which is full of practicing accountants including some regulars who write about mixing mum stuff with running their own practice.

- consider going self-employed. Lack of recent experience makes this hard but everyone starts somewhere and no one knows everything.

- get networking with local small accountants/tax advisers/bookkeepers etc to see if they have chunks of work you could do for them as a contractor. Will give you experience and you might get a job out of it.

MuttonCadet Sun 16-Mar-14 21:20:46

How have you retained membership? Don't you need to proof CPD for ACCA?

Isthereanyhope Sun 16-Mar-14 21:38:17

Thank you for replying!

Mutton I have the qualification but until I do the required number of CPD hours cannot use the ACCA after my name.

Aunti Going self employed is something that I have looked at however from what I understand I would need someone to be a mentor/supervisor. This person would likely require payment.

I will post this dilemma on the site you suggested, thank you for that suggestion, I had forgotten about their existence!

MuttonCadet Sun 16-Mar-14 21:48:20

Sorry, I didn't mean to sound so negative, I can't give better advice than Auntie has already given you - but good luck!

Auntimatter Sun 16-Mar-14 23:10:46

You'd need a practicing certificate if you wanted to be self-employed ACCA. I don't know what the rules are about mentoring/supervising but you wouln't need such a person indefinitely. And you'd be able to afford to pay them because you would (hopefully!) be making money.

S/e is not necessarily the best route, you need to explore all your options. I just mentioned it as it's an obvious possibility.

Good luck.

kate1516 Tue 18-Mar-14 14:04:26

Are you looking to go back to work as an auditor or an accountant in industry? Is your experience in small, medium or large businesses as the requirements will vary massively between them all.

Depending on the size of the company you join, a lot of companies will train you on their accounting systems (as most are tailored in big companies) and they are mostly quite easy to understand if you know the basics of accounting. Don't worry too much about Sage.

I think there are probably a few things you can do to get your skills up to date without paying for a training course too, although I think having some recent training will look best on your CV.

Most employers would expect good excel knowledge and some pivot table knowledge but there are self tutorials on excel so you can do these at home yourself just to become familiar with them.

Read industry news - there is quite a lot going on at the moment in terms of new accounting standards - basically a whole new UK GAAP is being launched based on IFRS. Being familiar with some of the main changes might help, but, if you are not going for FC level roles, it won't impact you greatly - just make you sound knowledgeable.

I agree with Auntimatter above that it would be a good starting point to talk to recruitment agents. There are a number of specialist accounting ones who will be able to give you some honest advice and see what jobs they have available to you.

Good luck x

Isthereanyhope Wed 19-Mar-14 16:54:58

Thank you so much Aunti, Mutton and Kate, you have given me a push in the right direction.

I think it may be a hard nut to crack but I am going to give it my best shot.

I am hopeful.

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