Graduate Accountancy Training advice please(13 Posts)
Im looking at a complete change in career direction and wanted advice from anyone placed to offer it about Graduate Accountancy training programmes.
I have a medical degree and worked as a doctor in the NHS for 4 years prior to a career break to have children.
10 years later (!) Im looking for something completely new and have always been interested in business/accountancy and wondered if this interest was something I could develop into a career.
1) would the graduate training schemes even look at someone of my advancing age (35)
2) would my medical degree be deemed sufficient to get onto the course (I have an A in level Maths)
3) Im not in a position to apply until September 2017, but wanted to spend the interim time maximising my chances of getting a post. Would a Profession certificate in Accounting from the OU be a reasonable way of doing this?
Many thanks for any thoughts.
1) My colleague joined the graduate training scheme of a large accountancy firm at 41 and did very well. That was back in the mid 2000s and since the accountancy firms are getting more and more open minded at where they look for talent e.g. dropping UCAS point requirements, more school leavers, offering internships to women who have left the profession to have a career break and want to restart. I don't think your age should be an issue at all.
2) Check websites of the professional bodies ICAEW, ICAS etc for exact details but an accountancy related degree is not required.
3) Will PM you
I wouldn't worry too much about an OU qualification unless you are applying for schemes that want a relevant degree. When I trained back in the early 2000s, we had 3 or 4 older trainees out of around 40. It was great. The only thing to warn you about with the BIg4 is that generally you work lots of additional hours
I did the OU's PCIA when contemplating a career change to see if it was something I wanted to do and I really enjoyed it. If you have the time to commit to it it can only be a good thing.
I considered ACCA's foundation level but didn't want to commit to ACCA as I wanted to work in the public sector so CIPFA was/is more relevant.
I had people with all sorts of degrees work for me in my previous career in the City on our graduate trainee programme. Your previous degree/career is well respected, you will have no problem imo.
This is a second career for me and I wanted to step away from long days/additional hours. I find that working for charities and local government (some work on a project basis) gives me a great work life balance. I really reduce what I do in the school holidays for instance.
I have other relevant qualifications and seem to have carved out an area I can do as much or as little as I want to, not always pure finance but other areas too.
You might consider ICSA too, chartered secretaries are in demand and there are lots of specialist area qualifications to choose from.
Must add that I was 40 with five years off under my belt when I made the switch, now nearly 50 and I do something I would be happy to do until I retire.
OP have you considered the HMRC graduate scheme? There is no age limit and quite a few trainees are older. Unfortunately it has just closed for this year but reopens next autumn. It takes 4 years to train and quite a few people eventually leave to join accountants. The training is more family friendly than accountancy I believe - you get paid time off to study and flexi time. The pay is ok but not great.
What is it that draws you to the profession?
Do you want to work in practice or industry?
The exams are tough whilst working long days although I guess you've built up good exam technique from your medical degree.
I've been looking at this too (similar age).
I though I might start with the CIMA certificate to see if I am really interested in it, and capable.
Then I thought I would look at the CIMA professional qualification, as I am more interested in the business management side than auditing.
I can finance myself to start with, then hope to get into a firm.
FWIW I did ACCA whilst working in industry, hated it. Mgt accountant for a couple of yrs then pushed to specialise in investment appraisal.
I now work in an industry that I'm passionate about and I feel I make a real difference to the future of the business (and ultimately the environment due to the nature of the business). I'm the same age as you too OP, and I would say don't waste your time auditing.
However, you may be a different character to me!
I agree that you should look at the HMRC programme. I'm in my 3rd year and it is interesting, flexible and will lead to a very family-friendly role with plenty of opportunities to change the type of work I do in future. I used to be a solicitor and got fed up with the hours and the narrowness of how the profession works - where you choose a specialism and then never do anything else! Happy to answer any questions if you're interested. The pay, as the PP said, isn't great, but you get a good work/life balance and the starting salary is higher than many of the graduate tax programmes in the private sector.
Thank you so much all of you. Really useful advise and lots to think about. Have had a quick look at the HMRC scheme too and that looks very interesting so will look more closely into that.
Just a word of warning, I started off in chartered accountancy and both the exams and audit process were extremely dry, dull and technical. It wasn't for me, I departed for a public-service profession and never looked back! I think that you might find the complete lack of people-focus a real struggle after working in medicine.
Have you considered banking? Or insurance broking? Or being a financial advisor?
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