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Retraining as an accounts person? Worried about robots!

(12 Posts)
Ladybird909 Sat 13-May-17 19:38:54

I have been running my own small business for the last five years or so - I haven't been earning a huge amount from it but it has just about kept the wolf from the door and enabled me to spend lots of time with my DD which has been fantastic.

My DD starts school in September and we really need more money coming in so I was thinking about retraining as an accounts person by going back to college to do the AAT courses. Then hopefully I could get a part time accounts job to fit in around school times with the idea being that eventually when I have finished the courses and got enough experience I could go back to working for myself as a self employed bookkeeper.

However, it's going to take me three years to finish the AAT courses then maybe another couple of years to get some more experience so that's another five years or so and I'm going to be 40 next birthday.

Do you think it's too late for me to embark on this and completely change direction? Plus also (please don't flame me!) I read an article recently that accounting work could be done by robots in the future!!!

JanetBrown2015 Sat 13-May-17 20:02:34

From next year HMRC will be requiring self employed people like I am who are registered for VAT to file their accounts on line and the interesting question will be whether people use their accountants or accounts people more or less. Will the automated systems we will all be forced to use lead to our just doing it ourselves or will people use their accountant for the 4+ times a year filings? I don't know if that is the robots point or not.

It always pays to get more qualifications. I suspect book keeping is always going to be needed even if HMRC free software products (if indeed they offer anything useful free) become the norm.

Ladybird909 Sat 13-May-17 21:14:35

Thank you very much for your reply - that's a good point about the 4 times year thing that's coming in soon - as you say it could go either way.

My current business is so small that I wouldn't be able to pay someone to do it for me so would have to do it myself but maybe if someone had a business that was bringing in more money it would be more cost effective time wise to outsource it.

I guess it could become a gap in the market as well which might open up more opportunities?

Sammysquiz Mon 15-May-17 14:38:10

Hi, I've just done exactly that - I've just finished my AAT exams in order to have a self-employed accounts job which fits around school hours. It's all gone to plan, and its great having a job in which the majority of the work can be done out of usual office hours if necessary, so it's easy when the kids are ill or on school hols.

I think businesses are always going to need bookkeepers, even if it's just to undo the mess that the robots have made grin

MurielsBottom Mon 15-May-17 14:52:11

Sammy can I ask which aat qualification you did please?
I'm just completing level 2 book keeping transactions and controls with a view to being where you are now in a couple of years.

Btw OP I have just turned forty this year and I started retraining to go back to work as my school will all be in high school in a few years.

MurielsBottom Mon 15-May-17 14:53:00

As my children will be high school.


Ladybird909 Mon 15-May-17 15:05:06

Hi Sammy that's really heartening to hear that you have gone down the same path and it has worked out well for you grin

Do you mind me asking if you went straight into self-employed accounts after finishing the AAT courses or whether you had to get some on-the-job experience along the way?

Ladybird909 Mon 15-May-17 15:07:20

Hi Muriel are you doing the AAT Bookkeeping course rather than the standard AAT course?

MurielsBottom Mon 15-May-17 15:23:16

I'm doing the AAT book keeping level 2 at the moment.

FanSpamTastic Mon 15-May-17 15:57:34

It is hard enough to find finance staff who can deal with the complexities of the myriad rules and regulations of accounting and tax. I think it very unlikely that robots will be doing everything any time soon!

What we are seeing is a mechanisation of front end inputs - i.e. Electronic data interface between big companies and their suppliers. This cuts out some (but not all) data processing as EDI can track goods through despatch, goods in and automatically generate the invoices which get posted straight into the accounting system. But you still need humans to deal with when it all goes wrong!

Sammysquiz Mon 15-May-17 16:45:37

Muriel I did the Levels 2, 3 and 4 of the Accouting Diploma. I think they've just changed the syllabus (I did AQ2013) , so it may be called something different now though!

Ladybird I did bookkeeping work through an accountancy agency whilst I studied - AAT won't grant you a practice licence without experience in all the areas you wish to practice in. I also think it would be very difficult to go straight into self-employment without experience anyway - there's so many situations I've come across which aren't in the text-books!

Ladybird909 Mon 15-May-17 20:23:38

FanSpamTastic that's interesting to hear about EDI and data processing, I can see how some accounts work could be more automated in this way.

Sammy that's what I was thinking that I would need to do - hopefully once I have completed Level 2 then I might be able to get something part time at a lower level and then work and study at the same time.

Thank you for all your answers and info, it's much appreciated smile

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