Becoming a bookkeeper?

(4 Posts)
ScaredToBeHonest Sun 26-Jan-14 21:24:39

I am currently self employed - working within criminal law on a freelance basis. I am concerned that due to significant changes within the industry that my future within it is far from secure. I am therefore looking at a change of career. I would like to continue to be self employed and to be able to work from home, at least part of the week in order that I can work around DS (some evenings and weekend) but would have childcare for a couple of days a week.

I have not been working for the last few months as I had DS 5 months ago. I am considering doing a bookkeeping course over the next few months (whilst still in receipt of statutory maternity allowance) in the hope that I will be able to complete it a couple of months after the SMP runs out.

This is the course

It is not cheap - it will cost me about £2300 which is a lot of money and I do not want to spend it unless I can be sure I will earn an income as a bookkeeper. (I intend to continue trying to secure work within criminal law and have the two businesses running concurrently until I can build up sufficient work to just do bookkeeping.)

Obviously if I complete this course, I will have the qualifications I need but no experience.

My concerns are that a) with qualifications but no experience I may struggle without any guidance from someone who has actual experience of preparing accounts etc and b) that I may struggle to secure clients as I have not previously worked within that industry.

I would be really grateful for any opinions on whether this is a viable plan.

OP’s posts: |
kernowal Wed 29-Jan-14 23:27:57

Have you looked at taking the AAT qualification, which is another viable alternative? Most clients would expect you to provide payroll and vat services as well as writing up basic books & records which an accountant can turn into accounts & tax info. I'm not familiar with the detail of the ICB qual, but aat takes you right up to that accounts prep level.

Many small businesses are using cloud based accounts, such as xero these days, so you will need to be familiar with more than just Sage.

Don't forget things like software costs & prof indemnity insurance as well.

icravecheese Thu 30-Jan-14 13:15:17

I'm a qualified chartered accountant and work on a freelance basis. I have a number of clients who I perform a variety of tasks for, ranging from running their monthly payroll, doing quarterly VAT returns, doing self assessments, monthly book-keeping, full accounts prep and submitting to the relevant bodies.

Personally, I try to avoid book-keeping at all costs can spend absolutely hours trying to understand somebody's terrible record keeping etc, whilst getting paid not alot to do so. I make much more money doing payroll / VAT / Self assesses and final accounts than I do book-keeping. I know that this isnt terribly helpful as a book-keeping course probably won't teach you far enough to do some of the other tasks i've listed above (eg final accounts / tax calculations etc). But I think you should be really careful in considering taking the book-keeping course when you've no experience in this particular area.....As a qualified accountant, I still sometimes struggle to know what to do with some people's book-keeping, and I call on my fellow accountant friends to ask for advice & help etc.

YOu say that you work in criminal law currently? Is there no other legal area you could move into / take a relevant course etc to keep you in the legal field in an area that you're familiar with and have contacts in? I have to confess I am a big believer in the adage "stick to what you know best".

Sorry, hope my post doesn't seem negative!

kernowal Thu 30-Jan-14 13:22:19

I agree with you completely, Icravecheese.

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