I am thinking of training as a bookkeeper as an extra feather in my cap.
I am an experienced medical secretary but only educated up to GCSE and NVQ level and am currently self-employed as an audio transcriptionist. Work is pretty slow at the moment and I have another thread on the go seeking advice on how to increase that.
However, I was thinking of widening my knowledge and wondered if anyone would advise if bookkeeping was a good avenue to go down? I have 2 kids (9 & 6) and one on the way so I need to stay self-employed. I can't afford childcare for the baby which is due on November if I went back to work. It just isn't feasible to me.
So I've looked into bookkeeping and would love some advice on where to begin. I've looked at AAT and also the ICB. ICB don't offer their own courses, only recommend providers so advice on the best route/provider would be greatly appreciated.
Do I need to purchase any software prior to beginning any courses considering I don't have workplace experience opportunities to use the software. So I guess I need Sage, Xero? Any others? Is it a feasible level of income?
Any advice greatly welcomed and appreciated. Thanks.
To be honest, if you are starting from a zero base in terms of knowledge and experience, I'd go down the AAT route and train to become an accounting technician instead. That's basically a step up from being a book-keeper and covers things like accounts preparation, VAT and payroll. Lots of local colleges do it on a part time basis.
Thing with being a book-keeper is that most smaller businesses want more than someone just to write up their ledgers (of course these days by computer not quill pen), they want the same person to do their VAT returns, their payroll, etc. The other thing is that pure book-keeping tends to be concentrated on the number crunching side of things, i.e. balancing and reconciliations, which these days are virtually automated when you use accounting software.
A "book-keeper" who also knows a bit about VAT, payroll, subcontractor tax, and understands accounts preparation is a lot more valuable and you'll have both better job prospects and also better skills if you wanted to go down the self employment route.
I work in Finance and would definitely say go for AAT. If you decide you want a career in finance, some employers will pay your training fees and it looks good if you have already funded some yourself. You might need some experience to get work, lots o charities are looking for this kind of thing if that's an option.