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Career change to accounting

(17 Posts)
8elate8 Wed 22-Apr-20 14:28:18

Calling all accountants!

I'm back at work after maternity leave and while I'm happy to have a job in these times, it is slowly killing me. I've only been back a few weeks and I've already cried about having to do my job several times so I'm making the change once and for all.

I've been struggling to think of what area to get in to, and I'm now seriously considering accounting. I'm not keen on getting lots of study debt as I already have 3 degrees (one BSc and 2 MSc) in psychology so have plenty of debt thank you! grin
What I'm struggling with though is where to start! Accountancy seems to vast and the career options are so many which is really promising but I have no experience in the field. Can anyone help? I'm currently in an admin position in health research, have experience of mental health, research, admin but not maths.. I got an A in maths at A levels and that's the last time I used maths except for statistics in my courses and when doing research.

I'm very ambitious and would love to progress in a company and money does motivate me if I'm absolutely frank which is another reason why I left psychology. Would love anyone's input, how did you start, what's your current role and do you enjoy it?

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Norma27 Thu 23-Apr-20 15:16:53

I've just had my job offer withdrawn from a very big firm so not sure if now is the right time to change.

Howcanwehelp Thu 23-Apr-20 15:22:31

Are you ready to start at the bottom and work your way up? You will need to join either a company or practice as a junior and do AAT or similar, this will give you the level to do your accounting exams. It's normal to work and study at the same time so be prepared to lose your evenings and weekends. Approx 5 years to get qualified and then a few years post qualification to get experience and you can be on a decent salary.

cheekaa Thu 23-Apr-20 15:34:46

I qualified as a chartered accountant way back in the early eighties. If you would like to know more about how the training program works I am happy to answer your questions.
I however left the profession in the mid-90s to travel and set up my own business.

HforHavana Thu 23-Apr-20 16:51:11

Currently an Accounts Administrator.
Would an apprenticeship be an option? You can do an apprenticeship and gain your AAT which will then lead you to do CIMA or ACCA to become fully qualified. However definitely start with AAT.

chillikor Thu 23-Apr-20 17:01:44

I'm ACA qualified, I finished the three years in Sept 2019. Hard and a lot of work, however I feel very secure financially and in terms of job security.

I personally don't advise AAT, I think you should go for ACCA but look for a training program first. Probably best when lockdown ends!

trilbydoll Thu 23-Apr-20 20:40:51

Training is easier in a firm of accountants, they tend to be better with study leave etc. And lots of people who have been there before.

AAT is a good place to start if you are self funding but to be honest the foundation levels of ACCA/CIMA/ACA are about the same level and then you're on the way to a more prestigious qualification.

8elate8 Sun 26-Apr-20 11:46:40

@Howcanwehelp I'm more or less at the bottom now anyway so that won't make much of a difference. Absolutely prepared to lose my evenings and weekends, both me and my partner have discussed this and he is very supportive and encourages me to take the leap. Will be difficult with a small child but I view it as sacrifices now that will benefit us all in the future.

@cheekaa thank you for replying, would absolutely love to pick your brain! smile Very interesting that you have your own business too as that would be the absolutely dream. Is it in accounting or something unrelated? How was your path to qualifying?

@HforHavana Yes, it is a possiblity. I was under the impression you could go straight to doing CIMA or ACCA and not do AAT? I've studied for 5 years and have 3 degrees so would prefer to not over-study if possible. How are you finding being an accounts administrator?

@chillikor Thank you! Yes, I would prefer going straight to ACCA or CIMA if possible. Good shout, I'm not seeing a lot of recruitment at the moment and can imagine it is difficult to start a new job in a new field at the present times.

@trilbydoll thank you for your advice, will be looking at accountancy firms smile

How are/have people found flexible working hours when starting out? My partner is very hands on and will do majority of drop off and pick ups to nursery but I will have to do some too which usually mean leaving at 4. Have you found that you could leave at a certain time and pick up work again in the evenings. Anyone in senior positions/business owners, how would you view someone doing this? I would be committed but having a small child limit the amount of hours I could do in an office.

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Howcanwehelp Sun 26-Apr-20 11:54:00

Im a manger and would try to be as flexible as possible, however long hours are expected at certain points (month end, year end, budget time) as I'm a reporting commercial accountant so it's part of the role not to clock watch. This may restrict what you can do, however different accounting specialists might be more flexible. The further up the chain you go, the more flexibility there is, although I find this means working weekends when needed.

nicknamehelp Sun 26-Apr-20 11:55:42

Flexibility is easy with accountancy but in the early years may not be as easy due to the level of supervision you may require as there is a lot to learn. Working full time and doing the equivalent of another degree is not easy and depending on study package alot of remote/self learning. Yes there is a lot of career routes once qualified but its not an easy road.

Cacacoisfarraige Sun 26-Apr-20 12:04:29

I was a chartered accountant but trained through industry as I had absolutely no interest in audit.

I worked for a property company so worked on accounts, tax planning, legal (conveyancing, landlord issues) as well as financial (bond/currency swaps) during my articles period. This was different to the usual chartered accountancy route but more interesting for me.

If you’re interested in accountancy there are the branches of audit and industry. Companies and audit firms will sponsor people and put them through their graduate programs but I’m not sure if you will have missed them for this year.

Firms will take people with accountancy and sometimes non accountancy degrees (some of my contemporaries had law and engineering degrees).

Parker231 Sun 26-Apr-20 12:08:35

I did my ICAEW on a post grad training programme. Took three years whilst working full time. It was hard. I had an economics degree.

HforHavana Sun 26-Apr-20 14:03:53

@8elate8 with 3 degrees, it may be with going straight to ACCA/CIMA actually as you are clearly capable.
I am currently the only accounts staff in my company as we've had a bit of a rough time with accountants in the past few years (one stealing off the company, one being a bully and one not actually being competent) so I work really closely with an external accountant and have knowledge in all parts of the accounting process which is really helpful, so although I am an assistant, I am relied heavily on which I don't mind as I feel as though my job is secure.
I should say I work in Management rather than Practice so whichever you choose to do will impact on whether you do ACCA or CIMA.
I work in the construction industry and have only ever worked for the one employer so I can only comment so much on flexibility etc but from what I have heard, construction is quite old fashioned in the way they work. I work 8-5 Monday to Friday with little flexibility and WFH is forbidden except in the current climate.
However, I know people who work for a hotel and also the courts, both in accounts, and their employers are a lot more flexible, especially with childcare and family.
Honestly I think it just boils down to individual employers how flexible they are.

cheekaa Sun 26-Apr-20 19:01:26

@8elate8 just sent you a PM.

8elate8 Sun 26-Apr-20 19:42:35

Seems like flexibility is not as common/easy early on, like in many career paths then. I'm thinking I'm going to have to prove I'm hard working and reliable to get some flexibility for nursery pick ups/drop offs and/or hopefully get an understanding boss.

@Cacacoisfarraige audit does not seem very exciting to me but I don't know too much about it to make up my mind just yet. Your route is very interesting though! My degrees are in clinical and organisational psychology so completely unrelated.

@HforHavana I'm shocked at the bad luck you've had with other accountants! As far as I know CIMA is more for management accountancy route and ACCA for financial accountants? True about flexibility, although I do think companies will struggle to keep employees from being able to work from home after Covid-19.

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Kazzyhoward Mon 27-Apr-20 12:15:17

I personally don't advise AAT, I think you should go for ACCA but look for a training program first.

I agree with trying to by-pass AAT, but we've been looking at trainee/apprentice schemes for my son, and most default with AAT at first, presumably as it's more robust for the basics of book-keeping, payroll, VAT etc which isn't really covered in any great depth for ACCA/ICAEW, hence more useful in the workplace at entry level. So, I think employers want trainees to do AAT as that's more relevant to the work they'll be doing in the first couple of years, certainly in practice anyway. The OP may have better luck in going straight for ICAEW or CIMA in a commerical/industrial setting as a trainee/apprentice as that kind of workplace will have less need for the book-keeping basics.

8elate8 Mon 27-Apr-20 14:21:18

@kazzyhoward thank you for your insight, that's really helpful and I wasnt aware of that.

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