Retrain as an accountant

(10 Posts)
ThisIsNotARealAvo Thu 04-Jun-20 22:49:07

DH fancies a career change and is wondering what it's like to retrain as an accountant at the age of 40. He has a degree (in Psychology) and A level Maths.

He has previously worked in sales, betting shops and the print industry, and has been a SAHD for the last 4 years. Is he barking up the wrong tree? I think he'd be good at it as he is very good at things that need great attention to detail as well as maths. Does he have a hope in hell of changing career to this?

OP’s posts: |
Pineapplemonkey Thu 04-Jun-20 23:46:57

No reason why not however there are a lot of professional exams to take and they are pricey. If he got a job where they pay for the training (And I believe these are difficult to get with a lot of competition), the pay would be very low, even if he paid himself, the job would still be low paid as he would be unqualified.

To qualify as an accountant, you have to work in finance of some kind so you can’t keep a well paying non finance job and just study part time, it wouldn’t work. So he’d have to resign himself to low pay for a number of years at least if he wanted to make the move.

The amount of evening/weekend study would also be immense, definitely don’t underestimate that (usually around 15-20 hrs minimum).

It won’t hurt obviously being good at maths but it definitely isn’t the most important thing. IT skills, common sense and communication skills I think are far more important along with attention to detail and the ability to interpret data.

Hope this helps, from a qualified accountant who scraped a C in maths at GCSE, and has a pretty good and relatively highly paying career!

ThisIsNotARealAvo Fri 05-Jun-20 06:59:52

Thank you so much, this is really helpful!

OP’s posts: |
Hoppinggreen Fri 05-Jun-20 11:15:24

Not an Accountant, but I do work with them
His best bet might be trying to find a low level job within an Accountancy practise and go from there. Unfortunately I wouldn’t imagine that’s going to be easy given his current situation and past experience

CorianderLord Fri 05-Jun-20 12:05:02

It's hard, I'll say that.Dp qualified last year with a top four firm and it was long long hours, some very boring tasks and a lot of pressure.

He worked till midnight often during busy season.

jayritchie Sat 13-Jun-20 09:49:37


I've known a few people who have done something like your husband is considering. These were men who had left the forces and were looking for a new career, or who had worked in trades and needed something more office based for health reasons.

There might be possibilities for apprenticeship type training. The availability of such roles seems to vary a lot based on location in the country. You could also look into the cost of self studying ACCA or CIMA for the first few exams. This is the route many (most?) people take and it doesnt have to cost a fortune.

Itsallthedramamick Sat 13-Jun-20 20:57:48

The qualifications take significant effort and time. They are also quite expensive. To qualify you also need a minimum of 3 years experience and you have to hit certain targets signed off by someone qualified, so it isn't something you can just study and qualify from home, then get a job. Salary varies greatly depending on industry; in accounts practice you really aren't that highly paid. In the finance department of a large company you can earn very well if you progress. Maths doesn't really help much.

Toomanycats99 Sat 13-Jun-20 21:06:18

I g Th hi I he needs to decide what area of accounting he is interested in as there are several strands. AAT is the basic entry level but probably not appropriate so much at his age. I would also worry that a lot of the low level tasks in accounting are moving towards robotics.

Then there is a choice of CIMA/ ACCA / ACA. I think at a high level CIMA is more geared to working in business - possible not even in a straight accounting role. ACCA can be geared more towards practice / tax / audit. I think there is also CIPFA which I think is more public sector.

Although I am qualified accountant the idea of audit & tax bores me stupid and it would be my worst nightmare - accounting has a very broad spectrum of roles and he should possibly research area to guide his choice of study.

Kat92 Tue 28-Jul-20 06:32:44

I studied Psychology at Uni (dropped out and got a HND lol) but I started studying AAT whilst working in Accounts Payable.
My starting salary was low-ish (circa 20k) but now I am an Assistant Accountant and am on Level 4 and am on about 30k which i am personally happy with. I have studied AAT a mixture of evenings, weekends and remote learning so it's always been possible for me to work whilst studying.
I have self funded but I believe it may be possible to get a student loan too - I dont know the details but I am sure one of my mates on my AAT 3 course did that.

DancingDog Tue 28-Jul-20 20:13:55

Hi I run an ICAEW accountancy practice with 12 staff. Trained in large mid-tier (insolvency) did ACCA and CPI then moved to big 4 (forensic accounting) before joining a small practice and progressing to partner did CTA and the exam of experience to convert to ICAEW so can answer questions on most exams grin. Have 14 staff including ACA, AAT and ATT trainees.

I really would advise against self studying without a training contract, it is expensive and as an employer I wouldn’t hire someone who has self-studied as you need to do the work experience to qualify. The ACA you can’t do without a training contract.

In terms of study it is hard work, you get time off to study but would need to do c15-20 hours a week outside of this to pass the exams and more for the higher levels. I think I did about 600 hours outside college per exam for CTA and only just passed.

Our ACA trainee earns £18k a year and I expect to pay c£28-30 once qualified (small northern town). AAT qualified we pay c£20-23k.

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