I need advice

hmashman Registered Posts: 6 New contributor 🐸

I feel I need to talk to someone to help me on the correct path with some good sound advice.

I passed my AAT 4 years ago, and not progressed very far. I applied for jobs in my local council (they are the biggest local employer in my town) when ever it required AAT, and didn't get them. Then 2 years ago I managed to get into the council as a admin clerk, which I saw as a foot in the door.

So far onlyone job has come up that requires AAT which I got an interview for, but didn't get.

I feel very out of touch with the AAT, and as now the CPD are compulsory I don't know wheither to renew my membership get on board with CPD, and as part of my CPD update myself with AAT, or perhaps do a SAGE bookkeeing and Payroll course so that I might be able to be a selfemployed bookeeper/payroll person for small business.

Or to try and do CIFTA, or CIMA if they are possible by distance learning, at these seem to be more for local authority. (I'm not really keen to do more training as it's expensive and also I found that the AAT was hard enough for me.

I also feel I should mention that I'm in my fifty's and don't drive.



  • sheelagh
    sheelagh Registered Posts: 133 Dedicated contributor 🦉

    You sound somewhat frustrated with your career and you mention lots of issues in your post.
    1) Working for the council. Do you like working for the council and do you want to stay there? Consider the likelihood of a suitable position becoming available - how big is the department, how high is the staff turnover, do they know you want to work in the finance department?
    If the council can't offer you the kind of job you are looking for, maybe you could try looking at other opportunities.
    Also, does your employer pay your membership fee, or will they? Will they also help financially if you want to attend any AAT courses?
    2) CPD - the spirit of CPD is that you identify and fulfil your training needs. If you follow the process and find you don't need any training, then that's fine - in order to satify your membership obligations you have to show that you have followed the process. That said, you might decide to read any relevant articles or do some internet research to help keep your knowledge up to date.
    3) Self employed bookkeeeper. Please don't consider this unless you have experience. No offence, but there are already too many people out there with a certificate or qualification and no experience. Small businesses appoint bookkeepers because they either don't understand or don't have time to look after the day to day accounting function. These clients will rely heavily on you to know what you are doing and to overcome problems on your own. If you have no experience, you will have a mountain to climb every day and you might even take some very bad (and costly) falls.
  • Jan
    Jan Registered Posts: 654 Epic contributor 🐘
    I too passed my AAT 4 years ago, hit the big 50 this year and have not perhaps progressed as far as I could, so perhaps can sympathise with how you are feeling. I'm not sure though if you are unhappy in your present job or that you feel you haven't made the best of gaining your hard earned qualification. A bit of both perhaps?

    It is more difficult to get a job in accounts if you haven't got experience (the old chicken and egg story) and I gather you didn't have any before you started AAT, but don't let one disappointment make you give up. As Sheelash says, let your employers know you are interested in working in finance, look out for other jobs out there. Be warned though, you may have to start at the bottom and work your way up which could mean a drop in salary. Can you afford to do that? And in these uncertain financial times, is it a good time to move from a secure job?

    CPD - try to go on the CPD workshop, they are free, and explain all about the new policy. I found it useful. The latest dates were in the last Accounting Tecnician. Or do a search on the forums - I mentioned them a few weeks ago.

    I do agree with the point Sheelagh made about becoming a self employed bookkeeper, by doing a Sage and Payroll course. OK, learn more about using Sage as it may help you gain experience in another job, but you really do need to know what you are doing, before you are let loose ALONE looking after someone's books. I've been a bookkeeper for over 10 years, been soley responsible for the finance aspect of a couple of small businesses, yet have always had the support of an external accountant if I felt I needed it.

    Be honest with yourself - are you just feeling now that you are in your 50's that maybe you could have achieved more? If the opportunities haven't come your way yet, don't despair, we can't all be high powered accountants. (And some of us are content to be lowly, but good bookkeepers :001_tt2:)

    Don't know if this was what you wanted to hear!
  • Monsoon
    Monsoon Registered Posts: 4,071 Beyond epic contributor 🧙‍♂️
    Jan, there is nothing lowly about a good bookkeeper. Us accountants LOVE you! The ideal year-end job is a perfect TB with easy-to-work-through nominals. Good bookkeepers make this happen. You are invaluable!

    Hmashman, I don't have much extra to add from what's already been said, but good luck and keep thinking positive :)
  • hmashman
    hmashman Registered Posts: 6 New contributor 🐸
    Thanks to all who took the time to respond, I will take on board what you've said, I'm probably frustrated at my situation, and although quite happy in my Admin job I do feel I've got a lot more to offer, and that life is passing me by.

  • Jan
    Jan Registered Posts: 654 Epic contributor 🐘
    I do feel I've got a lot more to offer, and that life is passing me by.

    You're not alone in feeling that, don't be too hard on yourself.

    This may sound rather corny, but have you tried voluntary work and as well as increasing your self worth you don't know where it could lead! It was how I got into this game. Are there any clubs/organistions that you or your family are involved with that you could help out with? They are often crying out for a treasurer.
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