Experience please....

Brent.U Registered Posts: 11 Regular contributor ⭐ 😼 ⭐
Ok. I'm new here, but i'd like to pick all of your brains.....

I completed aat Foundation last December. Will complete Intermediate this December. Hope to go onto Technician next January.

My problem is that I have no proper accounting experience. I was made redundant last year and decided to study part time and look after my kids.

Eventually, may be not till next year, I will want a job but with no experience the qualification will be of little value.

I have looked into voluntary work but even they're not keen to let you loose on the financial side of things when you have no experience. I've written to local accountants; they're not interested.

So where or how do i get the valuable experience???

Any comments would be appreciated.


  • lork
    lork Registered Posts: 97 💫 🐯 💫
    I once employed someone who just had the AAT qualification but no accounts experience whatsoever, based on the fact that I liked them and knew they had the potential to learn. If you are prepared to start in a more junior role and can demonstrate to a potential employer your enthusiasm and willingness to learn, then someone will hire you. It may take a little while, especially in a recession, but you will get there. The key, I think, is applying for the right type of role in order to get an interview. Once you have the interview, you have the opportunity to sell yourself and convince them that you're the person they want/need.

    I did everything backwards - started in a junior role at the age of 19, with no career ambitions whatsoever, and learned on the job. It was only after working in various accounts roles for about 9 or 10 years that I decided that this was the career for me, and not just a job, so I started AAT. One exam to go and I'm done!
  • Brent.U
    Brent.U Registered Posts: 11 Regular contributor ⭐ 😼 ⭐
    Thanks for the suggestion, which roles would you suggest to look out for?? Ledger clerk?? Accounts Assistant??
  • lork
    lork Registered Posts: 97 💫 🐯 💫
    Yes, definitely. Something in purchase or sales ledger or accounts administration to start off with. It may not be the most interesting way to start but it will be experience and will provide a good grounding for the future. And you once you have your foot on the ladder, you never know what those jobs will lead to and what opportunities may open up for you. I once moved from purchase ledger into management accounts in one company after someone spotted my potential.

    Try looking at a few recruitment agency websites such as Reed and Hays to see what kind of roles are available and what skills those jobs require. It might be worth registering with a couple of them when you're ready to start looking for a job, as they can advise you and put you forward for suitable roles. I know not everyone is a fan of using agencies but I have had a good experience on the whole.

    And finally, good luck!
  • louise583
    louise583 Registered Posts: 3 New contributor 🐸
    I would definitely suggest registering with an agency such as Hays. Just by registering and going for an interview with an agency you immediately pick up tips on what to concentrate your CV on and things to be aware of.

    You didn't mention what you previously did. Can you pull out of your previous jobs accounting relevant experience. For example, if you were in charge of the petty cash? Did you have to make sure it balanced? Did you produce any invoices or process any purchase invoices?
    If you are currently at home, do you have a budget to work to each month? Basically, what in your everyday life can you put on your CV to demonstrate your accountancy understanding and willingness to learn and use of your skills.

    For every job you apply to I think you basically have to re-write your cv to highlight the areas the company specifies they need you to have experience in, so that they know you tick all the boxes they are looking for.

    I think also any voluntary work is beneficial as you never know who you'll meet through it.

    When I decided to get into accounts, I took a job as a secretary / accounts assistant. It was a small firm which had a part time accounts lady. She basically gave me the experience I needed and I eventually took over her job when she retired.

    Good luck.
  • TraceyD06
    TraceyD06 Registered Posts: 13 Regular contributor ⭐ 😼 ⭐
    I found that Nigel Lynne were really good. I was in the same boat having been a dog groomer for most of my working life before switching to the AAT. All other agencies near me didn't seem interested as I didn't have much experience but Nigel Lynne seemed really interested and got me a fab job. Definately give them a try!
    Good luck.
  • Brent.U
    Brent.U Registered Posts: 11 Regular contributor ⭐ 😼 ⭐
    That's great, thank you Lork, Louise and Tracey for your suggestions.

    So far I've found with voluntary work, as i said, people are a bit funny about letting you loose with the books when you tell them you've not done it before!!

    Regards agencies, I've contacted Reed and Hays before and they don't want to know you if you have no experience, having said that though, that was when i was doing foundation, may be they will be diferent now...they did say it was a consequence of the economic downturn however.

    I'll try Nigel Lynne, they're now called something else, can't remember what. Theire website is quite impressive.

    Would anyone reccomend trying it in self employment?? Starting off with friends , charging a little bit here and there and building it up with experience. There are question concerning insurance but do you really need PII. Has anyone got any ideas??

    Thanks again.
  • A-Vic
    A-Vic Registered Posts: 6,970
    Hi Brent

    Firstly good luck in the job hunting, but i will say you may struggle getting accounts assistant roles but working in practise i know doing the AAT will work in your favour.

    As for going self employed that i definiatley would not advise at this point. It is a long process getting in to this feild but before you attempt that you need a few years experience under your belt. Ive worked in practise for over 4 years and wouldn't attempt to go self employed untill at the very least become an MIP.

    Good luck for the future.

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