career change and all that malarky!!!

NewBoy Registered Posts: 2 New contributor ?
Ok, maybe a light hearted title but far from a light hearted person!!!

Situation is I am a 34 year old bloke, not so much a kid but like to think not quite an old fogey! On Friday i 'should' be signed on to AAT Level 3/intermediate. I am able to qualify for this entry, though my college require me to pass an exam due to previous employment and qualifications.

Up until Summer 2008 I had spent the majority of my career in financial services prominently as a mortgage broker. Lost my job and spent the last year working in factories while I work out what i want to do with my life. Qualification wise I also studied for HNC Business & Management a few years ago. Beginning of this year i decided i wanted to get back into finance and realise accounting was/is the way forward.

Back then in January onwards I intended to go to uni to study accountancy and financial management but due to losing my job in the factory that is open 24/7 which as far as decisions for the future and the amount of student debt i would incur this is not so much a bad thing. So I came to the conclusion AAT is the way forward and then on to full qualification like ACCA, CIMA and so on.

At the moment though I do not work in accountancy or anywhere near it and will no way with my current firm...its not that kind of company!! lol. Ideally I would prefer to work in the public sector as I value security and knowing that i'm getting on, a decent pension plus the perks in the future appeals. I am looking for jobs but nothing I come across, though i may be looking in the wrong places, to make me apply as it seems having no accountancy qualification or experience it seems to make it pointless. Though council wise i am considering various financial roles.

I suppose the reason I am putting this post up to a bunch of strangers is what I want to know is is it worth it?

I think it is. I know i am against people significantly younger than me and also realise it will be x amount of years before I earn a decent income. That does not worry me, i am a realist. Are everyone else on here all fairly young or some in similar position to me?

Suppose you could say i want/need someone to tell me i am doing the right thing.

Thanks for any help in advance:thumbup1:


  • Bluewednesday
    Bluewednesday Registered Posts: 1,624
    I started AAT when I was 32 and have done what you want to do!

    I cannot underestimate the value of getting some experience as soon as possible. You are often seeing people here and on other accountancy boards such as accountancy students where they are fully qualified but no work experience. As they have pointed out, they are really struggling to get entry positions now as employers assume they are just going to leave as soon as a better job comes along, but they are underexperienced for the more senior jobs.

    I started by getting some work experience (if you can find the time) and also by doing some voluntary work (treasurer of my son's pta) to boost up my CV.

    I left retail management to do this (via some unforseen circumstances) and expected to take a pay cut to start at the bottom again but started on more than I had left on! However I think that retail, even management, is not well paid but if you are on a lower wage at the moment then you can maybe afford to take the chance now rather than later?

    All in all I would start applying for any finance positions you can find, don't underestimate your worth as an 'experienced employee', you already have a proven track record and don't forget to stress your experience gained so far.

    Good luck and let us know how you get on.
  • blobbyh
    blobbyh Registered Posts: 2,415
    I was 36 when I started my Foundation course in 2004 with no accounts knowledge or experience and have never looked back since. Your age and experiences should be seen as benefits not hindrances and there's a wind of thought blowing through the country at the moment that older employees matter more than younger ones.

    Most of my working life had been in manufacturing before that, in various factory floor and office roles with a spell in retail management in the early 90's. Upon being made redundant yet again in 2004, I decided to retrain to obtain a true and transferrable life skill rather than just being "good at what I do/did" for just one or two niche companies. Thus I started with the AAT and I can assure you that you too will never regret it further down the line, in a few years time wherever you are, whatever you're doing.

    As for considering a Uni degree, I'd leave it at that - just consideration. There's a separate thread on that topic somewhere else on the forums but to reiterate from my own work experiences, AAT is more desirable than an accounting degree every single time.

    As Annette said above, keep in touch and let us know how you get on.
  • Kat82
    Kat82 Registered Posts: 6 Regular contributor ⭐ ? ⭐
    Hi, I can understand what you are saying, it can be hard deciding what to do!

    AAT can be used in all different types of work...from being an administrator to running your own business! So I would say go for it! Like others have said, you will not ever regret it as it can be used for all different things even if you decide not to go on and work in accounts. Most employers recognise it so they will appreciate the work you have put it to get it!

    You are never to old to make a change! :thumbup:
  • NewBoy
    NewBoy Registered Posts: 2 New contributor ?
    Hi, thank you for your replies:thumbup1:

    Well i got an email after work yesterday to say i had to sign up last night instead of Friday, so i did just that and now £877 lighter:laugh:

    So i start Tuesday night on level three for at least a fortnight so that i am not out of my depth. Looking forward to it and the future challenge.

    the uni idea, providing i kept my previous job was a definite possibility but thankful now i haven't got myself 10k plus in debt. Always wanted a degree:001_tongue:

    So yep, beginning of a new path in life and lets all hope it all works:thumbup:

    thanks again,

  • moneymotivated
    moneymotivated Registered Posts: 35 ? ? ?
    Best of luck with the future......

    I am only a baby at 22!, Done my A-levels and was accepted at uni but decided AAT was the right path for me. Why? I wanted to start earning some money, I wanted to start getting experiance straight away and getting into a lot of debt didn't appeal to me!

    4 years later I am AAT qualified and have completed 8 out of the 15 ACA exams. Doing the AAT gave me 4 exemptions and I had to do a top up paper instead of a full one for another so I normally say I got 4.5 exemptions!

    Another employee at my work, who went to uni and studied accountancy, only got a couple of exemptions so my point is by actually doing the AAT instead of uni means if you wanted to progress to ACA, CIMA etc. It actually works out quicker doing the AAT then going to uni!!!

    so I think you have made the right choice!!!! Best of luck.

  • JaffasGirl
    JaffasGirl Registered Posts: 387
    One thing i would suggest is, that if you really want a degree, study AAT then go on to do ACCA. With the ACCA, if you do one extra unit (a project on a business of your choice) then you get a Bsc in Applied Accounting.

    You then have two amazing and well thought of qualifications AND a degree - and best of all NO DEBT!!

    Hope that helps.
  • stevef
    stevef Registered Posts: 258 ? ? ?
    Noticed that you would prefer to work in the public sector. Unfortunately you have picked a bad time for that, local government generally is anticipating a 20% or more cut in our budgets over the next 3 to 5 years, in order to reduce the national debt. This will invariablly mean the loss of posts. However on the plus side, in times of financial restraint it is acknowledged that you need to have a fairly strong finance team.

    But, vacancies do come up reasonably regularly (but be prepared for much competition). When looking in addition to Councils, it is worth keeing an eye on Police Authorities, Fire and Rescue Services, Housing Associations and National Parks. Also, when looking at the larger Councils there are many finance roles outside the Finance department, these are often given non descript job titles such as admin assistant etc. It is worth looking at vacancies in all departments in the Councils, including schools.

    Regarding where to look, every major public body has a website where they post all vacancies (you can often download application forms and job descriptions, and with some Councils apply for jobs on line). So you need to identify the public sector employers you would like to work for and visit their websites daily.

    Other useful publications with local government job adverts:
    Local Government Chronical (weekly publication that should be available in libraries);
    CIPFA's mag - Public Finance (expensive weekly magazine, but also should be in the library, tends to be more senior posts)
    Accounting Age (a weekly magazine free to working accountants so may be difficult for you to source (but it is not as good as LGC and Public Finance)).
    The Accounting Technician magazine that you will get as a registered student.
    Local press.

    But the best place is websites, and visit often.

    Good hunting
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