Getting into accounting with no experience

dreaminginpink
dreaminginpink Registered Posts: 2 New contributor ?
Hi everyone,

Just wondering whether you could share your experiences of how you got into accounting - what position you started in at your company, how you got into your current role etc. I've been looking at getting into accounting for a while but am finding it hard to get into as all of the accounting positions I see advertised (and im only looking at junior/ trainee/ accounts admin positions) ask for accounts experience which I dont have!

I would like to go into accounting within a business rather than in an accounting firm and I would also like to study for AAT. I'm a graduate and i've worked in schools for 2 years which also doesnt help as its so unrelated! I've tried going to an agency but they seem to be trying to get me to apply for admin roles (probably again due to my lack of experience) which dont really have anything to do with accounts. Do you think that an admin role would help me to get a job in accounts by giving me valuable experience or would I be wasting more time do you think? Has anybody got into their current role through starting in admin? Im really eager to get started with an accounting career but just dont how how to go about getting a suitable job with no experience! Any feedback/tips would be really appreciated :)

Comments

  • C2XVT
    C2XVT Registered Posts: 62 ? ? ?
    I think alot of people working in accounts would have started at junior level. Unless ofcourse we look at graduates, who would be taken onto graduate programmes. Or students with academic pedigree.

    For instance, we've recently taken on a graduate who completed her degree in Geography last year. And she's been taken on as a financial analyst.
  • shawn michaels
    shawn michaels Registered Posts: 52 ? ? ?
    I started off by doing basic admin after gettting a maths degree then getting finance experience thorugh temp work. Develop those important skills such as numeracy, communication, teamwork. Study the AAT in your own time - I did night school and paid for it myself - and you will get a finance job. Most importantly start earning some money for yourself.
  • steveJ
    steveJ Registered Posts: 694
    Obviously any employer will be looking for experience, so if you cant get into an accountancy environment go for the next best thing and grab any type of job in an office. Any type of general office work just to give you the feel for an office and also to bolster your C.V this could possibly lead to working in the finance office of that company!
    I would also try to start studying straight away (you'll be surprised how quick the time goes when your studying! - Youll be a technician before you know it!).

    I was working on a production line for around 5 years before i started studying AAT . Once i started studying i started to notice more vacancies for office work appear ! Studying gave me the confidence to go for one of these jobs and now im working as a billing clerk in the finance office !! Ive only been doing this current job for about 3 months, but my boss as already said that she would love to try to get me funding for CIMA soon as i finish my AAT !!!!

    JUST KEEP ON GOING !! BUT GET STUDYING RIGHT AWAY !!!
  • blobbyh
    blobbyh Registered Posts: 2,415
    Steve, you're a damn fine example of someone going through the ranks of a large organisation, having been patient with your studies but taking your chance when it arrived. How's it going by the way and did you ever tell us what a billing clerk does?!!

    Breaking into accounts in a major organisation with little or no experience or applied knowledge is gonna be damn hard, better to consider joining the organisation in a different role and progressing from within. The bigger the entity, the bigger the accounts department, the more likely there'll be eventual vacancies opening up for those willing, able and ready to progress into them.
  • Marga
    Marga Registered Posts: 981
    blobbyh wrote: »
    Steve, you're a damn fine example of someone going through the ranks of a large organisation, having been patient with your studies but taking your chance when it arrived. How's it going by the way and did you ever tell us what a billing clerk does?!!

    Breaking into accounts in a major organisation with little or no experience or applied knowledge is gonna be damn hard, better to consider joining the organisation in a different role and progressing from within. The bigger the entity, the bigger the accounts department, the more likely there'll be eventual vacancies opening up for those willing, able and ready to progress into them.

    i think the best way to get into is by the sales department or purchasing department, then work your way up :)
  • steveJ
    steveJ Registered Posts: 694
    blobbyh wrote: »
    Steve, you're a damn fine example of someone going through the ranks of a large organisation, having been patient with your studies but taking your chance when it arrived. How's it going by the way and did you ever tell us what a billing clerk does?!!
    QUOTE]

    Ive been doing the job for about 4 months now working for transport operations (Ford Motor company) and have found out how to do the following:-

    Raise invoice requests
    Create a template from the request and upload onto system
    Clear suspense account
    Invoice the customer
    work with the recievables department on outstanding invoices

    I also attend finance meetings to see how the balance of the customers is so far, are they paying ? etc

    Its also great, as i can fill in my work experience on this site to go towards my full MAAT !!!! Yeeaaaahhhhhhhh

    What a difference to a year ago, working on a moving line listening to my ipod and studying on any possible piece of equipment around me...lol...(Ive got the comfort of a nice warm office to do that in now...lol)

    The next hard bit is moving from hourly paid to salary ?? dern dern derrnnnnnnnn .....
  • Marga
    Marga Registered Posts: 981
    steveJ wrote: »
    blobbyh wrote: »
    Steve, you're a damn fine example of someone going through the ranks of a large organisation, having been patient with your studies but taking your chance when it arrived. How's it going by the way and did you ever tell us what a billing clerk does?!!
    QUOTE]

    Ive been doing the job for about 4 months now working for transport operations (Ford Motor company) and have found out how to do the following:-

    Raise invoice requests
    Create a template from the request and upload onto system
    Clear suspense account
    Invoice the customer
    work with the recievables department on outstanding invoices

    I also attend finance meetings to see how the balance of the customers is so far, are they paying ? etc

    Its also great, as i can fill in my work experience on this site to go towards my full MAAT !!!! Yeeaaaahhhhhhhh

    What a difference to a year ago, working on a moving line listening to my ipod and studying on any possible piece of equipment around me...lol...(Ive got the comfort of a nice warm office to do that in now...lol)

    The next hard bit is moving from hourly paid to salary ?? dern dern derrnnnnnnnn .....

    Credit control or sales ledger would be the best move in my opinion or even credit assessment?
  • A-Vic
    A-Vic Registered Posts: 6,970
    [QUOTE=steveJ;


    The next hard bit is moving from hourly paid to salary ?? dern dern derrnnnnnnnn .....[/QUOTE]


    No thats the good bit try reverting back to horly pay now that messes up your head
  • dreaminginpink
    dreaminginpink Registered Posts: 2 New contributor ?
    Thanks for the advice everyone, its all really helpful! I think ill go down the route of trying to find an admin type job that has some aspects of accounts to it and then go from there hopefully! Accounting does seem to be very difficult to get into with no real office experience to speak of so i think this will be my best option. I think ill also start looking into studying the first year of AAT in my own time, then hopefully by this time next year I'll have some useful experience plus I'll be part-qualified so hopefully will stand a better chance when applying for accounts positions. I think I'll try to get into a large organisation if i can too because as mentioned, there will probably be more opportunities to progress than in a smaller place. Thanks everyone, its really useful to get some advice from people who are actually studying AAT and working in accounts environments, all of the careers info I've read about accounting make it seem really easy to get a junior position and i was beginning to wonder where i was going wrong!
  • snoepneus
    snoepneus Registered Posts: 2 New contributor ?
    I started as a Purchase ledger clerk, was promoted to controller, started studying AAT, and are almost qualified. applied for a management accounting job within the company, and got in, is starting in the new roll on the first.
  • Claire321
    Claire321 Registered Posts: 209 ? ? ?
    Thanks for the advice everyone, its all really helpful! I think ill go down the route of trying to find an admin type job that has some aspects of accounts to it and then go from there hopefully!

    I would suggest maybe looking for an accounts administrator job. They are often open to people with office/admin experience or sometimes training is given. It would be a great way to get some admin experience but in an accounts department. You could then see if you could gain some more accounts like tasks and gain a bit of experience
  • PGM
    PGM Registered Posts: 1,954
    An admin role is more relevant than many positions.

    I started by doing some admin, then worked voluntarily in an accounts department doing basic entry and filing.

    Been slow progress and lots of study over the last 10 years.
  • AK002
    AK002 Registered Posts: 2,492
    I started at an accountancy firm as a school leaver. Was only asked in for 3 weeks to help move boxes around etc and it's progressed on from there..

    So far in the 3 years that i've been here (longest 3 weeks of my life^^ lol) i've been..

    Did admin work for the insolvency dept
    Admin work for the accounts dept
    Covered reception etc

    Then 1 year in i requested to be moved into the audit & accounts dept and trained up...

    So 2 years later here I am.. sitting my final 2 Technician exams in June..
  • A-Vic
    A-Vic Registered Posts: 6,970
    PGM wrote: »
    An admin role is more relevant than many positions.

    I started by doing some admin, then worked voluntarily in an accounts department doing basic entry and filing.

    Been slow progress and lots of study over the last 10 years.

    Totally agree i think a large majority fall in to finance starting off in admin i know i did 5 years ago on monday i started as a pratise administrator and now still same job title but total different role.
  • Luflux
    Luflux Registered Posts: 52 ? ? ?
    I started off as a payroll admin 3 years ago and using my experience there applied for a job in Finance a year later. Any experience you feel you can promote when applying for a finance role is a good start. So if at first you find it difficult to get into a finance related role, look for a role you can build upon.

    Ive known buying admins move to the finance team and using their experiences are now training to become qualified accountants. Maybe you could approach it like this?
  • Monsoon
    Monsoon FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,071 ? ? ?
    A-Vic wrote: »
    Totally agree i think a large majority fall in to finance starting off in admin i know i did 5 years ago on monday i started as a pratise administrator and now still same job title but total different role.

    Yep, I got interested in accounts from an admin role, which was basically a numerical data entry role calculating invoices and raising them on Sage. 6 and a bit years later I'm running an accountancy firm. Eeeeek! :lol:
  • A-Vic
    A-Vic Registered Posts: 6,970
    Monsoon wrote: »
    Yep, I got interested in accounts from an admin role, which was basically a numerical data entry role calculating invoices and raising them on Sage. 6 and a bit years later I'm running an accountancy firm. Eeeeek!

    and chicken farmer too :lol: ?????
  • sunshine2010
    sunshine2010 Registered Posts: 45 ? ? ?
    payroll junior to start

    I started as a payroll assistant told my bosses i wanted to do more finace than payroll and been here 3 years now and i only have 2 exams to go.

    I now am the accounts assistant i started with no experience and as a school leaver.
  • Klrobo
    Klrobo Registered Posts: 5 Regular contributor ⭐ ? ⭐
    I started as an administrator within a small not for profit funded company. You have to learn quick and work twice as hard, wearing many different hats. I embraced the challenge and learn't a great deal of skills inlcuding basic book keeping and sage alongside studying. When I was made redundant I highlighted the book keeping/sage on my CV and quickly found work within a larger charity as Finance Manager on a decent salary. Again I've had to learn quick as I now do full payroll, vat and everything related to preparation of accounts barring the audit. I'd say it's taken about 6 years to get where I am now, I'm still learning new things and enjoy the variety of the role even on the stressful days. Look into paid charity/voluntary opportunities, it's not always fashionable, but they're a great place to learn new skills, work alongside down to earth people whilst carrying out a good cause. Good Luck
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