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olivia Registered Posts: 13 Regular contributor ⭐ ? ⭐
Hi all, just looking some advice, I am thinking about going out on my own my background is that I finished my exams about two and half years ago while in another career. I then got a role in practice as a trainee, I have spent the last two years working towards my chartered qualification but with having three small children and with the long hours expected of you plus the study I have struggled to cope with the demand. I have now decided to take a step back from this and with my AAT qualification and the experience I have gained over the past two years would be interested on going out on my own. Some people have said that I am mad to take this step, but for me personally its a relief and have handed in my notice. I have the option of maybe getting a job elsewhere as a bookkepper or maybe finance assistant just to gain more experience before thinking of becoming a MIP. I know there are similar threads to mine, but I would like to here from anyone who maybe was in a similar position to myself and how have they coped. Any feedback would be welcomed.




  • burg
    burg Moderator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,441
    I wasn't necessarily in the same position to you but I had some similarities.

    I studied AAT whilst at a firm of chartered accountants and went on to do ACCA. I was unhappy at the firm as my willingness to work hard and progress wasn't being noticed and to a degree I was being held back my office politics and staff who had no interest in progressing.

    I looked around for a while but nothing seemed to be about at the time that I fancied. I had always wanted to set up my own firm but wasn't sure if the time was right. I then found another role that seemed great but they were going through a lot of change. Even though they had said they wanted me, six months passed with them still saying something will happen soon.

    I decided to leave the security of employment and take my wifes bookkeeping company a step further using my accounts prep and tax experience. My current firm told me I was stupid to not only leave employment but also stop studying ACCA but good luck. A week before my notice was up the potential new employer came back with a job offer. I told them what I had done and that I had now made my mind up. They struggled to see why I didn't want to work with them. They blatantly told me I was stupid and that it wouldn't work!

    I made sure I had roles set up before I left employment that meant I could last a year with no other income before I would need a job of some sort. I was confident with the ideas I had that it would work.

    Things worked out well for me. The practice has grown to over 4 times the client base in the last year. We are currently taking on a part-time employee and I have made the short-list for Accountancy Age AAT Accounting Technician of the Year 2010.

    However even though it can be done it doesn't mean it will work for everyone. I was confident it would work but I was also prepared for failure. It would have hurt my pride but I would have gone back to my old employer for a job should I have needed to.

    I also have three small children and a fourth on the way so I understand what the pressures are of having a family to support. This is even more the reason to think about what you are doing and how it will work. Taking the decision to stop studying may be wise if you feel the pressure is too much. However running your own business brings it's own pressures. As I'm sure you are aware things don't just happen overnight. It takes lots of time and effort to get your first clients. Even then you might only have a few hours chargeable work to do per week but you also need to spend nearly the same amount on marketing the practice. Whether that be arranging adverts, networking (face to face and on-line) or simply doing admin.

    Although I've done well over the last year it has taken a great deal of time and effort.

    Only you really know if you can make it work and even then it still may not. Ensure that whatever decision you make you are happy with and won't regret. You may even decide to do something part-time alongside another job for a while to see how things go? With this though bare in mind that it's part time and things are a lot slower. Our bookkeeping business was very slow for the first 3 years when it was just part time.

    I apologise for such a long post but hopefully it helps you in making the right decision for you.

  • acsacsacs
    acsacsacs Registered Posts: 43 ? ? ?
    It is very very difficult getting established but often one client leads to another and then another etc etc. Word of mouth is key.

    Keep with it!

    My business is still in very early days but I always ensure I have enough work completed to pay my wages,bills for 3 months so if it all stopped tomorrow I would effectively have 3 months, prob more like 4-5 woth extra bits and bobs to find a job.
  • bumblebee
    bumblebee Registered Posts: 135 ? ? ?
    Hi Olivia, I might have some similarity in situation with yours.

    I completed my AAT about 7 year ago while working for chartered accountancy practice. However, despite completing AAT there was no appreciation from my boss.

    Anyway, decided to progress doing ACCA, and realised that I cant cope working full time with family and on top my mum-in-law had a stroke recently, she needs some attention and caring, so, I came to conclusion to stop ACCA (which i wasnt going anywhere anyway), and make the most of my AAT qualification which I never thought of it before and i am now a MIP. Although still working towards things to fall in place while in full time employment (wish i was able to leave work but cannot take that risk atleast for now). Planning to obtain few clients to start with, i am aware of the risks of being self employed, and believe 'where there is a will there is a way'.

    I believe that whatever decision you make, be sure about it and stick with it and i am sure things will fall in place and you will make your way through with ease. That is what I am doing now.

    Last, but not least, i have found AAT forum really great way to communicate where lots of effort is put from individuals trying to help and give advice even for silly thoughts that you might not be sure about!

    Go ahead, and good luck.
  • olivia
    olivia Registered Posts: 13 Regular contributor ⭐ ? ⭐
    Thank you all for your comments and Ian good luck with the award.

  • burg
    burg Moderator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,441
    Thank you kindly. Best of luck with your decisions

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