Could I apply for an Assistant Accountant role? Advice needed

geek84geek84 Trusted RegularMAAT Posts: 541
Good Morning Folks

I work as a credit controller for a large organization and studying the AAT level 4.

There has now arisen an internal vacancy within that organization for an assistant accountant. I have read the job description and a lot of the tasks stated seem to be beyond my work experience.

So, do you think I shouldn't apply for this role or do you think I should still apply for it (the worst they can do is reject my application!)

In all honesty, after completing my AAT studies, should I apply for 'lower level' jobs such as accounts assistant roles before going on to apply for assistant accountant roles?

Thanks in advance for your responses.
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Comments

  • SamiHSamiH Well-Known Registered Posts: 179
    Good morning :)

    I don't see why you shouldn't apply. I also work for a large PLC company and they seem to like recruiting accountants from within rather than externally. I have only just completed Level 3, and they have told me that an assistant accountant role will be available for me towards the end of the year.

    Go for it, you have nothing to lose :)
  • Jo ClarkJo Clark Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,526
    geek84 wrote: »
    So, do you think I shouldn't apply for this role or do you think I should still apply for it (the worst they can do is reject my application!)

    Hello Manjinder

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Like you say, the worst they can do is reject your application - but it will show your interest and that you wish to progress.


    JC
    ~ An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest ~
    Benjamin Franklin
  • FolanderFolander Feels At Home Registered Posts: 50
    Hi,

    I went from level 3 into an Assistant Accountant role and it wasn't a problem. Think of the advantages you have over external candidates. You know the company, you have been referenced already to get your credit job, you know the IT systems and more importantly the accounting package used. There are things you will not know how to do but training is always given, if your company gave the job to someone qualified they would still need to train that person in the processes the company use.
    Your Finance dept will be impressed you are studying off your own bat and hiring you over someone external saves them loads of money in agency fees, a huge advantage for you.

    I say apply and if interviewed stress how eager you are to learn and are looking to stay long term to build knowledge and experience. Employers want people who stay long term, they don't like this interviewing and training up lark.

    They can't not give you the job. Good luck!
  • geek84geek84 Trusted Regular MAAT Posts: 541
    Hi folks

    Many thanks for your replies.

    However, as I quoted in my first email - I have read the job description and a lot of the tasks stated seem to be beyond my knowledge & work experience. So apart from getting rejected, do you think the employer may think that I am being a bit of a 'joker' in applying for this job & wasting their time?

    Thanks
  • janwaljanwal Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 1,189
    Hi Manjinder

    What kind of tasks are the asking for I would have thought most of them will have been covered in AAT somehow, you may not have the experience but isn't this the kind of job we should be aiming for.

    Good luck

    Jan
  • katsutlieffkatsutlieff Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 459
    What tasks are listed in the job description? I think you should go for it, w inhy would they think you are a joker for showing ambition. You are studying which shows a willingness to learn
  • geek84geek84 Trusted Regular MAAT Posts: 541
    Hi Folks

    Once again, many thanks indeed for your kind replies. The overwhelming decision seems to be that I should apply for this role, and that is probably what I will do when I go to work on Monday morning!

    However, I just have a further 2 questions (sorry)

    1. I only started working for this company last Monday. So, do you think it is a bit too early for me to start applying for internal jobs within that company?

    2. My current team leader might get upset and get the wrong idea i.e. she may think I was just using this credit control position to get my foot through the door. Since I am only temping at the company (I'm not a permanent member of staff), she might decide to get rid of me. So, is this a chance worth taking?

    And once again, thanks in advance for your replies.
  • FolanderFolander Feels At Home Registered Posts: 50
    I think this changes everything and now puts you at an disadvantage for this job. Do you know if you are even allowed to apply internally, being a temp? Where I work you must be in your position for at least 12 months before you can switch. Being there since Monday you don't really know the company, IT systems and the company would need to pay your agency if you were to get the job.

    To be honest I wouldn't apply but speak to your team leader about it. If she is happy about it, apply. If she isn't happy, you could be out of a job!
  • RinskeRinske Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,453
    Really Folander?

    I don't think it changes everything. I still say go for it, as you only got a temp position and wanting a permanent job is not a bad thing.

    I'm not sure, but if the closing date is a few weeks away, maybe wait till the closing date, so you have been there for a while longer, but if not, apply anyways!
  • FolanderFolander Feels At Home Registered Posts: 50
    I think being a temp that has only been there a week you risk ruining your relationship with your team leader and your agency should the company complain about them sending a wannabe Assistant Accountant and not a credit controller like they requested.

    This might not be want you want to hear and I hope you do get an Assistant Accountant role in future but this my honest opinion. I would recommend that you don't apply, stay working in credit and build up your experience in the company and hopefully become permanent. Then discuss career prospects with your manager and then apply for any future roles.
  • geek84geek84 Trusted Regular MAAT Posts: 541
    Hi folks

    Many thanks for your kind advice. I am also thinking of not applying particularly because I have only been there for a week and only getting to know the basics of the system they use - which is SAP.

    Also, the team leader may think I was just uing the credit control position to get my foot through the door. There is also the issue of whether or not temps can apply for internal vacancies.

    So, after considering everything, I am thinking of not applying unless some of you kind folks out there advice otherwise?
  • blobbyhblobbyh Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,415
    I mostly agree with Folander. Considering the very short amount of time you've been there added to the fact that you don't yet know how to use the SAP system (which is horrendous!) and that you don't currently have the skills to do the job in question, I wouldn't apply for it either. You need more training and experience in just about all the required areas. One of the things our own consultants tell me most, is how aggravated HR people get when candidates - who are clearly underskilled - lack self awareness by applying for jobs way beyond their capabilities. It wastes everyone's time. This is why many professional companies choose to use recruitment agencies rather than employing via direct advertising where they would personally have to sort through hundreds or even thousands of unsuitable CV's.

    Be patient, do your current role well enough to get noticed and if you stay at the company for a decent length of time while your AAT training simultaneously improves, you may have a shout for a future position. Plus, if your current employer cannot get anyone internally, they may eventually use the same agency that sent you so keep an eye out.
  • SashaDellaSashaDella Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 362
    My vote APPLY!! If you want permanent employment and like the company your working in currently then thats perfect!

    Your team leader would not be allowed to fire you over your application and i'm sure she would be happy for you to apply seen as its within the company!

    What rules would there be against applying internally would only apply if the job was ONLY for internal candidates. If its advertised externally as well then you have every right to apply.

    If it were me I would aim high and apply... and if you don't get the work talk to management about any other permanent vacancies!
  • James PattersonJames Patterson Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 281
    You have to get into your desired role somehow, and this is a slightly advantaged option rather than applying whilst being unemployed.

    I think you should verbally run it by your team manager, as communication is pretty important, if they don't see a problem or urge you to apply then do it.

    In terms of being underskilled, you will be trained and pick up the skills necessary and thats going to happen going into a new role, i think focus on your skills that you do have and try to suggest that you're keen to learn (i mean like hard working etc.)

    Whats the worst that could happen?
  • blobbyhblobbyh Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,415
    In terms of being underskilled, you will be trained and pick up the skills necessary and thats going to happen going into a new role...

    Sorry but that's such a forum cliche. While a company will always offer an induction program to mould a new employee into their particular way of doing things, it's not the same thing as offering full on training and no assumption should be made that they will unless it's advertised upfront. If a role calls for an experienced accountant, assistant or otherwise, it's rightfully assumed that you already have the skills suitable to slot straight into the role with maybe just a little company branding.

    Unless a position is advertised as "trainee", take it as written that they want someone already capable of doing the tasks required with minimal training. If a steelworks wants a qualified arc welder, they're not looking for someone who was just a bit handy at metal work in college. Same goes for accountancy.
  • James PattersonJames Patterson Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 281
    My understanding is that in an assistant role, you will receive general assistance after starting the job to get to grips and understand systems and procedures etc. I would have thought this would come under some form of training in the first few weeks but if i am wrong then i hold my hands up.
  • geek84geek84 Trusted Regular MAAT Posts: 541
    Hi folks

    Many thanks for your kind replies. I think you kind folks out there have changed my mind - I wil go to work tomorrow and talk with my current team leader about applying for the job.

    James Paterson has stated in his reply - what's the worst that could happen?

    My answer to this would be my present team leader could get upset since I have only been in this temp credit control job for a week & she might think that I am using them in that I have picked up the basics to the systems they use, and now want to move on!
  • FolanderFolander Feels At Home Registered Posts: 50
    Good luck!

    Let us know how you get on.
  • geek84geek84 Trusted Regular MAAT Posts: 541
    Will do.
  • RinskeRinske Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,453
    My understanding is that in an assistant role, you will receive general assistance after starting the job to get to grips and understand systems and procedures etc. I would have thought this would come under some form of training in the first few weeks but if i am wrong then i hold my hands up.

    Sorry, but I disagree with this.

    Being an assistant accountant doesn't mean you will receive general assistance or training.

    It really depends on the company, their expectations, expected role and experience of the person.

    Good luck Geeky :) Hope you get a positive answer!
  • geek84geek84 Trusted Regular MAAT Posts: 541
    Thanks
  • James PattersonJames Patterson Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 281
    As i said if i am wrong then i hold my hands up
  • blobbyhblobbyh Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,415
    My understanding is that in an assistant role, you will receive general assistance after starting the job to get to grips and understand systems and procedures etc. I would have thought this would come under some form of training in the first few weeks but if i am wrong then i hold my hands up.

    An assistant position should never be automatically implied to mean the same as trainee. In Geek's example, they might receive advice on how the organisation treats their month end accounts but they won't be trained on the underpinning knowledge of how an accrual or prepayment works in the real world. That core knowledge will already be assumed. An Assistant will often simply mean they will do some of the less important workload of the senior person, not that they will be trained in how to do the work they are given.

    Unless on the job training - which is not the same as being inducted into an organisation - is specifically mentioned in the job advert, naturally assume by default it won't be and you would be expected 'to hit the ground running'.
  • James PattersonJames Patterson Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 281
    So in terms of this position, if you aren't skilled enough for the job and they won't train you, it seems pointless applying anyway also they will just reject the application.
  • blobbyhblobbyh Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,415
    Generally, if a position is advertised as "Trainee assistant xxx", then you will be offered on the job training and expected to grow into the role - but you may still be required to possess some initial skills. If it's not advertised as trainee and the job spec has lots of things you can't do - and training isn't offered - and/or wants someone with experience that you don't have, yes it would be pointless applying.

    Can applying for a job way beyond your abilities hurt you? Yes it can... no-one wants an HR person or department manager ridiculing them behind closed doors and you should want to be remembered for the right reasons, not the wrong ones.
  • SashaDellaSashaDella Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 362
    Go from the job description... Im named as a finance assistant and im level 2.

    You can't assume anything about a role JUST from the title. Read the job description and if it sounds suitable apply.
  • geek84geek84 Trusted Regular MAAT Posts: 541
    Hi folks

    Just to give you an update on this -

    I went into work this morning and the first thing I did was have a chat with my tem leader about the possibility of apllying for the assistant accountant role. She said the internal jobs are not open to temps for the time being. The reason being that they are in the middle of a merger with another company and there are going to be voluntary and compulsary redundancies on both sides in the next few months. However, by lunh time, she said she gave me the wrong info earlier and that in fact temps can apply for internal jobs.

    Afer hearing that, I rang the HR dept only to be told the closing date was 10th Aug! Apparently, the job has been advertised for 2 weeks - last week was the 2nd week, and last was my 1st week at work! Unfortunately, I did not have any knowledge of the vacancy until 10th Aug, when I had access to emails at work.

    So, after all the that, it was a bit of an anti climax, but I have been told that vacancies appear on the bulletin virtually every day. So, I will definitely keep a look out for further opportunities and I wiuld just like to say a big thank you to all those people who gave valuable advice and contributed to this thread
  • blobbyhblobbyh Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,415
    Unlucky but at least you've got yourself noticed without ruffling feathers... an important first step.
  • geek84geek84 Trusted Regular MAAT Posts: 541
    Well, yes. That is one way of looking at it.
  • FolanderFolander Feels At Home Registered Posts: 50
    Hard luck Geeky, at least your line manager was open and receptive with you.
    You're with a big company now, jobs come up all the time and the longer you're there the more people you'll know across departments and you'll get to know SAP which is a transferable skill. It'll all work out.
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