progression from Accounts Payable

dsavickij Registered Posts: 37 πŸ’« 🐯 πŸ’«
I have been working in AP for 6 months now and to be honest it is pretty dull and boring. Same thing over and over. What sort of progression is there? I am about to finish the AAT in January and will study for either CIMA or ACCA, my work is willing to pay for the studies. Just wondering what jobs I could be applying for after a few CIMA/ACCA exams?

I am currently running the purchase ledger, going the cheque runs, petty cash, cheque request ect, this takes up 2/3 days the other 2 days i do small projects on the side, sort of finance related, but not really - rolling out of new mobile phones for all staff for example.

Thanks in advance


  • ExcelAnt
    ExcelAnt Registered Posts: 80 πŸ’« 🐯 πŸ’«

    In all honesty it sounds like a sweet gig, in my experience getting anyone to pay training costs is hard to come by. AP can be dull, trust me i'm still serving my time! But you are onto a winner. Why not ask if you can get involved in other areas if there is spare time such as bank recs, payroll, vat returns etc If you have a decent boss they should be happy to offload some work and it gives you better experience.

    Experience is the key as in future you will want to branch out and move on - employers/agencies will happily sterotype you and put you forward for other AP roles so get the experience while you can.

    Have you considered what you want to do ultimately? there are numerous fields to go for whether it be internal in the finance/management side in industry or externally as Audit/forensic accounting and of course the big crazy world of tax!
  • blobbyh
    blobbyh Registered Posts: 2,415
    It sounds to me like you have an entry level job that many others would happily kill for. Plus, if your employer is willing to pay for CIMA or ACCA training they clearly have progression in mind for you. But don't blow it. Six months is barely a lifetime so be grateful for what you've got. If they even get an inkling you're unhappy after such a short time and that you feel things aren't progressing at the pace you think you're entitled to, you could find yourself 'moved on'.
  • dsavickij
    dsavickij Registered Posts: 37 πŸ’« 🐯 πŸ’«
    My role now is not bad and I enjoy it at times. The problem is that it is in the non-profit sector and is very laid back, with people just coasting and not pushing them selves. I worked for a law firm in accounts for a few months before and there i was busy, productive and everyone else around me was on the ball.

    I am a bit worried that I will have trouble getting out of the non-for profit sector in 2 years time. I would rather work in a pressured environment where things get done quickly, rather than just sit about and do the work at a leisurely pace.

    The pay is also a factor, currently I get low Β£20s k per year, but if i did the same job in a city law firm i would be on Β£27ish k a year.

    I am undecided on weather to stick it out for two years and hope for a promotion- which will mean more pay (28k ish)

    or to apply for any good jobs I see now and only take something if it has better prospects.
  • MarieNoelle
    MarieNoelle Moderator, MAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,369
    Nothing prevents you from "looking around" - if you are really unhappy about this and you feel you are not fulfilling your ambitions then go for it. You have nothing to lose.

    But as Robert said earlier, you haven't been in this role for very long and a prospective employer might see it as a lack of commitment on your part. It may be wise to stick it out for another year and reconsider then if you are still frustrated.

    At the end of the day, the decision is yours - just make sure you weigh up the pros and cons - the grass isn't always greener etc....:001_smile:

  • ExcelAnt
    ExcelAnt Registered Posts: 80 πŸ’« 🐯 πŸ’«
    As previously noted, future employers WILL question commitment if you have a patchy cv eg 6 months to a year repeated over and over. It costs alot to train and recruit staff, they are looking for commitment.

    I am in a similar position where the job is laid back in terms of workload. My answer, stay driven and research accounting as much as possible, improve my knowledge. It's tricky as those around me slow me down as there isnt that "buzz" but it's stress free :)

    Having said that it depends on your current circumstance, your in a great position but if you think there is better more fulfilling roles go for it, the comments for staying put are from my own experience as I have quite a patchy cv and sometimes have struggled in interviews because of it. Don't make a pattern of it!
  • Bookworm55
    Bookworm55 Registered Posts: 479
    When you say you'll finish the AAT in January - is that your last exam? Or is that when you achieve full membership? Either way, it's probably a good opportunity to have a talk with your line manager afterwards and have a "where do you see me going" type conversation about what development opportunities there are. Not in a "I want a new job" kind of way, more in a "can I get exposure to balance sheet/general ledger/assisting with cashflow in addition to my current duties" kind of way.

    Have a look on recruitment sites at jobs advertised as Accounts Assistant or Assistant Accountant. Do the research part discreetly so people around you don't get the wrong idea. Look for the ones where the duties include what you've been doing plus a bit more, and ask if you can get experience of those.

    Just be prepared for disappointment; I did not expect my manager to flatly refuse and tell me I wouldn't ever be able change my role in any way or to move out of AP, but that's what happened.
  • janwal
    janwal Registered Posts: 1,189
    I have been doing AP for the last 10.5 yrs , I agree it is a bit mundain, but it has stood me in good sted for getting the experience I needed. I have just started level 4, but already know I will not get advancement once I qualify and even after over 10yrs I only earn just over Β£18500 ( the problem of the public sector). I see this as my ticket out.

    As the others have said there is no harm in looking but don't do something you may regret later, I would assume you get a review at work, maybe approach the subject of getting involved in other projects or maybe ask if it would be possible to put to use some of the things you have studied.

    Good luck

  • mandatory
    mandatory Registered Posts: 59 πŸ’« 🐯 πŸ’«
    I was in the same position as you six months ago. I'd been in my accounts assistant role for six months and was finding it a bit tedious once month end had finished, and although my boss agreed to allow me to do CIMA I didn't see any progression in sight as I work for a very small company. However the week after I rewrote my CV and did some browsing on job boards I had my probation meeting, passed, and then my manager told me he was leaving in February and I would be taking on his role. Sometimes opportunities present themselves in strange ways and I feel that my boss allowed me to do CIMA because he already knew that my manager wanted to leave, and I would be the best person for the job. You've only been in the job for six months but if your employer recognises your determination with CIMA or ACCA then hopefully doors will open up for you. :)
  • JaffasGirl
    JaffasGirl Registered Posts: 387
    I would say stick it out, it's amazing the amount of opportunities that are open to you when you have that elusive two years experience under your belt. And to confirm what mandatory said, I have been working in accounts for seven months, the first four of those were in purchase ledger. The company noticed that I worked hard and knew I wanted to progress, so when someone in another department left I as promoted to a position with a lot more involvement with month end accounts. Companies tend to reward hard work. My manager is only a year older than me, has been with the company six years and has worked her way up from purchase ledger assistant to revenue accounting manager.

    Basically just stick with it, you never know what opportunity is just around the corner.
  • mrb82
    mrb82 Registered Posts: 147 πŸŽ† 🐘 πŸŽ†
    Branching off from this discussion, how do you get noticed at work?

    I am working hard on my role, have taken on expenses and asked to be able to post some cash receipts to the ledger, but beyond that I don't get bothered with much.

    How do I get noticed by senior management that I am willing to take on new challenges and increased responsibilities?
  • blobbyh
    blobbyh Registered Posts: 2,415
    mrb82 wrote: Β»
    Branching off from this discussion, how do you get noticed at work?

    By getting hammered at Christmas parties and joining in the fun...

    Seriously, raising your profile by socialising at work is a major step to progression. Accountants are widely reknowned - and I have to say often quite justifiably - for being quiet and reserved. Maybe it's natural to our nature and why we are drawn to this career in the first place? It also doesn't help that we're usually kept away from the rest of the company, sometimes even in out-buildings. It's barely surprising that many come to think of us as aloof even if we're not.

    I'd never advocate arse-kissing or acting like a drunken clown but chatting and getting to know other people socially in the company does get you noticed. There are few rewards in life for keeping your head down and staying under the radar, people will generally just assume you're anti-social.
  • danrod
    danrod Registered Posts: 1
    You need to be just a little bit patient. It’s very good you are an ambitious person and eager for further self- growing as an accountant specialist, but being busy and constantly overloaded with numerous tasks it’s not a matter of your efficiency.

    Currently, you can become a very good master for some accountant field, and after switch to another, and don’t worry about the time. It’s always on your side and equal to your qualification. There are a lot of opportunities.

    For example, you can get a job at the big company which applies AP accounts payable automation, and still, you will be not overloaded there cause all processes starting from billing to the payment done are optimized that way so you don’t need to spend a lot of time on a routine like paper works.
  • mergen
    mergen Registered Posts: 112 New contributor 🐸
    back from 2012 :)
  • mrb82
    mrb82 Registered Posts: 147 πŸŽ† 🐘 πŸŽ†
    I’m surprised this is still going!

    I’m intrigued to find out what people are doing now. Where are you with your careers? Are you studying?

    I’m slowly working through CIMA now and work as management accountant for a large company. Going to be interviewed this week for a senior finance analyst role!
  • mergen
    mergen Registered Posts: 112 New contributor 🐸
    @mrb82 good luck
  • JoJoMis
    JoJoMis Registered Posts: 50 Regular contributor ⭐ 😼 ⭐
    @mrb82 Literally the kind of daily dose of motivation I need in my life! Good luck with your interview!
    I'm still looking for my first accounting job and to hear people going to distance with AAT (and beyond) is just so inspiring. Keep up the good work
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