New career advice please.

TryMyBestTryMyBest Settling In NicelyPosts: 15Registered
My job at the moment is as different to the accounting world as it could be. With a wife and young child to support I'm looking for a complete change - which has brought me to AAT.
I have not studied since school (I'm now 37) and believe if I don't do something now to better myself I never will.
Id be looking at a home study course and want to keep costs to a minimum. I've done the skill check on this site and it adviced me to start at level 2. I shall be fitting in the study mostly evening time when my son is in bed.
I've noticed a lot of people just buy the books for level 2 , how much approximately would this cost and also which books would you advice?
How long would I be looking at to complete level 2, putting in around 5 hours of study per week - more when I can?

I've been looking at current job vacancies and they all seem to require experience of 1 year +, this is a gripe of mine - you can't get experience unless someone gives you the opportunity!!!
How long would it take to complete the full 3 levels of the course and what jobs would I be considered for and also approximate salary? I don't mind starting at the bottom and gain experience but with a mortgage etc there is only so low I can go!

Thanks for reading and I would appreciate advice from anybody who has been ,or is in this position...or anyone with knowledge of the subject :)

Comments

  • guinea pigguinea pig Trusted Regular Posts: 402Registered
    Hi TryMyBest,
    How long is a piece of string?
    On the AAT website you should be able to find details of each unit/exam you will need to sit,
    http://www.aat.org.uk/qualifications/the-aat-accounting-qualification -and from this you can work out which books you will need. I studied through college, and used the Osborne books, which you can get via Amazon, but make sure that you get the correct editions, this is especially important with the tax modules. My college tuition was generally 6 hours per week during term time only, and then home study, which took up more time as I progressed. Its up to you how much time you can find, and how long it will therefore take. There are several companies offering home tuition like Kaplan, BPP so look at their websites. There are lots of helpful people on this forum, who can advise on them.
    As for experience, its tricky, but doing volunteer finance work e.g. for a charity, doing the books for a club, can give you some experience, and provide contacts.
    You are young, I had a career change at age 49, and completed AAT last year in my early fifties!
    Good luck,
    GP
  • TryMyBestTryMyBest Settling In Nicely Posts: 15Registered
    Thanks for the reply, seems by the amount of views of my topic , people aren't as helpful as you think!!
    What level are you up to now - as in have you further continued your studies and have you got a job in the field?
  • guinea pigguinea pig Trusted Regular Posts: 402Registered
    I completed last summer, and have been working in a finance office for nearly 6 years now. The next challenge is to get a job so I can use all that I've learnt.
  • TryMyBestTryMyBest Settling In Nicely Posts: 15Registered
    Well good luck. I'm still unsure whether this is for me - don't get me wrong, its something I want to do but the idea of studying for up to 4-5 years and then struggle to get a job on 12 k a year.... I'm earning double that now in a manual job... I want to put the time in but it seems I'd be struggling and begging to make an opening for a salary that I was earning 20+ years ago!
  • SarahJSSarahJS Trusted Regular Posts: 273Registered
    TryMyBest wrote: »
    Thanks for the reply, seems by the amount of views of my topic , people aren't as helpful as you think!!

    I don't mean to be rude, but the reason I, and I'd guess others, didn't reply was because the exact same question is asked all the time.

    Sometimes you can't be bothered to type the same answer again and again, it's just the way forums work.

    PS. This sounds more negative than it is meant to be, tis forum helped me and so many others through the exams, just don't EXPECT answers, and be grateful if you get any.

    Good luck!
  • TryMyBestTryMyBest Settling In Nicely Posts: 15Registered
    Thanks for the reply. I've gone back 12 pages of the forum and although I've seen a few answers ,most seem to go back year as ago as although the forum seems to be well attended obviously its mostly by readers than posters.
    If my questions have been answered so much maybe we could have a sticky at the top that could be updated periodically for new members??
    Thanks anyway :)
  • SarahJSSarahJS Trusted Regular Posts: 273Registered
    A sticky would be a really good thing in my eyes, where people new to AAT could see the questions often asked in relation to beginning studying.

    It sounds a cliche, but how long it takes to study depends entirely on you and how naturally studying comes to you.

    In my opinion it would be pretty hard to find an entry level accounts job that would pay well, so many people are looking to fill jobs which will obviously mean competition is fierce (in all sectors not just accountancy) and people are willing to work for relatively little to gain experience.

    If accountancy is what you really want to do this is definately worth persuing, I think AAT is a great place to start. I really enjoyed the studying it!
  • guinea pigguinea pig Trusted Regular Posts: 402Registered
    Maybe we could have a FAQ section, where the aat selects frequently asked questions, and the best answers, for everyone to refer to?
    Gp
  • SarahJSSarahJS Trusted Regular Posts: 273Registered
    A FAQ with 4/5 answers to each question would be a good idea I think. It would also help on the way that answers to questions would include different people's opinions rather than just depending on 'who gets there first'.
  • StuartWStuartW Online Community Manager LondonPosts: 492Registered
    How about a sticky containing the most frequently asked questions with links to previous threads in which people discuss the answers? As often there is not a definitive answer and, like SarahJS says, it can be a case of differing opinions.

    I think this would require users to help us keep on top of 'dubious' contributions, though - once people know a thread is linked to from a Sticky it may be tempting for some types to manipulate the content to their own ends.
  • TryMyBestTryMyBest Settling In Nicely Posts: 15Registered
    All sounds good. Glad I've made a positive contribution to the forum already :001_smile:
  • TryMyBestTryMyBest Settling In Nicely Posts: 15Registered
    Just received my first book and quickly read through the first chapter.... Rather daunting to say the least!! Haven't got a clue about the stuff that it contains :ohmy:
  • RobClarkeRobClarke Experienced Mentor Posts: 820Registered
    which one arrived first?
    TryMyBest wrote: »
    Just received my first book and quickly read through the first chapter.... Rather daunting to say the least!! Haven't got a clue about the stuff that it contains :ohmy:
  • TryMyBestTryMyBest Settling In Nicely Posts: 15Registered
    The basic accounting - only ordered the one to see how I go on, have to make sure I have no distractions when I start it properly :blushing:
  • RobClarkeRobClarke Experienced Mentor Posts: 820Registered
    fairly straight forward (once you have read it a few hundred times!) But most peole will tell you it is well worth learning it inside out as it will prove invaluable in later studies :)
  • TryMyBestTryMyBest Settling In Nicely Posts: 15Registered
    RobClarke wrote: »
    fairly straight forward (once you have read it a few hundred times!) But most peole will tell you it is well worth learning it inside out as it will prove invaluable in later studies :)

    Yes I think a few hundred times will be appropriate, my head was hurting after ten minutes :lol:
    I know its not going to be easy after not doing any study for 21 years but I know I want to do this so its up to me to get stuck in and make it easy - not tonight though, relaxation night :001_smile:
    Where are you up to Rob?
  • RobClarkeRobClarke Experienced Mentor Posts: 820Registered
    Im like you but apporx 26 years between now and last exams! Sat weaf and ba1 last month, have the rest in march and I think last ones in June.
  • TryMyBestTryMyBest Settling In Nicely Posts: 15Registered
    How've you found it and how much study per week have you been doing?
    Are you in 'the trade' already?
  • RobClarkeRobClarke Experienced Mentor Posts: 820Registered
    Too many hours study as I am inbetween jobs at the moment and desperately trying to find an appropriate position.

    I sat myself in a darkened room with a calculator, pc, internet and stayed there until I understood ba1 completely - I would say about 3 weeks (with coffee-breaks!!)

    WEAF in my opinion is a bit of a joke and should take very little study for most people.

    Costing and BA2 I put myself back into the darkened room mentioned above and came out about two and a half weeks later with a fairly good understanding of it all..

    Just have to go through the sage module now as this is the only one I am not speeding up by studying extra at home.
  • CeeJaySixCeeJaySix Well-Known Posts: 645Registered
    TryMyBest,

    Your handle says it all, if you don't try you'll never know. I'm not quite as far through life as you but have been serving in the military for ten years. I've completed Level 2 and started sending speculative CVs out as well as applying for a couple of advertised positions that only wanted 6 months practice experience (I have none, but figured if they only want six months and have no outstanding candidates I might get lucky). I've had pretty good feedback - although most 'training' firms seem to recruit school leavers/graduates with pretty strict criteria, someone will always have a job that requires a bit more maturity and life experience. I am getting interviews with good firms just off the back of a good CV, and although I know it means a hefty paycut in the short term it should repay itself in the long term.

    What's the worst that can happen? You still have your current career and extra qualifications if you can't get a practice job. Best case you land your dream job (although I imagine still with a pay hit). A specialist recruitment agency mentioned to me that it's often better to start with jobs in business finance departments to gain experience rather than going straight for practice, but I'm sticking with practices at least for now.

    PS. if you're completing Level 4 before job-searching I'd expect you to be looking at a bit more than £12-£15k, I'd guess you should be able to make £20k at least (if not immediately then once you have the 6/12 months experience they want).
  • TryMyBestTryMyBest Settling In Nicely Posts: 15Registered
    Thanks for the replies. I could take a pay cut but obviously not too big. Before the job I have now, I was earning around 17k and was able to make ends meet easily enough.
    My problem I think is that I am over cautious but I've realised I'm just going to have to go for it or I'll still be in my present situation in ten years.
    I've only paid £12 for the first book so going to hit it this weekend and see how I go on - although the first chapter is still foreign to me!!
    Any study tips most appreciated :)
  • TryMyBestTryMyBest Settling In Nicely Posts: 15Registered
    I'm really struggling to work through this at the most and think I'm going to be better off going through a training provider.
    Its more money obviously but I think I'll need the help and.....well just someone on the end of a line to talk to and keep me going to a schedule.
    Looking at Premier as they are the cheapest and there doesn't seem to be a great difference in services provided. Anyone any experience? What books do they use as the Osbourne book I'm currently reading has me pretty flummoxed at times!!
  • CeeJaySixCeeJaySix Well-Known Posts: 645Registered
    If you search the site, Premier and Eagle seem to be the preferred providers. I went with Premier on the flip of a coin, tutor support is excellent, for Lvl 2 at least they use their own texts for BA1 and 2 and WEAF, and the Osborne text for BC.

    My only issue with them has been the Sage package provided for computerised accounting, they changed the way they provided it late last year and there seem to be some teething problems (2012 workbooks provided with 2011 software, quite a few little differences that throw spanners in the work, plus a few technical issues). Otherwise excellent; and if you're doing it module by module you can always do the CA elsewhere.
  • TryMyBestTryMyBest Settling In Nicely Posts: 15Registered
    Thanks. Think I'll go with premier too.
  • CeeJaySixCeeJaySix Well-Known Posts: 645Registered
    Caveat to my comment about Premier and Sage above - once my tutor passed my concerns about the Sage package up the line I got a phone call yesterday to let me know they were sending me a brand new full copy of the latest version of software and workbooks, so that should be all sorted. Turns out that the 2012 software was no good for some reason or other (can't remember why he said) so they had to keep the 2011 stuff, but then the 2011 texts were no longer available. Now 2013 stuff's been released it should be all good.
  • TryMyBestTryMyBest Settling In Nicely Posts: 15Registered
    Just got my course through, although i have started online over the weekend.
    Amazing how starting at the basics helps - ive read the first couple of chapters and it`s starting to click with me.
    The Osbourne Basic Accounting book, i feel i wouldve been reading for the next 12 months...

    Maybe i`m a bit stupid or not, i`d say the books i`ve recieved are set out better especially the first couple of chapters when you want to keep students like me reading, rather than say - balls to that - haven`t a clue and never will!!
  • TryMyBestTryMyBest Settling In Nicely Posts: 15Registered
    Fern , im presuming Premier are quite a big company going by reviews on here?
    Don`t know if they`re VAT registered as didn`t look (maybe after the course i will ;)
    They were cheaper and seemed to offer more than Kaplan and Eagle or maybe the same but the situation i`m in - price is king!
  • eccleseccles New Member UKPosts: 12Registered
    Hi TryMyBest, I'm in a very similar position to you. Stuck in a dead-end job that doesn't pay that well, wanting (and needing) to make a career change and not being able to afford to take a big pay cut for that all important experience. Don't forget though, you may well be elligible for Working Tax Credits to boost your money if you do take a drop in wages. It could make all the difference as to whether it's an affordable move to begin with.

    I'm going along the self-study route for Level 2. I'm currently working as a lorry driver to pay the bills and I'm up & down the country all the time with at least one night out a week, which is on a different day every time, so signing up to an evening class was just impossible. :glare: Like you, it's been 20+ years since I last studied and it's not easy getting back into it but what I have done so far I've enjoyed.

    Good luck with it and keep posting. Reading about someone else's situation which is similar to mine helps to keep me motivated. :thumbup1:

    Cheers. :001_smile:
  • villapbvillapb Trusted Regular Posts: 357Registered
    TryMyBest,
    I,ve being studying since Jan 2009 and reckon ill be nearing the end May 2014...... its a long, lonely, difficult journey and many give up.......i was determined to not be on a scrap heap and don,t wory about age, im 46 and my i work along side my good pal who is nearly finished ACCA and is 25. He gets sick of meetings with clients, hmrc, because they all automatically look to me as the lead man because im the mature one lol..................

    Trymybest, the pay is terrible and i could double my wages today if i went into industry but i want to stay in practise and eventually good or better pay and flexible working, already i know ill be ok security wise as as each day passes i get more sought after.

    If you have just picked up a book and no experience i think it takes 5-6 years to get more pay then your at now, but believe me i started at the bottom but i never complained, when the guys used to feel guilty about the work they gave me, i used to say and still say it, as long as i,m warm and dry i dont care.

    This game is not for everyone and demands determination but tbh i love it and found my calling......i love tax lol.
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