Career change into finance / Plenty of workplace experience but not enough finance

Peter Fellows
Peter Fellows Registered Posts: 4 New contributor 🐸
Posting this here and hoping it’s the appropriate place. I’m a 30-year-old Level 4 AAT studier based in London and in the middle of a career change and am really struggling to get an interview for an entry-level role. I have had over 5 years’ experience within the music industry in a copyright/legal role and my financial experience is limited to royalties and invoice processing.

I apply for jobs through Reed / Accountancy Age/ Hays amongst others but really feel I need to change my tack in order to stand out from all the other applicants and would appreciate some advice from students in my position or those who have been in the past


  • Nps
    Nps Registered Posts: 782
    My advice would be to move away from the specialist recruitment agencies. Companies pay them a hefty fee to find staff so are less likely to be happy with someone with no experience. I've written a couple of posts on here recently about the job centre job site (search my very recent posts). Many more entry level jobs, which I'm afraid is where you need to be starting. Employers who can't afford to pay agency fees (or don't want to), are more likely to take on inexperienced people and the job centre job site is ideal for this.
  • CeeJaySix
    CeeJaySix Registered Posts: 645
    Agree with NPS, agencies are not the best for entry level roles, too much competition for too few jobs. Like you I have just changed careers from 10yrs in the military to accountancy; I only had Lvl 2, and focussed on selling my transferable skills. I've written in more detail a couple of times so search my posts, but by far the best responses I got were from speculative CVs to mid-size firms. Take the time to make sure your CV emphasises not only why you will be a good accountant, but also what relevant skills your prior employment has given you that will be of value to the prospective employer that the college leavers and graduates you will likely be competing with haven't yet developed. Use your covering letter to make a couple of short, sharp points that will make you stand out (don't repeat in CV) and personalise applications to each firm (a short sentence about why you're interested in that firm, and make sure it's addressed to the right person - if websites don't list the HR partner/manager/director, either address to the managing partner or call the firm and ask who is in charge of HR). Good luck!
  • Nps
    Nps Registered Posts: 782
    CeeJaySix makes a good point about transferable skills. The longer I spend in my new job the more I suspect that it was my transferable skills rather than my accountancy qualifications that got me the job!
  • SandyHood
    SandyHood Registered, Moderator Posts: 2,034 mod
    Peter Fellows
    Both Nps and CeeJaySix have given you excellent advice.
    I've met many AAT students who have held responsible jobs in one industry and wanted to specialise in accounting. In the West Sussex area this has often been horticulture supervisors wanting to become accountants. As an anecdote, I often found that transfers to accounting roles within the industry tended to mean they could move across as someone with a real understanding of the business and the terminologies used. This meant they were able to get jobs ahead of people with more accountancy qualifications on paper.

    You're 30, you have had 5 years music industry experience, and that experience includes royalties and invoice processing. Have you approached firms in the music industry which have finance departments of 5+ staff? I would, they are big enough to have the expertise that you can learn from and may well have a bias towards accountancy that need the practical music industry knowledge you can provide. If it works, you may well go in at a higher rate of pay than you would earn in businesses where your music industry knowledge is not relevant.

    Next stop, look at firms where royalties experience may help. Have you approached book publishers?

    Try and look at yourself in a complete way, not just your accounting experience and training and then see what you could do for a particular employer. Pretty much CeeJaySix's advice.
  • Peter Fellows
    Peter Fellows Registered Posts: 4 New contributor 🐸
    Hi All,

    Thank you for your responses, I was on holiday last week so was unable to respond but I am grateful for the time you have spent in order to give me advice. What you've all said about agencies has completely resonated with my experience as well.
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