Advice needed..

samantha1307 Registered Posts: 1 New contributor 🐸
Hi everyone,

I am new to this forum thing so bear with me! I was wondering if I could get some opinions on my situation. I am currently studying AAT Level 4, I'm about half way through it (which has taken me a year through distance learning!).

I work as a manager at a debt management company, and my job does not entail any accounting work whatsoever; I have been here now for four years - so for four years I have not worked within accounts. What I need advice with is basically where this Level 4 qualification is going to get me with no experience?

I won't go in to my personal circumstances, but I am really struggling to get through all the work/exams.. . I am seriously considering giving my studies up, as I fear that it won't get me anywhere once it's done. I work in management and I can't afford to take a massive pay drop to start again building a career in accounting.

Dilemma - please help?!


  • Jo Clark
    Jo Clark Registered Posts: 2,525
    Hello Samantha

    Welcome to the forum! :)

    You could obtain experience by working on a voluntary basis. If you do a search on the forum there are several posts regarding this. I would give you the website address for an organisation that lists voluntary placements but they are currently being merged/reorganised so not sure if it will remain the same.

    Another way of gaining experience would be to try contacting a local church or school to see if they need a treasurer.

    Good luck.


    p.s. Don't give up on your studies as you have come so far :o
    ~ An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest ~
    Benjamin Franklin
  • Nps
    Nps Registered Posts: 782
    Unfortunately, if you are currently on a good wage, any start in accountancy will involve a pay drop, unless you are very lucky and find a move in your current company at the same grade.

    I had to take more than a 50% wage cut to get my first accountancy job and I was incredibly lucky as it is a dual role with a management aspect which bumped the wage up substantially. It will be quite a few years before I can even start to look for jobs which pay close to my old salary. It might sound a bit depressing but I am still completely happy with my decision. Even with voluntary experience, you're still only really going to be eligible for entry level jobs.

    It all depends on your aspirations I suppose. You say you can't afford to take the pay drop involved in starting an accountancy career, but I really can't see any other way around it. Unless you are happy just doing voluntary work, but it would be a very generous person who worked hard enough to pass AAT just to do voluntary work. Or you might just want the personal satisfaction of gaining extra qualifications.

    I know that doesn't sound very promising, but the reality is, yes you may well find an entry level job, but it sounds like it wouldn't pay the wage you need it to. Which does raise the question you ask of where is AAT likely to get you?
  • CeeJaySix
    CeeJaySix Registered Posts: 645
    I'm afraid I agree with NPS, likewise I took a big salary hit to change careers; although with the extra relevant skills you should be able to command a significantly higher salary than the graduate/college leaver trainees if you sell yourself well, there's obviously a limit to what firms will pay to employ a trainee/assistant, no matter how promising and how many transferable skills. That said, if you're good at it, pay can rise quickly - my firm do six monthly reviews whilst in study and I am quickly making up the gap to my old wage, and hope to match it within 3 years. I don't know if that's a common model, but may give you some optimism?
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