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Starting on Ladder

gemma89gemma89 YorkshireRegistered Posts: 43
So I am about to graduate BA Honours Business Management all my experience has been in administration and also customer service. I have children and am not starting AAT and looking for a career in accounts. I have applied for many roles but struggling to get taken on and also all the job posts say experience of Sage or 1 years payroll experience so it puts me off applying which is frustrating as I know I am competent, highly educated and a quick learner so given the chance I would probably be able to do the job. How do you get started with no experience?


  • NorvydasNorvydas DevonMAAT Posts: 265
    Dear Gemma89,

    When I got my job I had no experience in finance at all, literally I was working as Personal Trainer and decided to go into accounting. Signed up for my Level 2, after 3 months got a job as Finance Assistant :) I count myself very lucky as a lot of my friends who studied with me got into apprenticeships where the wages weren't satisfying enough.. especially if you have a family and bills to pay!

    With regards of job roles, what type of job roles are you applying? There are many finance jobs which doesn't require sage experience nor payroll experience. Finance Assistant, accounts assistant doesn't always require sage nor payroll experience.
    Kind Regards,

    Norvydas Valavicius.
  • gemma89gemma89 YorkshireRegistered Posts: 43
    When I am searching most of the roles (Wakefield / Leeds / Barnsley) all seem to need experience at least 1 year in Sage but I am just starting out at AAT Level 2 although hope to move to Level 3 in July time.
    I cannot take on an apprentice role at the moment due to finances / childcare for 4 children so It needs to be either full time or part time and I am not even sure I would be eligible for an apprentice role as I already will have a degree soon.
  • NorvydasNorvydas DevonMAAT Posts: 265
    Hi gemma89,

    If they specifically want you to have experience with Sage, might be worth doing Sage only course rather than whole AAT? As Sage is covered very little in AAT.

    I would apply for those jobs which say that you need to have Sage experience. Purely because Sage is easy to pick up, if you are honest in the interview and explain that you will cover Sage in AAT, and especially if you are a quick learner then I don't think the employer will mark you down so much if you don't have that full 1 years of experience.

    Payroll experience is completely different case, you need to have in depth knowledge of what you doing as it is important job role. Again in regards of Payroll, there are a lot of online courses which can give you that knowledge.
    Kind Regards,

    Norvydas Valavicius.
  • gemma89gemma89 YorkshireRegistered Posts: 43
    Hi, Thanks for that. I have 2 interviews this week for payroll administration and data input for timesheets etc so this could be a way in for me while doing AAT - Fingers crossed.
  • NorvydasNorvydas DevonMAAT Posts: 265

    Good luck with your interviews and let us know how you got on!!
    Kind Regards,

    Norvydas Valavicius.
  • gemma89gemma89 YorkshireRegistered Posts: 43
    I didn't get one, however I didn't like the feel of the place anyway. The interview was like a police interrogation (or how I imagine one to be) and I didn't feel like I would be happy working under a microscope like that.
    The second role I have a 2nd interview Tuesday morning and then my first AAT exam Tuesday 1pm so slightly nervous.
  • SuzanneBSuzanneB Registered Posts: 3
    Hi gemma89, I was in a similar position to you just over a year ago. I had graduated from uni a number of years ago and after having a career break had decided on a career change and decided to get into accountancy (I also have children the youngest was just about to start full-time school). I started on the AAT level 2 foundation last September as I thought that would be the best way in, since I had no accounting experience. I loved the course and after seeing something on FB about graduate accounting trainee schemes I decided to apply for a couple. (NHS graduate finance scheme and the Grant Thornton public sector audit graduate scheme). To cut a long story short I started work at Grant Thornton in February and they are putting me though (and fully funding) CIPFA which I start in September and at the same time I’m being paid a full time graduate salary. After 3 years I’ll be a fully trained Chartered Public Finance Accountant. The scheme closed in April as our trainee quota had been filled, however it’s now been reopened (due to winning new contracts) and we are looking for more people to start ASAP. If it sounds like something you are interested in let me know and I’ll be happy to give you more information.
  • B1982B1982 Just Joined Registered Posts: 3
    Hi Suzanne,
    I hope you could help me with your experience on CIPFA... I completed my AAT back in 2012 and I’m now thinking of qualifying for CIPFA (home study) It’s been a while since I had my head in the books and I currently work full time and have a 2 year old! I’m going to cut down to 4 days and wanted your opinion/advice on studying 8 hours once a week would be enough? How many hours a week of studying would you feel is needed? Also in comparison to level 4 AAT, is CIPFA much harder?
    Thank you so much for any advice/experience you can share!
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