Hurdles to becoming self employed

Hi, just after some advice please. I have been MAAT for the last 6 years, and am currently studying ACCA (final P papers) following a 3.5 year break.

I am pretty eager to start putting to use my qualification I gained all those years ago, however I feel that having only ever worked in industry I have gaps in my knowledge. I've worked as a management accountant for the past 6 years and have recently taken on a financial accountant role,

Are there tools available with AAT I can use to reignite what I have previously learnt, or at least to bring me to a stage where I am comfortable to offer my services? Having never worked in a practice or done anyone's books, I don't have any evidence of practical experience to record on the MIP application nor would I get far on the services to offer sheet...

I am certain that once I have a client and get started everything will come flooding back, but my main issue is overcoming the practical experience hurdle - do you have any recommendations?



  • TreadStone
    TreadStone Feels At Home AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 280

    however I feel that having only ever worked in industry I have gaps in my knowledge.

    Having never worked in a practice or done anyone's books,

    but my main issue is overcoming the practical experience hurdle

    These are fairly significant issues to overcome before you think about offering your services to the public. The last point probably the most important.

    When you say you have taken on a financial accountnat role, I'm assuming this must be in employment. Is this in practice ? If so, maybe you can gain the relevant experience in your new role before looking for your own clients ?
  • CSan89
    CSan89 MAAT Posts: 207
    I agree with @TreadStone , Having zero experience and asking clients to pay for your services is just asking for trouble.
    It seems like you may be going in the right direction by going into financial rather than management accounting.
    Have you thought volunteering for a local charity/community group? This could help you with getting experience of bookkeeping. (at a basic level).

    You may want to check the T&Cs with ACCA about working self employed as a student member as I think they are quite restrictive.
    AAT Level 2&3 - 2016
    AAT Level 4 - 2017
    Personal Tax, Business Tax and External Auditing

    ACA/CTA -
    Certificate Level - Jan 2019
  • RJ_123
    RJ_123 milton keynesMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 5
    I used to volunteer as treasurer for a local scouts group to keep in touch with my bookkeeping skills when I moved to a personal tax role. Local charities and community groups are always looking for volunteers. This would be a really useful way to gather bookkeeping experience.
  • Dan_Wright
    Dan_Wright MAAT Posts: 5
    Indeed they are significant issues. Which is why I'd like to find out how to overcome them.

    Unfortunately I do not work in practice, im a financial accountant in industry. I have tried finding an opportunity in practice, accepting i would need to take a step down in terms of progression for the short term to gain the experience, but having spoken with several accountants who work in practice, I was told it's incredibly rare and doesn't tend to work out when transferring from industry to practice, so not many take the risk. If anything, it's probably fuelled me on more to go it alone - here's hoping!

    I certainly wouldn't consider charging to begin with, at least until I felt comfortable in what I was doing.

    Thanks for the suggestions. Probably a very silly question, the services required for charity / community groups, do they tend to involve much work? Are they easy to fit around a full time job? I'm guessing they are primarily donations / sales, purchases (if any) etc and straight forward? Would I still need to get PII and register for AML and ICO even if offering services FOC?

    Really appreciate your replies - thanks
  • burg
    burg Experienced Mentor GloucesterModerator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,441
    Others have offered some fantastic advice.

    You certainly need to upskill yourself in respect of final accounts prep, tax work, the ability to quickly change between different clients and the various admin duties required of working in a practice. You may be able to find some courses for some of this but the final two are more difficult.

    The big plus is that financial and management accounts and reporting is becoming even more popular by utilising cloud accounting.

    I've tried employing those form industry and it hasn't been successful. The difficulty found was the chopping and changing between different clients from different industries with different types of business multiple times per day.

  • badhombre
    badhombre Milton Keynes AAT Student, AATQB, AAT Licensed Bookkeeper Posts: 21

    In answer to your Qs re AML, ICO and AML -

    I believe ICO registration would not be applicable in the case described but worth checking on their website anyway....


    see point 3.2 of the att link.... where an idividual exclusivley carries out/ undertake prob-bono work no PII is requried, it is recommeended but not mandaortry.

    Lastly as someone who has spent many years in both Practise (tiny Co's to currently employer, Big 4 and private/ industry) i can attest to @burg 's point - there is a world of difference, some + some (-) between the two forms of employment..... But having experience in both cant be bad :)
  • Dan_Wright
    Dan_Wright MAAT Posts: 5
    Thanks @burg I suppose the chopping and changing between clients is something that will come with experience? After gaining some experience, I was only planning on offering services on the side of my FT job, so wouldn't imagine I'd have a large amount to juggle to begin with.

    @badhombre thanks for sending over the links, I also queried with AAT. Like you said, none are required due to being voluntary, however at the point of charging I would need to be registered with AAT, and have all the other licences in place.

    I'm sure there are pro's and con's, as with all jobs. I've been considering this for some time - I'm just excited to be in a position of controlling how well / bad this goes (hopefully the former!), just need to go and get some experience then I can make a start 👍.

    Is there a recommended time that practical experience is needed in order to become MiP or is it purely as long as you can demonstrate that you're competent in what you're doing?
  • badhombre
    badhombre Milton Keynes AAT Student, AATQB, AAT Licensed Bookkeeper Posts: 21
    @Dan_Wright you're welcome. Re the final Q I think it's like driving, confidence and competence can only come with experience :) only you will know when you're finally ready to take on the responsibility of offering your services.
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