Becoming an accountant with a serious criminal conviction?

I've been thinking about becoming an accountant for the last few months. Numbers I've always found to help calm me down, I quite like using excel, making spreadsheets, and finance is a bit of a hobby for me, and I've always liked helping my mum with her self assessment since I was around 13. Now, I have an unspent conviction, which will remain unspent for close to 6 years. I was convicted late last year due to some bad life choices and addiction problems. It was pretty serious, intent to to supply Class A Drugs. The path I am looking to go down is AAT apprenticeship, then doing a ACA apprenticeship after that. Taking me roughly 5 years to reach charted status. Now I've called AAT, they said that I can study no problems, but I'd have to declare it when applying for membership after finishing my studies. They've said this is done on a individual basis, so no way of knowing if they would even accept me. Assuming that they do, I'll then have to declare it to ACA when enrolling as a student, as I found out by calling them, again done on a individual basis. Seems very risky that I'll end up spending a lot of time studying all to just get rejected some point down the line. Then there's also the fact that the places employing me for these apprentiships will likely ask if I have any convictions, so there's the extra risk there as well. The only saving grace is that once I've done my ACA, I'll be just one year away from the conviction becoming spent. I'm currently earning close to £2.2k per month after tax in sales, and this is likely to go up, the thing is, I absolutely hate sales. But it's a safe career path for me, and something I'm good at. I guess I'm just looking for some advice as to whether it's worth the risk. It's something I think I'd really enjoy. There are plenty of mitigating factors with my conviction, and it's heavily linked to my diagnosed disability. Hence why I'm not in prison now for an offence which has a minimum guideline of 4 years in prison, for my particular level of offence. But I guess it's mainly as to whether the potential/future recruiter would even listen to this. So what does everyone think, is this something I'd have a chance at, even if slim? Or will I just be chucked aside for a candidate that hasn't got a conviction? Should I just stick to sales making easy money but hating what I do and the type of people you meet? Does anyone here know of anyone that has a conviction for intent to supply, and now works as an accountant? This was my first and only offence, and I have made significant steps towards rehabilitation. I currently see a therapist for my issues weekly, I've been clean from drugs for more than a year now, I'm also in my very first serious relationship. Which is a massive deal considering the difficulties I had in early life. There is simply no comparison to where I was early 2017 to where I am now. I've constantly been at work, and consistently been a top performer at that too. I've been with two separate companies. The first I resigned due to the low wage I was paid. My last day being a Friday and starting working at my new role the following Monday.


  • Norvydas
    Norvydas MAAT Posts: 272 Dedicated contributor 🌟 🐵 🌟
    Hi @Aymes , I'll be honest with you, it will be difficult to find a job with unspent conviction especially in finances sector. Impossible? No. Depends by each employer.

    Why don't you stay in sales and study part time? Maybe online study? Self study? You would have flexibility with studying and you wouldn't have to lose your current job. When you reach Level 3/4 then start applying for jobs (not apprenticeship) and see how it goes.

    I wish you all the best, and remember the stigma around employing people with conviction is becoming less and less popular. I remember when people had tattoos everyone would say how difficult it would be to get a good job, look at it now, nearly every other person is with tattoos/face piercings and have good jobs.
    Kind Regards,

    Norvydas Valavicius.
  • NickCraggs
    NickCraggs Registered, Tutor Posts: 62 Regular contributor ⭐ 😼 ⭐
    I actually know someone who became an accountant after the same offence, and is doing really well. Awarding bodies do take this one a case by case basis. So please don't just disregard it.
    Nick Craggs FMAAT AATQB ACA, AAT Branch Member and Distance Learning Director at First Intuition
  • hal978
    hal978 MAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 197 Dedicated contributor 🌟 🐵 🌟

    I actually know someone who became an accountant after the same offence, and is doing really well. Awarding bodies do take this one a case by case basis. So please don't just disregard it.

    Which professional body is this accountant a member of? AAT?

    Even for a civil sanction you have to disclose it at every application stage (student, full member, licence application) and every renewal, even if you've previously told them about it. Professional Standards will look at the application each time. Also you can't get FMAAT once you are MAAT for 5 years if you have an offence. See their professional standards handbook.

    I would love to be proven wrong, but that is my experience.
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