Looking in to going self-employed

ChrisC94ChrisC94 Registered, MAAT, AATQB Posts: 2
Hi All,

I'm looking in to the possibility of going self-employed within the next 12 to 18 months and applying for a license to become an AAT Licensed Accountant. My biggest barrier to entry will be the fact that I've only ever worked in industry and not in a practice, I've worked for a SME in the education and training sector as a number one in finance for 3 years which was very involved as I was the sole member of the finance department for the majority of that time and have more recently moved to work for a much larger international company in the manufacturing industry as a way of gaining more experience and furthering my career prospects. I'm happy to provide more details as to what my roles have included if it is helpful but naturally the experience I do have won't be massively relevant if I were to start up my own accounting business.

What I would really like advice on is how best to gain the necessary experience so I can take the first step to becoming self-employed. I am unable to leave my current role due to financial reasons as a starting job in a practice would not give me the salary I currently require. I am happy to work evenings and weekends to gain the experience I would need, I'm even happy to work for free/volunteer if required I'm just not sure where to start or if there are opportunities available for people in my position.

If anyone could offer any advice I would be very grateful.



  • NeillawNeillaw New Member RossendaleMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 241
    Firstly do you have a plan?
    Have you done a SWOT analysis?

    This isn't the easiest way of doing things, I've worked in both practice and industry and it was easier to go from practice to industry than the other way around.
    A lot of people who are licence members have been in practice at some point as this provides you with the practice management skills required. I however would want too know what type of work you would be looking for eg. management/cost accounts & book-keeping etc.
    You will need to put some work into practice management but you are also in a position to take temp FC roles in larger company's who may have external auditors which as a practice you wouldn't be able to get.
    I took on clients while working PAYE which is hard but it does provide you with the extra security of money to pay the bills, when my client base was large enough I dropped the PAYE but looked at contract work as a 3 month contract can provide sufficient funds while you continue to build you practice or have a lull in clients dropping their books off. January isn't a good time to be dealing with SA clients and working at the same time.
    I'm fortunate as a vat client I use to do introduced me to my mentor who pushes work my way while I'm also picking up clients. We have a JV relationship on certain clients as he's too expensive to deal with so we time everything up and split the profit.

    My question would be - What type of work do you want to do?

    I'm sure someone else will provide you with a overview of the practice route.
  • ChrisC94ChrisC94 Registered, MAAT, AATQB Posts: 2
    Hi Neillaw,

    Firstly thank you for responding to my post it's much appreciated. Being honest I'm at the very early stages of this process, so I don't have a business plan in place or anything like that as I'm aware that I won't be in a position to offer my services to the public until I develop my knowledge and understanding of what it means to work in practice. I have done some very basic SWOT analysis hence me asking of possible routes in to gaining experience in a practice environment as this I feel is currently my biggest weakness and biggest barrier to entry. This is something I'm looking to build up to in the next 12 to 18 months so I can begin to offer my services on a part time basis while still working.

    Being a finance manager for a small company has given me experience bookkeeping, accounts preparation, payroll, statutory accounts, budgeting and forecasting, management accounting and some company secretarial work so these are all things I would look to offer. I'm not sure how realistic that is as I only have the experience of doing it for one company rather than multiple different companies in different industries but I feel it's a starting point I can build off.

    Thank you also for detailing your experiences that's certainly helpful and gives me something to think on moving forward.

  • NeillawNeillaw New Member RossendaleMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 241
    Where about's are you in the country.

    Have you had a look at members in your area to offer them a coffee and have a chat about how they started.
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