Completed Foundation Certificate, need advice on next steps with no work experience!

Hi guys,

I'm really lost and after some advice please. I completed my Level 2 foundation certificate in Accounting last summer with a distinction however I haven't worked in Accounting yet so have no real world experience. I live in rural Wales with not many opportunities locally, although I have been applying for jobs in Newport and Cardiff but am just not getting anyway. I get very few interviews and haven't succeeded in those I've had, mostly due to my lack of experience. It's a real catch 22.

I've contacted local accountants looking for even just 1 day a month work experience but they're all too busy. I work full time in retail but have one week day off a week where I'd really like to get some work experience to pad out my CV but I just don't know how to get any.

My dream is to set up my own business eventually and I have lots of friends/family who are self employed and want my help with accounts/bookkeeping but I'm just not in a position yet.

What do you guys with more experience than me see as the most important next steps?! I'm so confused and don't want this qualification going to waste.

I looked at getting an AAT bookkeeping licence but I need a professional reference which I can't get currently.

Thanks in advance all :)


  • colls10
    colls10 AATQB Posts: 24
    Hi Laura, I feel your pain, but think you probably have a few more years on me !! I completed up to and including the level 3 advanced diploma which includes the advanced bookkeeping. I’m a career changer and had hoped it would be easier finding someone to at least give me some shadow work to build up my experience . Have you got a volunteer group where you live or on line you can search die bookkeeping roles ? A lot of charities and churches do look for someone to help them , which could help. I have tried this avenue and had a couple of short term places. Just make sure it is for bookkeeping not general charity work !!!! I would defiantly suggest doing the advanced bookkeeping qualification to add to you foundation as that has a lot of learning around varying end of year statements which are important!! I have given up on Trying to get anywhere through employment due to lack of skills so have set up on my own . And gained a licence through the I A B ( who also let me know of opportunities that are suitable ) don’t give up. Keep on studying while looking to keep things fresh, as I have found and what I fear most is the leaner skills if not being used become a bit rusty !!! Virtue favours the brave so do not give up at all !!!!!
  • Laurajane888
    Laurajane888 Registered Posts: 2
    Thank you so much for your thoughtful response and sorry it's taken me so long to write back!

    Am I suitable qualified/allowed to volunteer to do the books for charities etc? It's something I could look in to bit as I don't have qualified bookkeeper status, or any practical experience, I figured I wouldn't be allowed to do it yet?

    Based off your reply I'm seriously considering enrolling to do my level 3 this month. I'd like to buckle down and try to complete it in 6 months. It's not ideal as I didn't really want to pay for another course without having some experience first but seems I'm stuck in a bit of a catch 22. Maybe I will look more attractive to employers if they can see I'm continuing my studies and really am committed.

    I don't know anything about the IAB? I'm curious, do you have any experience if you've set up on your own? As looking at achieving AAT qualified bookkeeper status in order to set up on me own, it states that I'd need a professional reference so some work experience. Otherwise setting up on my own is definitely something I'd consider.

    Thanks for the advice. And I'm 33! Not old by any means but clocks ticking lol.
  • colls10
    colls10 AATQB Posts: 24
    edited June 2019
    It’s a hard one and tricky at the same time. For starters, anyone can set up as a book keeper or accountant. Will they get far or many customers ? Doubtfully . If you go it alone, you will need to have private indemnity insurance and be covered for money laundering. This you can pay for from HMRC. Now, without any further qualifications or experience , getting those two may prove difficult as it may be seen you actually are just starting out and have little experience or knowledge . So do the level 3. If it’s just the bookkeeping you want, look to do just the advanced bookkeeping qualification . That will get you the AATQB status . I took level 3 advanced diploma. It’s a step up from the foundation, but you learn a lot through it that’s very useful. If you get the level 3, you should be able to join the IAB using the aat qualifications as exemptions and get in as a member of the IAB (MIAB) and from there you can apply for a licence . There are costs for this, but that also gives you there money laundering (not monkey laundering) cover and access to a few useful risk assessment platforms to use when you take on clients plus a whole host of resources .look up the I a b, international association of bookkeepers.
    Aat will need you to get to aatqb, and have prove work experience before considering licence . It’s all about confidence though, it’s ok having a licence etc, but you need to be confident in what you are offering clients.
    Also, aat teaches mostly manual bookkeeping? It’s cloud accounting which really is the key to helping clients now (Xero,quickbooks etc ) hope this helps a bit please ask again if not
  • douglasstroud
    douglasstroud Registered Posts: 295 Dedicated contributor ? ? ?
    "but that also gives you their monkey laundering cover"

    Not sure that Monkey Laundering is entirely ethical or even legal!
  • colls10
    colls10 AATQB Posts: 24
    edited June 2019
    You would be surprised . Many monkeys are quietly laundering money to rebuild there habitat that we have made un sustainable . Beware. NEVER TRUST A MONKEY WITH YOUR LAUNDRY .( to be fair i was replying quickly before picking kids up from school )
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