Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now?

LondonMatt
LondonMatt Experienced MentorRegistered Posts: 1,110
Hi

I don't work in accounts and I'm paying for the first year aat (diploma route) myself. I'm just coming to the first exam (IAC?) next week and feel fairly confident. But I want to know if you think that what I've learned so far is enough to get a job in an accounts related role, however low down? I have no real idea of what would be expected of me or what employers are looking for. What I've been doing feels pretty basic, but I don't want to try to get a job later on with absolutely no real life experience of accounts. I also don't want to lose the knowledge I have because I'm not using it, if that makes sense?

So would the knowledge I have now be enough to get a job in accounts? What kind of role would I be ready for? Should I wait until June when I have the first year under my belt? Should I stay or should I go?? Questions, questions, questions!

Any advice will be much appreciated

Cheers
Matt
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Comments

  • Cullen
    Cullen Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 592
    Start applying for whatever jobs come up. Any employer would be keen to employ someone who has commited considerable time and expense to study towards a professional qualification.
    Good luck!
  • Gianni
    Gianni Feels At Home Registered Posts: 99
    I guess you're just about to sit the double entry paper. There will be a lot of roles for the level you're at. If I was you I'd look at accounts assistant roles as oppose specific roles such as credit controller etc.

    At least if you work as an 'accounts assistant' you get broad experience. You have to remember, if you're studying for an accounts qualification there's no better learning place than an accounts environment.
  • purplegirl
    purplegirl Feels At Home Registered Posts: 47
    Believe me, you probably already know a lot more than people who are already in the lower-end accounting roles!
    Good luck for next week!
  • LondonMatt
    LondonMatt Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 1,110
    Thanks for all your advice. I think I will now leave for something in accounts. It will be tough though, I do like it here and my boss has been great :(
    I now have all the fun of trying to find a job that’s not too far away, too low-paid or with a crappy boss. Oh, and with christmas around the corner, my money's not going to be tight is it...:001_unsure:
    Wish me luck!:thumbup:
  • philipclement
    philipclement Just Joined Registered Posts: 2
    you should go

    i was in a a similar position that your in. last year i was prepared to pay for my own aat learning then i discovered the apprenticeship route and was advised to start looking around for accounts jobs because a lot of employers contribute towards the aat qualification. lucky enough two jobs come up n i was offered both but decided to go for the broader accounts assistant role because you dabble with a bit of everything. the other job payroll administrator was still attractive but the role was highly specialised and supprisingly they didnt support the aat so i wud of still had to pay. make sure when your going for interviews that you find out if they will support you in your learning not only at aat level but also behond that and anything that may improve your work for example short computer course or public speaking courses. employers who support their employees in learning are generally good places of work so finding out at interview will help you decide if you want the job. good luck:thumbup1:
  • burg
    burg Experienced Mentor GloucesterModerator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,441
    I was in a similar situation to you.

    I had learned some sage bookkeeping from my mother and entered AAT at intermediate level after doing the online skills test. I was working as a Pharmacy Technician and took one day off a week to study.

    I started in September 2006 and by November decided to start looking.

    It takes a lot to convince those in accounts that you are really serious about your move so do show you are keen and sure of your decision. It takes patience as many don't want to take the risk.

    I registered with agencies to just get interviews as the more I could get the higher chance of someone giving me that break.

    I did eventually in June this year start at a practice and they have been great letting me get on with things. I have applied all what I had learned and am now looking at what further studies to do after AAT.

    My point is you will get knock backs but stick with it as you will great a break eventually.

    Best of luck.
    Regards,

    Burg
  • laurajane2020
    laurajane2020 Just Joined Registered Posts: 1
    Hi

    Just wanted to say go for it. When i startedd in account 4 years ago, i didnt even have an intention of doing the AAT. I started off in purchase ledger processing invoices, then heard a bit more about the AAT. I have now left that company and work for a very large software firm as an account assistant and i am about to take my fianl exams (as in tomorrow, OMG!). But companies out there will give you a chance as long as you show willing, the wages may not be good to sart with, but as long as you can put up with that you can get some great experience. I have found that a lot of employers will pay for your education aswell, which is great as technician is well expensive.

    But anyways like i said there really are plenty of companies that will give you a chance.

    Good luck XxX
  • jorja1986
    jorja1986 Well-Known Registered Posts: 210
    Just wanted to say good luck.

    you seem to be being very sensible and not expecting to go into the top jobs straight away.

    I always feel that it is better to start at the bottom and work your way up. That way you get a through practical understanding of all the jobs and tasks involved with account preparation.

    I started taking finance admin jobs, and now I am going into practice again as a trainee accountant. Most employers would look for someone who is willing and keen to learn. And who will also go that extra bit to make sure they understood the role.

    The place I am going to is a very large company, and their employment tact is to employ keen hard working people who are willing to help the business. A basic understanding is required, but it sounds like you have the basic ground work. Try not to talk yourself out of a job either. If you havent done something in previous employment, find a way to explain you have not had an opportunity to do it rather than "I cant do that" (found that out the hard way).

    January is just around the corner. Good luck and happy job hunting!
  • sarah1989
    sarah1989 New Member Registered Posts: 5
    Hi

    Just wanted to say you should definately try find somewhere in accounts, i'm 18 and now at technician level :thumbup:but when i first left school i went straight to practices to look for a job where i could apply my training as i knew i wnated to do aat; so not only did i have no experience in accounts i had no experience of full time working at all.

    I applied with a few recruiment agencies but they didn't get me too far so i went about it myself and wrote around all the accountants and finance companies in my local area and luckily found the perfect job.

    So it shows even though i was young and had no experience at all i got it eventually.

    Sarah
  • blobbyh
    blobbyh Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,415
    I haven't joined in this thread yet but it's an old theme that seemed to appear on a cyclical basis several times over on the old forums.

    To me, it seems there are too many who pass the AAT exams and expect or even feel they deserve the immediate rewards a la silver spoon syndrome while not holding any relevant experience. I know this will sound immensely blunt but welcome to real life - many of us have had to do jobs we rather wouldn't while keeping our eyes open for the golden break. In this respect, accountancy is little different to any other profession whether it's medicine, law etc. Holding out endlessly for your 'ideal' role will only pigeonhole you long term, possibly make you slightly resentful while severely limiting your options and employability factor.

    There's another way of looking at this which is NOT taking an accounts related job but rather working your way inside a company doing a different role. Let them know you have accounts experience and are studying on an ongoing basis and this may open up surprising new avenues for many of you. This could be through becoming a credit controller, sales administrator, goods inwards inspector, quality control auditor etc. Many people within large organisations achieve their promotions this way and few at the higher echelons will still be doing the same job they were when they joined the company. I've seen delivery drivers become senior salespeople, office juniors become company accountants, accountants become managing directors. Rule out nothing and keep all sources open!
  • Nich
    Nich Feels At Home Registered Posts: 49
    I started as an Accounts Assistant almost 4 years ago, at the time i wasnt studying AAT, just wanted to get to know accounts. I now have 1 exam left at Technician Level and am the Accounts Manager for my company.

    I had no Accounts knowledge when i started but joined at the bottom, learnt the work and worked my way up to Manager. If you are willing to start at the bottom, and work hard, I'm sure you will find a job!

    Good luck!
  • matt
    matt New Member Registered Posts: 10
    Hi,

    Just wanted to say go for it. I started in credit control for 3 years paying for AAT myself for foundation and intermediate I am now an assistant accountant at Technician level so it is definetely worth it.

    Keep up the good work!
  • sunny
    sunny Feels At Home Registered Posts: 43
    Great.
    But, does it only provide jobs in India?
  • sunny
    sunny Feels At Home Registered Posts: 43
    If a person has some experiences in non-accounting field at manager level, do you think employer will think he is over qualified when he applies for an accounts assistant role? How can they be persuader to give him an interview?
    Could you share your experience in changing career? Thank you very much.
  • Bluewednesday
    Bluewednesday Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 1,624
    I would say no it doesn't make you over qualified. I had been a retail branch manager before going into accountancy as an accounts assistant but you can just emphasise the skills you have, with me it would be dealing with people, working under pressure, organisation etc etc etc
  • Gal_NikNak
    Gal_NikNak New Member Registered Posts: 7
    Your not alone......

    Hello There...

    I worked at Big Blue Chip for a number of years as a Service Analyst and i was engaged in typical service analyst activities (performance analysis / MI reporting / service improvements etc), i then progressed onto Cost Analyst role where my interest in Finance was sparked. Unfortunately this was only a short term contract. After various other assignment i decided that i would like to get some experience of (Service) Governance so i joined one of the big Pharma's as a Senior Service Analyst and at the same time I decided to study for an accounting qualification (AAT).

    I'm due to start technician in Mar08 and i plan to progress on to CIMA. I'm looking to make to side step now rather than get too pigeon holed into IT Service Management.

    I've registered with a few good agencies (Robert Walters, Hayes etc) and i know the type of role i'm looking for - a role that will support my development and have opportunities for progression, whilst no dis-regarding my analytical experience and because of these skills i do not plan to start from the bottom...

    I had 2 interviews just before the xmas break and have the 2nd interviews shortly, so I guess what i'm saying is that you need to understand yourself and what you want, understand and recognise what transferable skills/attributes you have and really market yourself..... :thumbup:
  • AatAbi
    AatAbi Feels At Home Registered Posts: 47
    LondonMatt wrote: »
    Hi

    I don't work in accounts and I'm paying for the first year aat (diploma route) myself. I'm just coming to the first exam (IAC?) next week and feel fairly confident. But I want to know if you think that what I've learned so far is enough to get a job in an accounts related role, however low down? I have no real idea of what would be expected of me or what employers are looking for. What I've been doing feels pretty basic, but I don't want to try to get a job later on with absolutely no real life experience of accounts. I also don't want to lose the knowledge I have because I'm not using it, if that makes sense?

    So would the knowledge I have now be enough to get a job in accounts? What kind of role would I be ready for? Should I wait until June when I have the first year under my belt? Should I stay or should I go?? Questions, questions, questions!

    Any advice will be much appreciated

    Cheers
    Matt

    Tell you what mate you need someone to be honest with you, and I will.
    Finish the 1st year and find yourself a job, DON'T go on the 2nd year without a job, more you learn accounting more you reduce your chances of getting a job and this because you will be (over qualified) , yes the 2nd year means you are over qualified for (I'd say) 50% of the advirtised jobs.

    .
  • furryfeet1690
    furryfeet1690 Just Joined Registered Posts: 3
    I'm in the same situation as LondonMatt. I've just finished my foundation exam in December and i start intermediate level the end of the month, i dont currently work in an accounts environment though, and was wondering if i have gained enough skills to work in accounts right now.
  • blobbyh
    blobbyh Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,415
    AatAbi wrote: »
    Tell you what mate you need someone to be honest with you, and I will.
    Finish the 1st year and find yourself a job, DON'T go on the 2nd year without a job, more you learn accounting more you reduce your chances of getting a job and this because you will be (over qualified) , yes the 2nd year means you are over qualified for (I'd say) 50% of the advirtised jobs.

    Sorry Abi, but unless I've disastrously misunderstood your post there, in my very blunt opinion that's a load of tosh and quite ill advised. Are you seriously saying that completing Intermediate could make someone overqualified? Not even remotely - if anything it's the opposite since Intermediate is the stage where people really start to build true accounting skills that continue through Technician and beyond. While a CIMA or ACCA member may be considered 'overqualified' to do simple ledger work, it's very unlikley an Intermediate will.

    Unless you're extremely lucky, passing Foundation alone is unlikely to land you a job in accounts beyond simple ledger clerks. Having said that, the ledger clerk role should not to be sniffed at either as many seem to set their sights too high too early. As with all walks of life, unless on-the-job training is being offered by the employer, don't go for a job you cannot yet do but always go for the ones you know you can. From recent bitter experience, it's better to be 'overqualified' and doing a 'simple' job - your skills will usually be recognised leading to further opportunities - rather than being 'underqualified' and attempting a complex job which will only lead to disaster.
  • AatAbi
    AatAbi Feels At Home Registered Posts: 47
    blobbyh wrote: »
    Sorry Abi, but unless I've disastrously misunderstood your post there, in my very blunt opinion that's a load of tosh and quite ill advised. Are you seriously saying that completing Intermediate could make someone overqualified? Not even remotely - if anything it's the opposite since Intermediate is the stage where people really start to build true accounting skills that continue through Technician and beyond. While a CIMA or ACCA member may be considered 'overqualified' to do simple ledger work, it's very unlikley an Intermediate will.

    Unless you're extremely lucky, passing Foundation alone is unlikely to land you a job in accounts beyond simple ledger clerks. Having said that, the ledger clerk role should not to be sniffed at either as many seem to set their sights too high too early. As with all walks of life, unless on-the-job training is being offered by the employer, don't go for a job you cannot yet do but always go for the ones you know you can. From recent bitter experience, it's better to be 'overqualified' and doing a 'simple' job - your skills will usually be recognised leading to further opportunities - rather than being 'underqualified' and attempting a complex job which will only lead to disaster.

    I can't understand the meaning of "extremely lucky" as 90% of the people on my course are people who already working in accounts. the reason why the studying AAT is because it's the cheapest choice for their employer or the lowest qualifications to gain so you don't leave for a better job after you finish.
    you don't need to be extremely lucky to get a job in accounting.

    I opened my case study which I have to prepare a report based on it, people who are working in the accounts are as follow:
    first member me (studying AAt tech-not yet qualified ) ,Purchase ledg (aat foundation), sales ledger clerk (none) stock control and costing tech (none) ,payroll and personnel database clerk (none)

    This is what AAT teaching us? people with no qualifications are capable of doing the job.

    who's to blame?! me?!


    Best regards
  • Jan
    Jan Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 654
    I can't understand the meaning of "extremely lucky" as 90% of the people on my course are people who already working in accounts. the reason why the studying AAT is because it's the cheapest choice for their employer or the lowest qualifications to gain so you don't leave for a better job after you finish. you don't need to be extremely lucky to get a job in accounting.

    I'm surprised nobody has replied to this post - maybe its because they didn't want to drift away from the original poster's question.

    I take it your employer is paying for your cheap course and that you are learning nothing from it? Then why are you doing it and why is your employer wasting his/her money on you?

    Yes it is a risk employers take when they pay for training for their staff (in any employment not just accounts), but to suggest that they choose the AAT only because it is the cheapest is nonsense! And surely if they need someone with more qualifications/knowledge than gained through AAT then they would support futher study? Then again if their business doesn't need that why should they pay for it - it's not going to benefit them. If the employee wants to learn more than yes, you would go and find a better job. The AAT is a good place to start - in my last job one of the trainee accountants went straight into ACCA, found it too difficult and left. They started his replacement on AAT - at least that way they had a qualified techncian if he did not go on to ACCA and he would have a qualifacation.
    This is what AAT teaching us? people with no qualifications are capable of doing the job.

    And many people do - but does that mean they are doing it correctly? Many will be, but I'm sure there are accountants out there who spend hours sorting out the errors made by people who don't do the job properly in the first place - and consequently charge the client accordingly.

    Sorry LondonMatt to hi-jack your thread! I think you should continue with your studies, whilst looking for a job in accounts. Does your present employer know of your interest ? Is there anything you could do there at the moment? And when you say accounts, where do you want to work? In industry or practice - there are lots of different opportunites out there. Good luck

    Jan
  • AatAbi
    AatAbi Feels At Home Registered Posts: 47
    Jan wrote: »
    I'm surprised nobody has replied to this post - maybe its because they didn't want to drift away from the original poster's question.

    I take it your employer is paying for your cheap course and that you are learning nothing from it? Then why are you doing it and why is your employer wasting his/her money on you?

    Yes it is a risk employers take when they pay for training for their staff (in any employment not just accounts), but to suggest that they choose the AAT only because it is the cheapest is nonsense! And surely if they need someone with more qualifications/knowledge than gained through AAT then they would support futher study? Then again if their business doesn't need that why should they pay for it - it's not going to benefit them. If the employee wants to learn more than yes, you would go and find a better job. The AAT is a good place to start - in my last job one of the trainee accountants went straight into ACCA, found it too difficult and left. They started his replacement on AAT - at least that way they had a qualified techncian if he did not go on to ACCA and he would have a qualifacation.



    And many people do - but does that mean they are doing it correctly? Many will be, but I'm sure there are accountants out there who spend hours sorting out the errors made by people who don't do the job properly in the first place - and consequently charge the client accordingly.

    Sorry LondonMatt to hi-jack your thread! I think you should continue with your studies, whilst looking for a job in accounts. Does your present employer know of your interest ? Is there anything you could do there at the moment? And when you say accounts, where do you want to work? In industry or practice - there are lots of different opportunites out there. Good luck

    Jan


    "I take it your employer is paying for your cheap course and that you are learning nothing from it? Then why are you doing it and why is your employer wasting his/her money on you?"
    I did not say that, but if you work in a big a company you will know that they will benefit from a course more than the person who is actually studying it, simply these course will apear on loads of reports which will be read by share holders, so they want to let the share holders know that the are giving a quality training to their staff but in the same time they dont want to give something special so they wont lose when the person leaves.


    You know Jan, you have different opinion from what I have.

    Maybe be this is the case in Yorkshire, is it?! I should move there ASAP.

    I'm sure it is the case in Hell, where blobbyh lives.

    I've said it and will keep saying it, find your self a job in accounts and do what ever course you want,as simple as that, Don't leave it till late.Intermediate is a bit late.
  • Gem7321
    Gem7321 Experienced Mentor DevonMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,438
    Do they not have any trainee accounting technician jobs where you're all from? :confused1:
  • moosh
    moosh Feels At Home Registered Posts: 28
    I have been working in accounts for 9 years. I only started AAT in 2005, thus I have been working for 6 1/5 years as accounts assistance with no accounts qualifications. As long as you have common sense you'll be okay
  • LondonMatt
    LondonMatt Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 1,110
    Hey, just to let you all know, I have a job interview tommorow (its actually the second interview and should have happened on friday but got cancelled). The job I'm going for is purchase ledger clerk, but having just re-read this thread, I'm wondering if the position is good for me? A few of you went into an accounts assisstant type role because it gives you a broader experience of accounts. I know I have no experience and that beggars can't be chosers etc, but if I get this job and then get fully AAT qaulified in 2/3 yrs, will I be able to 'escape' purchase ledger jobs easily and perhaps move on to accounts assisstant or whatever? Or will employers just see me as a purchase ledger clerk only? Do purchase ledger clerks generally find it easy to move on?

    Just trying to look ahead, but at the end of the day, it doesn't matter, because the job is better than the one I'm at now and for -ever so slightly - more money :001_smile:
  • Jan
    Jan Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 654
    Congratulations and good luck tomorrow.

    You have already answered your own question - look at it as the first step on the ladder. Whether you get pigeon holed or not depends to a certain extent on you.

    Lets hope your next post is to tell us you have got the job!
  • WendyJ
    WendyJ Just Joined Registered Posts: 2
    Just to say, good luck with the interview. Once you get a new job, you can get the best experience that you can and hopefully support with your studies. Sometimes, you never know where that first step will lead to, what opportunities may arise.
    Go for it and good luck.
  • LondonMatt
    LondonMatt Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 1,110
    Just found out I didn't get the job :(
    It’s a shame, but I'm not surprised to be honest, I thought I done well enough in the second interview, but once I thought about it afterwards, I could tell he wouldn't give it to me :( In the first interview, the girl (doing the final year of AAT btw) was saying that it's basically a data inputting role and that I would need to be really accurate. So in the second interview with the financial controller, I said that in my job now its basically data inputing and I'm really accurate, (but there is no progression in my company, which is why I want to leave), thinking that’s what he wants to hear. But later on he somehow turned that into a bad thing by saying that the job is just like the one I have now, and if I want to leave them…
    Also, I say I'm very serious about gaining a career in accounts (like the advert he posted said he wanted!), so I talk about going on the ACCA or CIMA after AAT, but later on he says that it’s a small department with limited progression, which I think was him suggesting he doesn't want a ACCA/CIMA person, 'cos they'd end up leaving - the agent replied saying that they thought I'd get to the same level as the first interviewer too quickly, although she was keen on hiring me. They went with someone junior apparently :(
    Annoyed, but at least its good practice for future interviews - must learn not to fall into those same bloody traps!
  • laurenw
    laurenw Feels At Home Registered Posts: 42
    Hi London Matt,

    I'm sorry to hear you didn't get the job. Don't let this put you off, it's all good experience at the end of the day.

    I started my AAT at intermediate level last year and had no accounts experience at all, it wasn't until 6 months into my intermediate level, i decided to change and found an accounting role, which was as an accounts administrator. I since left due to the companies relocation.

    Im now doing my Technician year and have found another job as accounts assistant with study support.

    The best option would be to join a recruitment agency, i got my first job through Hayes and the second through RK Accountancy, it only took around a month but was worth the wait.

    Both were very helpful and found me a range of jobs.

    Hope this helps :001_smile:
  • LondonMatt
    LondonMatt Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 1,110
    Lauren, I need all the help I can get, lol

    I was thinking about registering properly with agencies, but I can't temp and need permanent work - to many bills! So not sure if I could afford to leave this job for a 3/4 month contract with no guarantee I'd get another job at the other end?
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