Mentoring Scheme for Members in Practice

MonsoonMonsoon Font Of All KnowledgePosts: 4,071FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant
The AAT do not have a formal mentoring scheme in place, however they do hold a list of members in practice who, like myself, have volunteered to mentor new MIPs as they start out.

We need more mentors. We also need to make it clear to new MIPs that mentors may be available - all you need to do is ask.


I started out with a mentor, and his help and support was invaluable. Mentoring is ideal for new MIPs who maybe lack confidence, or just want someone to ask 'silly' questions of as they are starting out.

If you would like to volunteer as a mentor, please email the Members In Practice team. I know none of us have enough time and are very busy running our own practices - but if we have enough time to post on here, we have enough time for a regular chat with a new MIP who would likely really appreciate it!

Alternatively, as they do not provide a formal mentoring scheme, I'm sure we can organise it amongst ourselves informally if there is enough interest.

Thanks for reading.
JoKnapek
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Comments

  • GuestGuest Feels At Home Posts: 73Registered
    This is a good scheme, I don’t at the moment volunteer as a monitor but would have no problem in doing so for local new practices. With 20+ years’ post qual experience; 12 as a MIP; I think I have something to offer, but am amazed at some of the knowledge (or lack of) from MIPs. I don’t post often here (from a time point of view) but tend to chip in when I feel something has been mis-interpreted, mis-advised or just wrong - purely on a protective basis, we’ve all got things wrong.

    Looking at it I see 3 types of MIPs, good with knowledge who occasionally get stuck, nervous but fundamentally know there stuff and could do with a reassuring hand now and again and those who are giving it a go because they like the idea and fingers crossed they will get it right.

    The first two types I would be happy to assist, there third however... not.

    This is by no means a criticism of the scheme and, I have regularly taken on board comments by two people here (one who totally outstrips my accounting standards knowledge and one who I guess is in a very similar position to me) and am always interested in new ideas in respect of marketing, technical issues and dealing with certain issues which I believe such a scheme should exist for, not though for book-keepers filling in tax returns. They can use google to find out if entertaining is allowable.
  • Raging PineapplesRaging Pineapples Well-Known Posts: 110Registered
    In those cases, my tutor used to just tell us what to look up. Something like:

    Q: "How do you deal with depreciation for buildings, fixtures and fittings for tax purposes?"
    A: "What you want is Industrial Buildings Allowance (IBA). Note that it's being phased out."
    Q: "How does it work?"
    A: "Pay me and I'll tell you, otherwise Google is your friend."

    That way you're telling them what to look up, but not giving them the answer.
  • KaelaHKaelaH Well-Known Posts: 131FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant
    I think a mentoring scheme sounds like a fantastic idea, as a new MIP it is easy to feel a little lost. I know my stuff with accounts but the whole practice management, finding new clients and quoting for work stuff is where I struggle. I am most definitely one
    of the "lacking in confidence" types and would love nothing more than the odd informal chat to check I'm on the right lines or to glean from others experience.
    I have read your blog Monsoon and love it, its info like that that I need to read!
    If there is anybody that would like to assist a blundering new MIP from MK then it would be much appreciated :o)
  • ademooreademoore Well-Known Posts: 146Registered
    Thanks Monsoon!
    Have emailed them, as certainly would have been a great help to me too when I first started out!
  • lisamarie86lisamarie86 New Member Posts: 10Registered
    Great Idea!

    I have recently completed all the necessary to become a member in practice, and although I am confident in my abilities as an accountant, I have always had someone around me if I have a blank mind moment to reassure me! It would be great to have that once I am self employed, although these forums are a great source of help.

    If anyone here is based in Worcester, and would like to get in touch about mentoring or a buddy I would be most grateful!

    Thanks
  • charlene198charlene198 New Member Posts: 6Registered
    Also New!

    I also have just done the same, filled out all of the paper work, done my homework and got a couple of clients lined up and ready, I don't suppose I can pick someones brains by any chance as I am taking a client over whose accountants currently use Sage and I will be using VT Software??

    Thanks
  • MonsoonMonsoon Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 4,071FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant
    @Guest
    Thanks for the offer - if you haven't already, please do email the MIP team to let them know your availability.
    Don't dismiss the type 3's - I was one once! Admittedly with a mentor from the word go, but I was indeed a type 3 and I like to think I turned out ok....

    @Chris, that's a good approach. It took me a long time to know WHERE to look for things and how to research - that's half the skill of the job!

    @KaelaH, thanks for the kind words about the blog.
    Have you emailed the MIP team to ask for a mentor? If not, I think that ought to be your first port of call (as it's good for them to see how much the mentoring thing is being used). If they can't find you one, feel free to come back here and we will see if we can't sort you out!

    @Ade - Thank you! Very pleased to hear it!

    @LisaMarie and Charlene - congrats on the MIP status. As above, please email the MIP team first and if they can't sort you out, come back to us and we will see what we can do :)
  • RAZRAZ Just Joined Posts: 3Registered
    Raz

    This is very interesting as I feel I am need of a mentor. I am in Yr 2 of being MIP. My practice has grown and I need to provide a nominee for renewal of my licence. Any idea how I go about it. I do have AAT contact who are well established and not local. I am looking for someone who is in early years of establishment of the practice who requires mutual favour. I am based in Marlow in Buckinghamshire.

    I would appreciate any ideas or suggestions
  • nimacnimac New Member Posts: 5Registered
    Re Guests reply above on the subject of bookkeepers, totally unnecessary comment i feel.

    I would consider myself a bookkeeper, in the process of studying with the ACCA but still not knowledgeable enough to call myself anything more.

    Bookkeepers do get a hard time on this and other forums eg UK Business Forums, i can understand why accountants criticise us so much - they want to put into question our worth as a profession to scare potential customers away from us so they can get their bookkeeping business which will lead onto the more lucratrive work such as year ends accounts etc.... so purely a cynical ploy.

    If it wasnt for us bookkeepers, the accountants wouldn't have any body to do the menial data entry so be nice to us!!!!!!

    Most bookkeepers dont get involved in anything above their knowledge level and its the same old story - there may be bad bookkepers but there are also bad accountants as well.

    Please don tell me you haven't googled once in a while to check on something!!
  • MonsoonMonsoon Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 4,071FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant
    RAZ, have you contacted AAT direct? I've discovered AAT may only be trying to link mentors in the local area to the mentee, which in this electronic day and age isn't necessary. You don't sound like the typical mentee as you're already in practice and more like you're looking for a reciprocal arrangeement. I'm not sure what to suggest on this one other than creating a thread with your requirements in the MIP forum here and seeing if anyone is interested.
    nimac wrote: »
    Bookkeepers do get a hard time on this and other forums eg UK Business Forums, i can understand why accountants criticise us so much - they want to put into question our worth as a profession to scare potential customers away from us so they can get their bookkeeping business which will lead onto the more lucratrive work such as year ends accounts etc.... so purely a cynical ploy.
    That's also unfair, nimac. Bookeeppers and accountants can co-exist quite happily. A lot of accountants just plain don't want to do bookkeeping and having links with decent bookkeepers is a must for them.
    nimac wrote: »
    its the same old story - there may be bad bookkepers but there are also bad accountants as well.
    That's absolutely true.
    nimac wrote: »
    Please don tell me you haven't googled once in a while to check on something!!
    Every day, probably.
  • RAZRAZ Just Joined Posts: 3Registered
    Nominee For Cover

    Thank you Monsoon. I have contacted AAT member in Practice Team direct and they have suggested that I use the forum to find a nominee. I await response here.
  • MonsoonMonsoon Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 4,071FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant
    RAZ wrote: »
    Thank you Monsoon. I have contacted AAT member in Practice Team direct and they have suggested that I use the forum to find a nominee. I await response here.

    In which case you need to start a new thread in the Members in Practice forum; more people will look at that than check this thread, as this is for mentors not continuity of practice nominees :)
  • Paul CPaul C Well-Known Posts: 193Registered
    Raz - you could try your local AAT branch meetings. Lots of friendly faces there who could possibly help out.

    Sorry Monsoon - I don't mean to divert the thread away from topic.
  • mmrommro Settling In Nicely Posts: 21Registered
    Monsoon,

    could you please send me your blog?

    thanks
    Maysa
  • MonsoonMonsoon Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 4,071FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant
    mmro wrote: »
    Monsoon,

    could you please send me your blog?

    thanks
    Maysa
    Click the link in my signature :)
  • LynWestLynWest Well-Known Posts: 122Registered
    I think it is a great idea, this forum is great for getting a second opinion or reaffirming what you think. I am relatively new and it is different working on your own, not having someone to bounce your thoughts off or when your mind goes blank and this forum is great for that, but if there was a mentoring scheme that would give newbees confidence a boost. When i become a seasoned pro i would be more than happy to help a newbee. Many thanks everyone for your help and advice so far :)
  • imeldabyeimeldabye Well-Known Posts: 147Registered
    I would like to apply to be mentored - be it for a fixed period or until the time comes when my confidence and experience allow me to move on. Do I apply to the MIP team at AAT or do I stalk seasoned pros on the forum?
  • MonsoonMonsoon Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 4,071FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant
    You can email the MIP team but they seem to try and match mentors who are local to you. Mostly you can stalk us lot. In fact, PM me your email address and I'm happy to say hi :)
  • AlbotAlbot New Member Posts: 10Registered
    Is there any mentors in the North East, and how much do you pay for them ? I think this is a very good idea Ive only been member in practice 2 years and have come across many problems, if I had a mentor this would surley be a good thing !!!
  • MonsoonMonsoon Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 4,071FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant
    Mentors are supposed to be free :)
  • deanshepherddeanshepherd Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 1,809Registered
    I mentor a couple of accountants and was actually thinking this morning about rolling it out as a chargeable service (not to my existing ones, just to new mentees - in case they are reading this!!).

    A client of mine works solely as an informed 'sounding board' for design businesses to have regular discussions about how their businesses are going and how they can move forward. I was thinking I could probably do something similar for new (and old) MIPs.

    Thoughts?
  • imeldabyeimeldabye Well-Known Posts: 147Registered
    well that kind of goes against the goodwill (no pun intended:001_smile:) nature of the scheme but having said that, it would mean that the mentoring service would be more effective I think. different charges for email/phone/face to face? well i might be interested- really depends on cost. where are you based deanshepherd?
  • deanshepherddeanshepherd Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 1,809Registered
    I am all for the AATs mentor scheme continuing and agree it should be unpaid. I am disappointed that AAT offers zero guidance or advice for its mentors and it is therefore somewhat luck of the draw who you get and how much they are willing or able to help.

    The service I would offer on a paid basis would be more akin to a combination of technical support, guidance and coaching depending on what is required.

    I am based in South West London.
  • imeldabyeimeldabye Well-Known Posts: 147Registered
    I am also in South West London. Shall I PM you?
  • deanshepherddeanshepherd Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 1,809Registered
    Please do.
  • TalulahbellTalulahbell Just Joined Posts: 2Registered
    Hi, My friend and I are in our last year of studying the AAT so hopefully we will qualify in June and from there we would like to run our own business, although we would love a mentor just to help us on where to start. we've only decided on a couple of things, but feel it would be valuable to have a mentor just to give us a little confidence to ensure that things we are doing for the business is correct.
    So if there is anyone out there that can help please do.
  • SusieQtipsSusieQtips Feels At Home Posts: 65Registered
    I'm not sure if I should be replying to this thread or starting a new one. I qualified in November 2011 and I am currently employed in an accounts role for a government department. I am still doing the same role that I have been doing for 5years and due to a recruitment ban, promotion ban and no payrises there is not much scope for progression. The way the public sector is going, I may not even have a job in the future.
    I would like to continue in my current job but start to do some work from home, perhaps starting with a sole trader and hopefully build up a very small client base by word and mouth. This is mainly for experience as if I do not use what I have learnt from my AAT studies I will loose the knowledge, it would also give me practical experience of working with clients and should I find myself in a position of being without employment I would have something of a base to work with and build upon.
    I have no knowledge of how an accounting practice works and wondered if to approach a local accountant to see if he would mentor me in exchange for me perhaps doing some work for him on a voluntary basis. Does this sound a reasonable request or is it unreasonable? I would be grateful for any suggestions on how to approach this.
  • MoominyakMoominyak Feels At Home Posts: 38Registered
    SusieQtips wrote: »
    I would like to continue in my current job but start to do some work from home, perhaps starting with a sole trader and hopefully build up a very small client base by word and mouth.
    I ... wondered if to approach a local accountant to see if he would mentor me in exchange for me perhaps doing some work for him on a voluntary basis. Does this sound a reasonable request or is it unreasonable? I would be grateful for any suggestions on how to approach this.

    Hi Susie,

    I'm in a similar situation, the main difference being that I qualified in 2002 :blushing: Have been in my current job for 7 years, and have never worked in a practice - although I'm fine with systems, procedures etc (some might call me a control freak - in fact, they frequently do!).

    Have just registered with the MIP scheme and was approved for everything except tax work as I have no real experience in this area - AAT advised that I require 6 months' experience to be signed off by (you guessed it) a mentor.

    I asked a CA known to me about possibly undertaking some of his work, but he was (rightly) concerned about client confidentiality unless he were to employ me, which neither of us wanted! He has kindly offered to check any computations I do, which AAT say is fine, so I can still offer to do tax returns etc.

    My next plan was to do as you suggest, and approach local accountants about doing (eg) a day per week unpaid in order to gain the experience. Although I'm not ready to slash my salary by 20% just yet...! I'd be interested to hear if you manage to get into a practice in this way, Susie.

    So... I'm really here to see if there is anybody in the Inverness area prepared to act as my mentor (although I do have the CA on stand-by, I'm loathe to pester him too much and take advantage of his kindness).

    Oh, and I'm definitely a Type 3 (see posts #2 and #8). Also, to sneeringly refer to "book-keepers filling in tax returns" (Guest, post #2) is not only rude, but also misleading - as AAT classes the two activities separately. I had a horrible vision of having to tell any clients that they'd have to do their own tax return (or worse, take it to another accountant) until I went back to AAT about the mentor!
  • SusieQtipsSusieQtips Feels At Home Posts: 65Registered
    Hi Carolyn

    I have approached local accountants and would love to have a more in depth discussion with you, would you mind if I privately emailed you?


    Moominyak wrote: »
    Hi Susie,

    I'm in a similar situation, the main difference being that I qualified in 2002 :blushing: Have been in my current job for 7 years, and have never worked in a practice - although I'm fine with systems, procedures etc (some might call me a control freak - in fact, they frequently do!).

    Have just registered with the MIP scheme and was approved for everything except tax work as I have no real experience in this area - AAT advised that I require 6 months' experience to be signed off by (you guessed it) a mentor.

    I asked a CA known to me about possibly undertaking some of his work, but he was (rightly) concerned about client confidentiality unless he were to employ me, which neither of us wanted! He has kindly offered to check any computations I do, which AAT say is fine, so I can still offer to do tax returns etc.

    My next plan was to do as you suggest, and approach local accountants about doing (eg) a day per week unpaid in order to gain the experience. Although I'm not ready to slash my salary by 20% just yet...! I'd be interested to hear if you manage to get into a practice in this way, Susie.

    So... I'm really here to see if there is anybody in the Inverness area prepared to act as my mentor (although I do have the CA on stand-by, I'm loathe to pester him too much and take advantage of his kindness).

    Oh, and I'm definitely a Type 3 (see posts #2 and #8). Also, to sneeringly refer to "book-keepers filling in tax returns" (Guest, post #2) is not only rude, but also misleading - as AAT classes the two activities separately. I had a horrible vision of having to tell any clients that they'd have to do their own tax return (or worse, take it to another accountant) until I went back to AAT about the mentor!
  • MoominyakMoominyak Feels At Home Posts: 38Registered
    Not at all Susie, I'm logging off for tonight but I'll pick up your message soon :)
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