Home For AAT student members AQ 2013 AAT Level 2 (Level 5 in Scotland)

finding a entry job

caroline23caroline23 Feels At HomeRegistered Posts: 53
I have level 2 complete moving onto level 3 and am looking for an entry level job into accounting, i currently work in admin so was thinking of an accounts administration job however looking at the job description i feel as if i am unqualified even for that?

Can anyone tell me how they got into it? Or are planning on doing so?


  • SuzDunnnSuzDunnn Just Joined Registered Posts: 3

    Watching this with interest, because I'm in a similar situation. I've just started Level 3, and am booked to take AP1 and AP2 next month. My most recent jobs have been admin related, for the last couple of years. Hoping to get an entry level position in the autumn. We'll see if that's realistic! I haven't been working since Easter in order to concentrate on my studies.

    I think the advice is to really emphasise your transferable skills on your CV. Presumably you are computer literate, used to working in an office, familiar with office procedures and can interact with co-workers/work in a team? Not everyone can say that! Of course you also have your level 2 complete. I would say that no way are you unqualified. Getting a foot in the door might be another matter.

    Can you get any relevant voluntary experience to add to your CV? I've volunteered to be school PTA treasurer from September. I'd be interested to know if anyone else get an entry level job on the back of a similar voluntary role? We need some positive stories here!
  • VleeVlee Well-Known Registered Posts: 136
    I will also be watching. I've started level 3 without level 2 so no qualification yet. I've started a voluntary role which should include helping the treasurer and I'm going to restart another role and badger the treasurer to let me have a go there too. These roles can fit around full time work or caring commitments. Other things are a bit tricker, if you can afford to take time off or quit you could apply for formal internships with big companies or bug local companies, your friends and contacts or even your own employer's accounting department for work experience. Talking to local practices or employers plus recruitment agencies will also help identify what you need to do and what is realistic.

    Personally my first plan is to start identifying friends and family who might be able to make contacts. So my husband will be my first target and I've warned him that he needs to find out the best contact in his company to set this up. I also have lots of admin experience so even a role with potential to move into accounts would be good for a start.

    I am trying to avoid looking at job ads as I can't afford to work until the kids start school. What is it about the jobs that make you under qualified?
  • caroline23caroline23 Feels At Home Registered Posts: 53
    They all seem to say experience of 2+ years in a finance/accounts role even for admin accounts jobs which i thought would be the "foot in the door" step from admin to accounting, and as i work full time i cannot do voluntary work easily as i have to fit study & full time work in, my employer has an accounts department but as i have only been in my job since feb i wouldnt want to rock the boat by saying i am interested in moving departments!
  • CeeJaySixCeeJaySix Well-Known Registered Posts: 645
    Hi Caroline,

    I had the same problem when I started searching for accountancy roles early this year - every advert wanted experience. I applied for several on Reed with no joy - there were at least 30 applicants for each role. I joined three specialist recruitment firms, one of which got me a job offer with a small local firm, and I just had a phone call today (four months later) from another asking if I was still available as they've got an interested firm - not much joy. By far the most successful approach was sending out speculative CVs - seven firms, three interviews and three job offers. If a firm likes the look of you and has the capacity to take on a trainee, it doesn't cost them much to take a chance on you, and as there's been no job advertised, you have few competitors for the position. I have a military background and AAT Level 2, so spent a lot of time working on a CV that emphasised transferable skills and personal qualities. My advice is to make sure your CV stands out (get input from anyone and everyone, I bounced mine off a family friend who's a partner in a firm in the Midlands), do your homework to find the right contacts at firms to send it to (don't just address it to 'HR' - some firm's websites actually encourage speculative CVs and have a specific address, most have a 'who's who' of the firm, and failing that you can ring and ask who the relevant partner/director/manager is), and get yourself out there. Trainee roles expect you to have minimal accounting knowledge, and I found a reasonable salary can be negotiated if you demonstrate why you will be of value to the firm in the longer term (eg. transferable skills that should make you good at accountancy, drive to self-study, other skills of value to the firm eg. management).

    Good luck, and don't get downhearted with a few rejections, when the first responses you get back are 'Sorry, we're not looking for anyone at present' it's easy to think it'll never happen, but persistence will get you everywhere!
  • VleeVlee Well-Known Registered Posts: 136
    I also work full time, in fact it's at least a 12 hour shift without a lunch hour and sometimes without a dinner break! My work might be at home with the kids but there is no chance I can study or do voluntary work until 7pm at the earliest and most often I start at 8 or 9pm. Luckily we can afford some more childcare in September when I will take on a second voluntary position.

    A lot of people don't want to work for free but you will be up against people who have done voluntary work or internships because they know how tough it is to get work and need to stand out from the crowd. I've had this advice from a tutor and seen it from AAT. Apparently it used to be really easy to find entry level jobs but even with experience I am expecting it to be really tough.

    If you aren't in a rush do another year in your job, get your L3 and see whether you can transfer, most employers expect employees to move around after about 2 years.
  • SuzDunnnSuzDunnn Just Joined Registered Posts: 3
    Thanks Vlee and CeeJaySix, lots of useful advice.

    I was going to wait until I've completed level 3 before job-hunting (speculatively) so that I can show I'm committed to the accountancy path. But I'm wondering if applying earlier than that might be better? I'm also conscious that the longer I'm out of work (since Easter) employers will see that negatively. I want to get the timing right!
  • caroline23caroline23 Feels At Home Registered Posts: 53
    Thanks for advice so far, i have emailed all accounting firms within the area and as they close at 5 and don't open on weekends i was unable to take any voluntary work with them, can anyone recommend where else to try that would be after 5/on weekends? i have emailed a few charities a month or two ago but no-one got back to me?
  • NpsNps Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 782
    Have you tried www.do-it.org ?

    It's a website which lists all the charities who are looking for volunteers, you can filter it down to finance and accountancy. I'll post you a link to a thread where I posted my experiences with it. Some bad, but I did get one of my current volunteer roles through it.
  • NpsNps Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 782

    On the 1st page is a post I wrote about the volunteering website.
  • caroline23caroline23 Feels At Home Registered Posts: 53
    thanks very much for that link! i have applied to assist in keeping the books for a local housing charity...i hope they get back to me! quite weird how you have to "apply" to volunteer, surely they would appriciate any help? lol
  • NpsNps Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 782
    Ooh no, some charities are ridiculous. You wouldn't believe some of the qualifications some of them wanted just to do a bit of book keeping on an excel spreadsheet. Funnily enough, most of those are still advertising 6 months later......
  • MissGeckoMissGecko Just Joined Registered Posts: 4
    Hi Everyone,

    It is very interesting to read about your experiences, as I am on the same boat. Working as admin at the moment and studying Level 2 at the moment. I have passed WEAF, BAI, BAII and doing Basic Costing exam at the end of the month.
    I have made enquiries with a few companies to go and work for free in exchange of some guidance/work experience. Many have welcomed this approach but either they do not work on the weekends or they can't see much use in me until I learn Sage. I have thanked all replies for their honesty, and we need to keep trying!!
  • charlotte224466charlotte224466 Settling In Nicely Registered Posts: 22
    I started my level 2 last October and then in December I got an apprenticeship, however this isn't the right option for some people due to the money being very poor! However I'm only having to suffer for a year as when I turn 21 I legally have to be paid minimum wage.

    A lot of people have said about volunteering for churches etc but to be honest Id find that really hard now even though I have 6 months working experience and passed my level 2. If you are working in administration I think you will have a good chance of getting into accounts just on that basis alone, and with you studying accounts off your own back this really shows your commitment.

    Best suggestion is make sure you get across your strong administration skills and maybe visit some recruitment agencies? They helped me a lot at the beginning of my career.
  • Kelly7Kelly7 Well-Known Registered Posts: 218
    Not sure how much help this will be but I was working doing admin for about 4 years after college then I got a job doing admin in a finance department. After 6 months one of the girls in the office left and I took over what she was doing and had training by my manager, I was doing a lot of posting on Sage, paying suppliers, bank rec and other basic finance work. But anyway, my point is to maybe look for any work in a finance department even if it still admin because if they can see you are willing to work they will probably ask you to do more and show you more.

    I'd also suggest recruitment agencies who will know about jobs going and will put you forward. & there's nothing to stop you applying for other jobs, you can explain in a covering letter that you don't have the required two years experience but you have however many years office experience, have completed your level two and really want to get into a finance role.

    Good luck.

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